Bulldogging With Cleo Schultz

-by Greg Hoots-

Cleo Schultz was born and raised in the Volland, Kansas community, and he spent his adult life ranching in Wabaunsee County.  But there was a time when this dedicated rancher practiced his skills as a stockman at a very different venue, the rodeo arena.  Cleo was a rodeo man. His career in the rodeo sport began in mid-1950s when Cleo was still in high school.  During the late 1950s and through the 1960s Cleo traveled the rodeo circuit across the country.


Cleo Schultz participates in bull riding at the 4-H rodeo at Lester Marten’s Rodeo Arena at Alma, Kansas held on May 8, 1955. Cleo was a senior in high school when this photo was taken. Photo courtesy Cleo and Julie Schultz.

The rodeo man competes in his sport on the road at rodeo arenas, state fairgrounds, and almost any place that the sporting cowboys gather.  Apart from the grueling life of travel and the hard knocks encountered when riding bulls and wrestling steers, the rodeo man usually made his living raising livestock, which is an every-day job. Behind the scenes, the rodeo man spends his spare time practicing his skills in preparation for events.


Cleo Schultz leaps from his horse while competing in bulldogging competition at the rodeo grounds at Mayetta, Kansas in this 1960s view. Photo courtesy Cleo and Julie Schultz.

One of the more difficult and dangerous events at which Cleo excelled is “bulldogging.”  Bulldogging, also known as steer wrestling, is an event where a cowboy on horseback chases a wild steer into the arena, leaping from his saddle onto the racing steer, grabbing it by the horns and wrestling the animal off its feet to the ground.


Cleo Schultz rides #42, a Beutler Bros. bull at the Tulsa Stampede in this view from 1962. Photo courtesy Cleo and Julie Schultz.

Even more amazing, Cleo Schultz was able to balance all of the obligations of work, family and the rodeo sport for decades, literally. It’s hard to imagine the commitment that a man must have to want to ride wild bulls, regularly.

Today, Cleo and his wife, Julie still live just a few miles east of his hometown of Volland, and while Cleo has given up riding and wrestling bulls, the Schultzs still raise cattle on their Wabaunsee County ranch.


Volland rancher, Cleo Schultz is seen here competing in bulldogging in a 1978 old-timers rodeo event at the Flint Hills Rodeo Arena in Strong City, Kansas. To qualify for the event, all participants had to be at least 40 years old. It looks like pretty tough work for the over-40 crowd. Photo courtesy Cleo and Julie Schultz.

This short video was created by Volland storekeeper, Otto Kratzer with an 8-millimeter movie camera, showing Volland rancher and rodeo cowboy, Cleo Schultz practicing bulldogging at the Schultz’s Volland ranch.

Categories: Biographies, Video

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3 replies »

  1. My Dad was a rodeo man from Oklahoma! We have fond memories of going to many rodeos as kids! It was cool to see Cleo in Action. Thanks for the blog Greg!


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