Saddle bronc rider Bud Munroe, a ProRodeo Hall of Famer, passed away April 9 at Ascension Providence Hospital in Waco, Texas. He was 70.
Munroe was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 2007, and his wife Jimmie, a world champion barrel racer and president of the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 2019.
Munroe and his wife were married for 41 years and have a daughter, Tassie. The couple resides in Valley Mills, Texas.
Bud received coaching from ProRodeo Hall of Fame saddle bronc riders Bill Smith and Mel Hyland.
With that type of guidance Munroe was a quick study and through his talent and hard work qualified for the National Finals Rodeo 12 times – 1977-88.
The highlight of his riding career was winning the 1986 PRCA Saddle Bronc Riding World Championship over fellow ProRodeo Hall of Famer Clint Johnson.
Munroe talked about his rodeo career in an Aug. 12, 2014, article in the Daily Record in Ellensburg, Wash., when he was inducted into the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame.
“Rodeo is just a natural extension of the Western way of life,” Munroe said. “It’s a very pure thing, just you and the animal. I think it’s ingrained in you, if you come up around it so much that it’s a part of who you are, and you never lose the love for it. At least I never have.”
During six of Munroe’s 12 NFR qualifications, he finished in the top 5 in the world standings, including being the 1980 reserve world champion to Johnson by a mere $458.
“Bud was a fierce rodeo competitor and a real good person, a real solid guy,” Johnson said. “He was a good Christian man, a good family man. I snuck under him for a title, and he snuck under me for one (in 1986) and there were no hard feelings from either one of us.
“Bud was a fun guy and a real planner. When I rodeoed with Bud, I didn’t have to worry about anything but showing up and riding because he would decide where we would eat, where we were going and how we would get there. It was all good and he was good at planning. I felt like he was an underrated bronc rider. Nobody looked better on a nice horse, and he could ride a rank horse as well. This a tough day (April 9) for me and not just me. He had a lot of friends.”
Munroe was born Jan. 12, 1952, in Lewiston, Mont. He went on to compete in bareback riding and saddle bronc riding during his four years at Montana State University in Bozeman, while earning a degree in agricultural business. He won the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association saddle bronc riding title in 1975 and was second in the all-around, helping the Bobcats capture the NIRA team championship.
Munroe won the Montana Circuit Finals Rodeo in 1980 and after he moved to Texas, he was the saddle bronc riding champion at the Texas Circuit Finals Rodeo from 1981-83 and 1985. He also was the Texas Circuit year-end champion in 1982-83, 1986-87.
In 1987, representing the Texas Circuit, Munroe split the saddle bronc riding national championship with Clay Jowers at the National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Pocatello, Idaho.
Munroe retired after competing at the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days, July 30, 1989, after winning the short round. That also was the same day fellow ProRodeo Hall of Famer/bull rider Lane Frost passed away.
“He went to Cheyenne right after our daughter was born and when he came home, he thought he was going to retire and he never got on another one,” Jimmie said.
Bud also was inducted into the Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame, Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame, and he was the first cowboy inducted into the Montana State University Athletic Hall of Fame.
Over the years, he has served on different committees and boards within the PRCA. In 1999, he received the PRCA John Justin Committeeman of the Year Award for his long-standing service and dedication to the Heart O’ Texas Rodeo Committee in Waco. He was on the Heart O’ Texas Committee for more than 30 years and served as chairman of the board several different times on its rodeo committee.
Devoted to the development of his sport, Munroe also served as PRCA saddle bronc director and on the PRCA Properties Board for more than 20 years and the PRCA Grievance Committee.
“I would like my husband to be remembered for his devotion and love for the sport of professional rodeo,” Jimmie said. “He displayed that in and out of the arena. After a successful career that included 12 NFRs and a world championship, he spent his remaining years giving back to the sport that had given him so much.”
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund.