Walker has dedicated his life to ranching, plying his trade in Dolores for the past 35 years. He is also an avid hunter, and was an outfitter in Arizona and New Mexico.
“They say some people are born to do a certain thing, others shape what they are through sheer will and determination,” said speaker Joe Lanier. “This man is one of the latter.”
Besides running his cattle and helping fellow ranchers, Walker led the way behind the scenes too, serving as president of the livestock association and as a member of the grazing advisory board with the U.S. Forest Service. He also was a member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
Walker’s life story was told to a huge crowd at the Elks Club after the annual steak dinner.
He was born in 1942 in Phoenix and spent time hunting, fishing and working construction with his dad.
He studied construction engineering at Arizona State University, then became distracted by a young, red-headed woman who had her eye on him as he walked each day to a residential construction site in the White Mountains.
“The young lady convinced her little brother to run into him with his bike,” Lanier said. “The two met, hit it off, and an engagement ring soon followed.”
The pull of an agricultural lifestyle lured Bud away from the construction business, and he moved his family to Dusty, New Mexico, to take a ranch manager job in 1981.
“The fact that he had no experience did not deter him,” Lanier said.
A friend recommended a ranch job in Dolores. Walker agreed, and for decades ran cattle and managed ranches for decades in lush mountain meadows and Dolores River valley.
He loves cattle drives, and invited his Phoenix friends and family to participate in the branding. He was remembered Saturday for his patience, generosity and expertise.
“Bud Walker is known as someone that will help anyone, at any time, and without question or condition,” Lanier said. “Just don’t stop to talk to him if you are in a hurry because I’ll guarantee you’re going to be late wherever you were headed!”
Between back slaps and hugs from friends, Walker spoke to The Journal.
“I was surprised,” he said of the award. “Once I heard my life story being told, I knew. It was a rush of emotions.”
His keys to success are simple: “Hard work and family. Working together with my wife, Patsy, and my children made it all possible. I really appreciate everyone who helped me along the way.”