by ProRodeo.com | Jun 12, 2015
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Bullfighter Dudley (D.J.) Gaudin, known throughout his ProRodeo Hall of Fame career as the Kajun Kidd, died June 11 of congestive heart failure at his home in Spring Branch, Texas. He was 85.
Gaudin left home in Baton Rouge, La., at the age of 15 to ride bareback horses and bulls with the Texas J. Davis Wild West Show, but the pay was so low he soon turned his attention to bull riding and bullfighting, joining the Rodeo Cowboys Association (precursor to the PRCA) as a contract worker in 1952.
At a Dayton, Texas, rodeo the bullfighter didn’t show and Gaudin was asked to fill in. He was so good at the bullfighting and the comedy that Bobby Estes, a well-known rodeo producer of the day, quickly offered him work in all of his rodeos and told him he’d pay him $100 a performance.
For 27 years he was one of the most widely respected bullfighters in the business, three times being selected to work the National Finals Rodeo – the first two in 1959-60 and again in 1970.
Gaudin was a bullfighter at Rodeo Houston for 25 consecutive years and at San Antonio for 24 years. He also worked major events in Madison Square Garden, Boston Garden, Cheyenne (Wyo.), Pendleton (Ore.), Fort Worth, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis and San Francisco.
He entered the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colo., with the inaugural class of 1979. He later was inducted into the National Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City in 1996, and the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1998.
“I’ve had a hundred cowboys thank me for saving their lives,” Gaudin once told a reporter for the Chicago Tribune. “All I ever did was get the bull to come after me. It’s a living. Our business is not funny. We go out to save lives.”
His work was immortalized with a bronze sculpture executed by Edd Hayes.
He is survived by his wife, Ruth, and three sons, Todd, Jack and John. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Joyce.
Graveside services for family only will be held on June 26 and a memorial celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. June 27 at the 8th Avenue Baptist Church in Teague, Texas. Further details will be posted on www.prorodeo.com as they become available.
Courtesy of PRCA