From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Stokes, Thomas "Ty"

(born: April 3, 1888  -  died: April 21, 1929) Thomas "Ty" Stokes was a cowboy who was born in Casey County, KY. Ty Stokes and Jesse Stahl, "The Bukaroo Twins," are recognized as two African American men who helped break the color barrier in rodeos. This recognition comes from California where Stokes had moved by 1912. Stokes performed in shows and was a trick rider and roper, and bull rider. A full account of Ty Stokes lifetime accomplishments are published in the article "Champions of the rodeo: while segregation was still the law of the land, two black men helped break rodeo's color barrier in Fortuna" by S. J. P. O'Hara and A. Service in the North Coast Journal of Politics, People and Art, 07/19/2018, pp.12-13 (online at

Thomas Stokes was born April 3, 1888, though his birth year is given as 1889 on his WWI Draft Registration Card (Ancestry). His name on the form is "Tom Stokes." He was employed with the Black Beauty Horse Show that was owned by Frederick T. Cummins. Thomas Stokes was asking to be exempt from military service because he had lost an eye and he was having problems with his other eye. He was living in Venice, CA when his registration card was completed. Thomas "Ty" Stokes died April 21, 1929 and is buried in Hayward, California.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Casey County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: North Coast journal of politics, people & art
NKAA Source: Ancestry (online)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Stokes, Thomas "Ty",” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 19, 2021,

Last modified: 2021-02-10 16:31:22