Story by Ruth Nicolaus The Mid States East Rodeo Association member lived in Texas for five years before moving back to her parents’ farm in […]
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Meet the Member Kevin Wickey
story by Michele Toberer
Sometimes, it can’t be explained why the heart yearns for the things that it does, but Kevin Wickey of Mendon, Michigan, has a heart that was drawn to bull riding in a way that he knew he couldn’t ignore. At just 16, against the wishes of his parents, Kevin stepped on to his first bull, at a rodeo in Ohio, and his passion for bull riding has only grown, since. Kevin has been riding bulls for four years now, and although initially against the idea, even his parents have joined in on his cheering section.
Kevin was born and raised in Michigan with his parents, Amos and Clara Wickey, as the second-oldest of four Wickey brothers. They are each about 1½ years apart in age, and include, Steven, the oldest, followed by Kevin, LaVon, and LaWayne. The boys didn’t grow up in a rodeo or bull riding atmosphere, as they were raised in the Amish community, until the family left the Amish when Kevin was around 14 years old, but now in addition to Kevin, his brother Steven rides bulls and his younger brother LaVon started riding in Michigan High School Rodeos last spring.
After the family left the Amish, Kevin worked construction for a few years, and then worked at Lakota Horse Trailers, where his dad is a manager, his mom works making cabinets for the trailers, and his brother Steven works as a welder. Kevin now works building campers for Dutchmen RV.
Kevin won his first buckle at a local bull riding series put on at the Triple D Rodeo Arena, winning the Open bull riding division, when he was 17 years old. He also bought his first SEBRA card that year and went to many rodeos all over the eastern border. He lost a little of his confidence during that year, and started to slow down a bit, hitting some of the smaller rodeos until he was able to boost his riding confidence again.
Kevin decided to join the Mid States Rodeo Association, with the goal of winning the 2017 Rookie of the Year. Although he was not able to go to many of the early season rodeos, he did quite well at many of the summer rodeos he went to between July and October and came in to the 2017 season finals in good position for it. He traveled to many of the rodeos with his bull riding coach, Marcus Mast, and although Kevin looked up to Marcus for guidance, they also enjoyed the rivalry of competing against one another. At the 2017 MSRA season finals, Kevin’s favorite ride was on a black-and-white, beast of a bull that hadn’t been ridden by any others to attempt it all year. That ride helped him finish the finals, riding two of his three bulls, winning second in the average, and accomplishing his goal of winning rookie of the year. After a tight race, he and Marcus ended up just about $100 apart at the season’s end, with Marcus winning the championship at the finals.
One of Kevin’s other rides he likes to remember was at an IPRA rodeo in Charlotte, Michigan, when the chute boss dared him to ride his bull wearing a blinged out barrel racing helmet. He not only rode the bull in stylish attire but won second place on his bull while he did it.
Kevin loves to watch professionals like J.B. Mauney, admiring his moves, “I really like his style, but it’s hard to do it his way, I watch him and some other pros and use a combination of what they do to make my own way of riding.” When Kevin isn’t riding bulls, his favorite hobby is to spend time with his girlfriend Colby Robertson at her parent’s ranch. He’s grateful to Travis and Terry Robertson for all the time he gets to spend there at the ranch riding horses. “My best bull riding practice isn’t actually getting on a bunch of bulls. I think riding horses helps me a lot.”