LAST CALL: Hastings rodeo pickup man works Oregon Trail Rodeo for the last time

Hastings, Neb. – August 29, 2022 – After nine years, Tucker Stocklin made his last annual trip to Hastings, Neb.

The Isabel, S.D. man, a pickup man for the Oregon Trail Rodeo, is retiring at the end of the year.

He’s been working the Hastings rodeo since 2014, along with other rodeos across the Great Plains.

Stocklin grew up near Winner, S.D., in a rodeo family, competing in 4-H rodeo as a youth, then riding saddle broncs in the South Dakota Rodeo Association and the Northwest Ranch Cowboys Association.

At the age of thirty, his focus switched from riding broncs to picking up.

He had become friends with rodeo producers Johnny Holloway and his son Chuck Holloway, having ridden young colts at their place. Chuck, a National Finals Rodeo pickup man, and Johnny helped teach Stocklin the art of picking up wild and unruly bucking broncs.

As one of two pickup men at a pro rodeo, Stocklin’s job is to ride his mount as close as possible to the bucking horse, after the cowboy’s ride is over, and help get the bucking horse through the gate and into the back pens.

It’s a job filled with some danger and plenty of excitement.

“There’s a certain amount of adrenaline,” he said. “It’s a different feeling when you ride up to something that’s jumping and kicking four feet over your head.”

At the start of his career, he picked up at regional associations. In 2014, Jim and TJ Korkow, of Korkow Rodeos (and stock contractor for the Hastings rodeo), asked him to buy his PRCA card so he could work their events.

It’s time to quit, he said. “My wife and I have a ranch. We run some cows and I need to be home haying when I’m at a rodeo. There are things that need to get done.”

He and wife Ann have a three-year-old daughter, who he’d like to spend time with, as well as Stocklin’s two older daughters, Jaylynn and Carissa.

He’ll miss the camaraderie of the rodeo trail, especially the Oregon Trail Rodeo.

“I think you could set out in front of your trailer at 9 am with a cup of coffee and visit, and if you weren’t paying attention, you could visit till (the rodeo) was over.”

The Hastings rodeo committee is extra-welcoming, he said.

“The whole committee has been good. They always make you feel welcome and treat you well, and if you need something, you ask and they will do everything they can to get it for you.”

Tucker Stocklin stands with his horse in front of the announcer’s stand at the Hastings rodeo, as Patrick Niles, Jim Korkow and Scott Hinrichs congratulate him on his retirement as a pickup man. Anita Burcham
Courtesy photo

It will be nice to be home, he acknowledged, but he’ll miss the thrill of being in the middle of the action at the rodeo.

“You’re in the eye of it,” he said. “They claim that’s where the calm is, in the eye of the storm. From the outside, (the rides) might look wild. But if things are going well, it’s like slow-motion in the middle of it.

“I’m content with what I’ve done with my career. I’m ready to call it good.”

In addition to the Korkow Rodeo Co., Stocklin has worked for Bailey Pro Rodeo and Fettig Pro Rodeo.

Tucker Stocklin rides up to a saddle bronc rider at the Hastings pro rodeo, to help the cowboy get off after his eight-second ride. Stocklin, who has worked the Hastings rodeo for the past nine years, will retire at the end of this year. Anita Burcham
Courtesy photo

–Oregon Trail Rodeo




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