Hastings youth help with horses during rodeo

Cutline: Taylor (left) and Faith Wilson help cool down the pickup men’s horses during the Oregon Trail Rodeo in Hastings. The Hastings girls love their job and are a big help to the pickup men. Photo courtesy Marsha Wilson.

Hastings, Neb. (August 6, 2018) – When Taylor and Faith Wilson go to the Hastings (Neb.) rodeo, they don’t get to watch much of the show.

But that’s by their choice.

The girls, daughters of Dr. Troy and Marsha Wilson of Hastings, spend their time cooling down the horses ridden by the pickup men at the rodeo.

It all started when the girls accompanied their dad, a chiropractor, to the rodeo. While they hung out behind the arena, Misty Korkow-Clair, daughter of stock contractor Jim Korkow, offered to let the girls ride horses. So they did.

“They save our bacon. They save our horses, too. It’s hard on horses if they don’t get cooled off.” Tucker Stocklin, pickup man

Then three years ago, the pickup men, the cowboys who ride in to help the bareback and saddle bronc riders off their horses, asked the girls if they would cool down horses after the men were done with them. The girls agreed, leading the horses, then riding them to cool them down.

The pickup men ride four or five horses during each night of the rodeo, trading the tired ones for new ones during the show. The horses have been running hard and are hot when they leave the arena, and the pickup men, Tucker Stocklin and Troy Heinert, don’t have time to cool them themselves, so the girls are a big help.

As the pickup men ride out of the arena, Taylor and Faith “are right there,” Stocklin said. “Somebody helps them loosen the cinches, and the girls ride. They just keep riding and riding. I think they’d ride all night if they could.”

Riding the horses to cool them down is healthy and beneficial for the horses. Without Taylor and Faith, Stocklin and Heinert would be hard pressed to cool down their horses and yet keep up with their job in the arena.

“They save our bacon,” Stocklin said. “They save our horses, too. It’s hard on horses if they don’t get cooled off.”

The girls love it, their dad said. “That’s their treat,” he said. “They truly enjoy it. They’re standing (at the arena), watching” for the pickup men.

Taylor will be a freshman in high school this fall; Faith will be in the sixth grade. The girls are animal lovers, having had pet chickens, ducks and a goose in addition to the more normal pets like dogs, cats and a parakeet. They don’t ride often; they’re working on their dad, trying to get him to buy them a horse, but “I haven’t broken down yet,” he laughed.

And when the Hastings rodeo rolls around again in August, Taylor and Faith will be ready to help out again.

This year’s Oregon Trail Rodeo in Hastings is August 24-25-26 at the Adams County Fairgrounds. Performances begin at 7 pm on August 24-25 and at 5 pm on August 26. Tickets range in price from $10 to $20 for adults and $5 to $20 for children and can be purchased at the Adams Co. Fairgrounds and at the gate. For more information, visit or call 402.462.3247.

–the Oregon Trail Rodeo