PICK ME UP: Berthold man selected as one of two pickup men at Y’s Men’s Rodeo
October 5, 2018
Minot, N.D. (October 1, 2018) – A Berthold native has been selected to work the Minot Y's Men's Rodeo.
Ryan Hanna is one of the two pickup men who will "pick up" – help the cowboys off the bareback and saddle bronc horses after their rides – at the RAM Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo, hosted by the Y's Men's Rodeo.
The pickup men are voted on by the bareback riders and saddle bronc riders in the Badlands Circuit, the rodeos in North Dakota and South Dakota.
Hanna will work alongside Tyler Robertson, Kadoka, S.D., who has also been selected to work the rodeo.
Hanna grew up in a rodeo family, steer wrestling professionally ten years, beginning in 1996. He traveled the nation, competing at some of the biggest rodeos in the country.
When he and his wife Susan had their first child in 2004, and he took on a bigger role with the family ranch, he chose to stay closer to home with his competition.
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Hanna qualified for the Badlands Circuit Finals five times in the steer wrestling, winning the year-end title in 2002 and 2003. As the year-end champion, he went on to the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeos in 2003 and 2004, winning the national title in '04. Before the Minot rodeo began hosting the circuit finals, Hanna won the steer wrestling there, in the early 2000s.
Rib and ankle injuries caused him to quit competition. But he wasn't done with rodeo. In 2011, he was asked to help at a high school rodeo. "It's hard to just quit rodeo when it's been your whole life," he said. "I thought picking up would be my next opportunity to be involved again."
Hanna had watched his dad, Dennis, and his uncle, Lynn Meyer, work as pickup men, and he had helped them, so he had an idea of what he was doing. "There was always a place in my heart for picking up," he said.
The work snowballed. Hanna started with high school rodeos and now, between pro rodeos, Professional Bull Rider (PBR) events, and saddle bronc matches, he works from seventy to eight performances a year. He's picked up at major events in Las Vegas, during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
When Hanna chooses a pickup horse, he looks for "grit. A good pickup horse has to be somewhat like a firefighter, wanting to run into battle. They understand the timing, they know they could get kicked or smashed, but they're going to do it for you anyway."
Hanna keeps six pickup horses at his ranch all the time. Depending on the event, he might use two or three horses, or up to six. As a general rule, he brings four horses to each event. He takes his horses seriously. "I worked hard to get to this point of being considered for a circuit finals nomination, so I take my horses seriously."
He's delighted to have been chosen to work the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo. "It was a nice surprise," he said. "My wife and I try hard to do a good job." He's also complimentary of the other pickup men in the Badlands Circuit. "In our circuit, there are some exceptional pickup men, which makes it tougher (to be selected to work the circuit finals.)"
He and Susan have two kids: a son, Hayes, who is thirteen, and a daughter, Maysa, who is ten.
The Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo, hosted by the Minot Y's Men's Rodeo, is Oct. 5-7. Performances are at 7 pm on October 5, 1 pm and 7 pm on October 6, and 1:30 pm on October 7. Tickets range in price from $13-$33 and are available online at http://www.minotysmensrodeo.com. For more information, visit the website.
–Minot Y's Men's Rodeo