Coke Hopping: 1958-2013
PRCA pickup man Coke Hopping suffered an apparent heart attack while working in the arena at the Helotes (Texas) Festival Association Rodeo on May 2, and died later that evening at a San Antonio hospital. He was 55 years old.
Hopping was coming to the assistance of the fourth bareback rider of the rodeo’s opening night when he suddenly leaned to one side and fell off his horse.
Paramedics rushed to assist him in the arena, performing CPR, using a heart defibrillator and administering epinephrine to get him breathing again, but the damage was too great and he died after being transported 11 miles to University Hospital in San Antonio.
A graduate of Texas Tech University and the Texas Christian Ranch Management program, Hopping was due to complete his PhD May 6, at Texas A&M.
He had been working with several PRCA staff members on his research on bareback riders for that degree; he had been a bareback rider himself in his days as a rodeo competitor.
Hopping was a ranch manager for the EnCana Oil and Gas Company, in Franklin, Texas.
He is survived by his wife, Edie; daughter, Dancey Creel; and two sons, current PRCA bullfighter Clint and former PRCA member Tate.
A slide show tribute has been posted on YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJ5QiVjgjHo)