Jack Hickey was born June 27, 1929 in Lonetree, Wyoming, the son of Irma and Joe Hickey. He left formal book learning behind at an early age instinctively understanding everything he’d ever need to know could be learned from horses, cattle, country, and cowboys. Jack roped some young wild horses for his own string, honing a natural bronc riding talent that he parlayed into winning rides at arenas across Wyoming.
At times Hickey also competed in bull riding, bull dogging, and roping, but he was best known as a saddle bronc rider. A Cowboy Turtle Association member, Jack was pursued by bronc riding neophytes and willingly taught them all he could. Jack produced rodeos like his father before him. Known for riding the outside circle and doing the hardest groundwork on his YL Ranch, Jack’s opinions on land and water use are highly respected and he’s been honored as “Landowner of the Year” by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission.
Living in wild horse country, Hickey kept the wild stock scattered, but occasionally would gather a few of the wild colts to break and then add to his own string.
Jack’s father would buy a field of hay and send Jack with a herd of cows to feed all winter. When doing this work, Jack lived in a sheep camp. His routine included loading the loose-stacked hay onto a wagon by hand, then driving a team pulling the wagon to the cattle where he fed the stock one pitchfork at a time. He kept water holes open by chopping ice with an axe. He did his own cooking in addition to breaking his own horses and shoeing them.
This longtime bronc rider, still has a small string of bucking horses. He also has a good eye for judging horses. At the Miles City, Montana, Bucking Horse Sale, he could easily pick out the ones that had potential for being a saddle bronc and which ones were bound to be bareback mounts.