Story by Ruth Nicolaus The Mid States East Rodeo Association member lived in Texas for five years before moving back to her parents’ farm in […]
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Meet the Member Wade Pickerill
story by Michele Toberer
Wade Pickerill graduated from Missouri Valley College in 2008, with a bachelor’s degree in history. He spent 5 years competing on the Missouri Valley College rodeo team while getting his education. Wade competed as an all-around cowboy for the college, entering saddlebronc riding, team roping, calf roping, and steer wrestling. He qualified for the national college rodeo finals in team roping twice. Although his degree was intended to put him on track as a history teacher, he chose to follow his father’s path as a farrier, and he is grateful he made the choice. “My dad worked as a farrier for a living, and so I was an automatic apprentice, and that career was just a natural fit for me.” Wade stays very busy as a farrier, generally shoeing between 6 to 8 horses per day, unless the weather or rodeos don’t permit it. He also owns herds of roping steers that he leases out to ropers, and spends time managing that endeavor.
Wade was born and raised in Raymond, Illinois, where horses and rodeo were always a part of his life. Ben Pickerill, Wade’s dad, is a long-time team roper, and Wade’s mom, Paula Schwartzkopf, an Illinois High School Rodeo Association alumni, competed in barrel racing, goat tying, breakaway and team roping. Wade’s brother Waylon is 8-years younger than Wade; he lives in Iowa and competes as a team roper and steer wrestler. Wade attended Lincolnwood High School, graduating in 2003. During his four years of high school, he competed in the Illinois High School Rodeo Association in team roping, calf roping, and steer wrestling. Wade was a national qualifier all four years, in all the events he competed in. Wade is so appreciative of all the support and encouragement his family, including his stepdad, Dave Schwartzkopf, has given him over the years.
Once Wade graduated from Missouri Valley College, he lived in South Carolina, where he spent a couple years competing in amateur and circuit rodeos, before moving back to Illinois. Wade mainly enters in heeling and calf roping nowadays, and is glad to have his college buddy, Chris Coulter heading for him at rodeos. Chris is from Minnesota, and attended Missouri Valley College while Wade did, and life has since ended up bringing the two living just 30-minutes from each other in Illinois. They have been roping together for close to 5 years now and they practice either at Wade’s arena, or Wade will haul over to rope with Chris. Last year was Wade’s rookie year with the Mid States Rodeo Association-East, and he started off with a bang. At the 2017 season finals, he won the average in both team roping and calf roping, and ended up as the reserve champion heeler for the MSRAE season. Wade currently holds both his Mid States Rodeo Association-East and IPRA cards and competes in approximately 40 to 50 rodeos a year. “A lot of the rodeos I go to are co-sanctioned, so it really made sense to buy both cards.”
Wade met his wife, Andrea Pickerill, while they competed at many of the same rodeos, and they have been married for one year. Andrea is a barrel racer, and besides the MSRAE rodeos, she also competes in SEBRA and IPRA rodeos, when she is not working as a 6th grade teacher at Bismarck Junior High School.
Wade’s main rodeo horse is a 13-year-old, grey Quarter Horse gelding named Greyboy, and he uses him to heel and tie calves. “He’s probably a better tie-down horse than heel horse. I just enter the tie-down roping because I have the horse to, I’m a better heeler than calf roper.” He also has a four-year-old sorrel filly named Mary that he plans to haul this next year to season her for rodeo competition.