Meet the Member: John Dickson

by Rodeo News

story by Kyle Eustice

ACRA Steer Roping Director John Dickson was born in 1954, the same year two PRCA champion cowboys happened to live in his hometown of Lenapah, Okla., a sleepy town of 300 people. By the time he was 10-years-old, those champions—Buck Rutherford and Howard “Shoat” Webster—were John’s biggest idols. “They were the king pins.”
It also didn’t hurt his father was a rodeo clown and would often haul his young son to various events around the Midwest. “It was pretty exciting. I got to be in some of the acts with him. It was really fun.”
At this point, John had been riding horses for many years, but he eventually started riding calves and steers, then bulls. He went into roping soon after and even clowned a few rodeos on his own. Luckily, he had no shortage of role models and they continually pushed him to strive for more. “I had one brother, Butch Dickson, who was two and a half years older, and he rodeoed, too. I really looked up to him.”
John competed through high school at Lenapah High, college at Miami Oklahoma and quickly made it to amateur status then all the way to the PRCA ranks. His favorite events were bull riding, team roping and steer roping. In 1986, he won the PRCA Circuit Finals in the steer roping category at 31-years-old, but once he had a family, he started to slow down. John judged his first ACRA event in 1984, which complemented his change in lifestyle. In 1998, the ACRA added the steer roping category and he was a natural fit.
“Back in the ‘90s, the ACRA needed somebody to be the director and help get them going,” explains John. “I did that for three or four years. Then my kids got big enough to do junior rodeo and high school rodeo so I took a break for awhile.”
For 10 years, fellow ACRA member Ralph Williams filled in, but John is once again on the ACRA Board of Directors.
“Now that the PRCA and ERA have got into a legal battle, if you’re on the board of directors or part owner of a rodeo association, they won’t sell you a card to the PRCA,” says John. “Since I had semi-retired, I was asked to take over leadership. That’s how I got back in it after 10 years.”
John has been judging rodeo events all along. In fact, he started judging PRCA events in the early ‘90s. The ACRA hosts 45 to 50 rodeos a year and John oversees the 10 to 15 that have a steer roping event. “I don’t compete anymore,” says John. “I just help them keep the rodeos going. A lot of our contestants are guys that are in their mid-30s to 50s. These are a lot closer travel for them. Some of these guys aren’t retired, but they’re staying closer to home because of their families.”
Despite breaking his leg bull riding and tearing his knee steer roping, his love for rodeo remains unwavering. He might not compete anymore, but he always has a hand in the industry in some capacity.
John lives in Dewey, Okla., and has worked as a feed salesman for Western Feed Mills in Cedar Vale, Kan. for the past 12 years. He was married to his wife Terry for 18 years and although they are no longer together, they have an amicable relationship, and are parents to children Travis, 41, Marshall, 29, and Cody, 27. He’s also a grandfather to two boys and one girl. When he isn’t judging events or attending ACRA meetings, he can be found hunting or fishing. “I love to deer hunt, quail hunt and fish. It’s a good life.”

© Rodeo Life Media Corporation | All Rights Reserved • Laramie, Wyoming • 307.761.9053

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