Stone Wickline is only 14-years-old but he has still accomplished more than most teenagers his age.
Stone grew up in Glen Rose and although he was hardly around animals, one day, he developed a desire for riding bulls.
“I have no idea what possessed him to do it,” his father Richard said.
After pestering his father to let him ride a bull for several years, Stone finally got the opportunity to ride a big steer in 2017 when he was 12.
“With his first ride being a success, it simply added fuel to the fire,” Richard said. “He rode the first one and thought he was something else.”
To challenge him, Richard decided to put Stone on a small, junior bull that was pretty tough. He knew it posed a challenge for Stone and wanted to see if he had the courage to stay on.
“To everyone’s surprise, Stone rode for about five seconds until he took a pretty hard fall. After catching his breath his first words were, ‘Can I do it again?’” Richard said.
That experience fueled Stone’s desire to ride anything from steers to junior bulls two to three times a weekend for the next six weeks.
If he wasn’t riding, he was watching Professional Bull Rider events and recordings of his own rides, studying and making notes of his mistakes.
His first rodeo was on July 4, 2017 in Granbury where he successfully finished third.
“He has been blazing a trail ever since, riding in every jackpot and county show we can find,” Richard said.
In January 2018, Stone entered into the 13-year-old bracket with the Texas Youth Bull Riders Association. Unfortunately, he strained a knee running track, which caused him to miss six opportunities to put more points on the board.
But Stone still finished ninth in points and third in the short go at the state finals.
At the end of the 2019 TYBRA season, Stone landed a fourth-place finish in the senior steers, first place in senior mini and ninth place in the pee wee bull category. He was also invited to the Tuff Hedemann challenge where he placed third.
He is currently riding in the Cowboy Youth Bull Riders buckle series that consists of a 13-rodeo series competing against some of the best riders in Texas and surrounding states.
“The senior riding in this association is very tough [and] designed to prepare the riders for [the] big time,” Richard said. “The bulls are bigger and buck like a small version of the ‘real deal’.”
On Dec. 4-8 of this year, Stone will be riding in the International Mini Bull Riders Association world finals in Las Vegas.
“This is the rodeo of rodeos. While the NFR (National Finals Rodeo) is going on, they take the time to recognize the future of the sport. The experience and exposure in this event is huge. They treat the boys like professional athletes and the boys act like professional athletes. This is where every cowboy, young and old, dreams of competing. Each day of this event will be televised on Ride TV,” Richard said.
Richard said that along the way, Stone has had some setbacks that should have convinced most kids to give up riding bulls.
“He has been stomped on, knocked out, stitched and stapled, but still, the drive to make it to the PBR only gets stronger by the day,” he said.
Stone has now started his freshman year at Glen Rose High School and plans to earn college credits while he’s still attending high school. His goal is to earn a college degree and start riding professionally as soon as possible.
“He’s just always been kind of an old soul, redneck, cowboy kid,” Richard added. “We're super proud of him. He seems very focused and dedicated for a kid his age.”