Bronc rider killed in Texas rodeo accident
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD/Gray News) - A Texas bronc rider died in a rodeo accident at the West Texas Fair & Rodeo in Abilene. Now, his family is sharing the story of his life and how they hope to use his name to help others in rodeo, KCBD reports.
Skee Burkes, 26, was bucked off a horse Sept. 9 and died from his injuries. His mother, Dee Ann Littlefield, said he was a man of many talents and worked as an oilfield supervisor, made custom leatherwork, rode horses and even sang on stage at Blue Light.
“He looked forward to every day because of something the day might bring, and he would get more out of every day than any one of us would get out of a single week,” Littlefield said.
Littlefield said his big personality carried into everything he did, and he was a friend to everyone. His sister, Kalico Burkes, said she has heard so many stories of how her brother went above and beyond for others.
“Everyone saying, ‘He’s one of a kind, he was one of a kind.’ Just solidifies everything that we knew about him,” Kalico Burkes said.
Kalico Burkes said bronc riding was always a passion of her brother’s and that as a child, he would pretend to be a bronc rider.
“I think once he got older, he had such long legs. I think that’s when he started thinking, ‘Oh I think I can bronc ride,’” Kalico Burkes said.
Skee Burkes was from Henrietta, Texas, and that is where he got on his first ranch bronc in high school.
“He wrote about coming out of chute number four is his favorite place in Texas,” Littlefield said.
Littlefield said the West Texas Fair & Rodeo night was going to be a normal ride for Skee and that the tragedy of his death does not reflect how he rode or who he was.
“He had been doing this for 10 years,” she said. “He has won a lot of belt buckles bronc riding. He was an incredible horseman ... this was truly a freak accident.”
Littlefield was not there that night and found out from a phone call that he had been kicked in the head.
“As a mom, your children are tethered to your heart and your soul, and I felt him gone,” Littlefield said. “I felt him gone then.”
Later, Littlefield found out he was bucked off and the horse stepped on his head.
Kalico Burkes said she heard the rodeo continued because that is what her brother would have wanted.
“I agree. I think that Skee would have wanted the show to go on and everyone to continue to honor him,” Kalico Burke said.
Littlefield and Kalico Burkes have turned to their faith to help them get through this time.
“Skee’s actually gone from this Earth, but he’s gone on to serve an even bigger purpose and he really is still here with all of us,” Littlefield said.
The West Texas Fair & Rodeo and Taylor County Expo Center Board of Directors has set up a fundraiser for Skee Burkes’ family.
Littlefield said the money will go toward funeral expenses and anything leftover will be put toward a rodeo scholarship in his honor.
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