SEQUIM — Nick “Bucky” Dickson’s rodeo career began, suitably enough, with a dare.
He was 5 or 6 years old at the time and at a rodeo event. A guy Dickson knew made him a deal — if Dickson would ride a steer, the friend would ride a bull.
Dickson was already active in youth rodeo events like mutton busting and calf riding. But, he said, “I wasn’t sure about the steers — because they had horns.”
He took the dare, though.
“I wanted to see him ride a bull, so I did it,” he said.
“Later I found out he was a bull rider and he was already entered.”
Dickson’s steer bucked him off that day. But he got better, and in July he will go to Gillette, Wyo., to compete in the saddle bronc and bareback events at the National High School Finals Rodeo.
He will also go to Fallon, Nev., for the bull riding competition at the Silver State Invitational Rodeo.
He reached the national competitions by finishing second in the state for saddle bronc riding, third in bareback and ninth in bull riding.
The national finals rodeo takes the top four finishers from each participating state, and the Silver State Invitational accepts places five through 10 in each event.
Dickson, 16, qualified for the Silver State rodeo last year but couldn’t compete because of an injury.
He said he’s hasn’t competed at this level before — the stock used is professional level — but he has a foolproof way to stay focused for the event.
“I try not to think about it,” he said.
That’s actually worked for him before. Earlier this year, he injured his hand during competition and became nervous before each ride, and had a bad streak.
“Then I started goofing off right before I got on the horse,” Dickson said. “I started riding (well) again.”He lives in Port Townsend but attends Sequim High School because his mother works in the area.