From rodeos to rotary tools, FFA adviser shares experiences

Wyatt Rickly shares lifelong passion for agriculture


Wyatt Rickly

Participating in the calf roping event at the 2020 Three Rivers College rodeo in Sikeston, Missouri, agriculture teacher Wyatt Rickly throws a lasso around the head of a calf. “My family rodeoed, so I grew up around them my whole life. My parents rodeoed, aunts, uncles, everything,” Rickly said. “So I’ve always been around it and I’ve always loved it and grew up with it. It just was kind of a way of life for me.”

Rusty Joe Gonzales, Entertainment Editor

With dust flying, Wyatt Rickly raced around the rodeo barrel on foot and leaped to get onto his horse before his opponents could do the same. His competitors fell off the back of theirs, but he made it into the saddle – and continued racing onward.

Originally from Kentucky, Rickly joined the school’s Agriculture team for the 2022-2023 school year as the new FFA adviser. This isn’t the first time he’s worked with animals, as he grew up rodeoing with his own personal horse in various events, which tested both his horse-riding abilities as well as his skills with a lasso.

“When I was a kid I did a little bit of everything,” Rickly said. “I team roped, calf roped, flag race – stuff like that. Then, when I went to college and I was on the rodeo team, I just focused on team roping.”

Even though he did it on a bigger scale at the collegiate level, rodeoing has been something that Rickly said he enjoyed and grew up around, finding his passion for it at a young age.

“My family rodeoed, so I grew up around them my whole life,” Rickly said. “My parents rodeoed, aunts, uncles, everything. So I’ve always been around it, and I’ve always loved it and grew up with it. It just was kind of a way of life for me.”

Even during the most serious moments of rodeoing, there were times when funny memories were made.

“One of my favorite rodeo stories is during my very first year of college rodeo,” Rickly said. “They did a fun event at one of the college rodeos, which was a pick-up race. It was at the Southern Arkansas University college rodeo. The other two teams competing didn’t make it on the horse – they fell off the back. So we were the only team to make it in the pick-up race. That’s where they run down, go around the barrel and someone jumps on the horse.”

Becoming an agriculture teacher sometimes includes becoming an adviser in a national organization called FFA. Rickly first found his start in the organization when he was in high school.

“When I was in FFA I was an officer,” Rickly said. “I was secretary my sophomore year, and I was president my junior year. I did LDEs (Leadership Development Events) and CDEs (Career Development Events). I went to state with the horse judging team, and I was just trying to be involved in as much as I could when I was in FFA.”

As for making his way to Texas, for Rickly, this move came because of his love for both the state – and his girlfriend.

“I’ve always liked Texas growing up because there’s so much rodeo in Texas, and it’s cowboy country so I always wanted to move to Texas when I was a kid,” Rickly said. “After I graduated college, my girlfriend got accepted to Parker University for chiropractic studies, which is in Dallas, so it just felt right to come with her and come to Texas. It’s kind of where I always wanted to end up anyway.”

When moving states, Rickly had to start looking for teaching jobs in the area, which is when he chose to come here.

At the the East Mississippi Community College rodeo in Scooba, Mississippi, agriculture teacher Wyatt Rickly and his team roping partner prepare to throw their lassos. “When I was a kid I did a little bit of everything. I team roped, calf roped, flag race, stuff like that,” Rickly said. “Then when I went to college and I was on the rodeo team, I just focused on team roping.”(Photo courtesy of Wyatt Rickly)

“I found Prosper because it was in a good location for where I was going to be living,” Rickly said. “Then I started looking into the school, and I heard so many good things about it and how great of a school district it was. When I saw the job opening, I knew I had to apply here. It was just in the perfect location, and I heard so many good things about how great of a school district it was.”

Fellow agriculture teacher and FFA adviser Jordan Loving has been at the school the longest out of all of the agriculture teachers, with agriculture teacher and FFA adviser Madison Owens also joining the team this year. Both Rickly and Owens have brought new things to the school’s agriculture department.

“He’s got a new perspective,” Loving said. “He and Ms. Owens both have perspectives from out of state. So, just bringing in new ideas and different ways to approach things is very helpful.”

Not only do these teachers impact their fellow team members, but they also influence their students like junior Laird Hanson-Felter, who is in one of Rickly’s agricultural mechanics classes.

“I think that Mr. Rickly has been a great teacher so far,” Hanson-Felter said. “It’s been an enjoyable class and his teaching style is different than most other teachers that I have. I would say (the fact that he’s younger than others) made the experience better, and it allows him to adapt to the more modern classroom setting. Since this is a shop class, especially, I think it’s really beneficial for all the students in the class.”

Being surrounded by agriculture his entire life, Rickly said he has grown a deep appreciation for the culture and lifestyle – an appreciation he wants to share with his students.

“I would just like to share how important it is and how important it is for people to know what agriculture is and where their food comes from,” Rickly said. “So, if you ever have the opportunity to take an agriculture class in high school – make sure to do that because it’s one of the leading industries in the country. Also, it’s just important to know where your food comes from and how to make it.”