Jake Hickox

Jake Hickox was born Jan.13, 1927, in Whon, Texas, to James (Jim) Thomas Hickox and Bessie Jo (Shields) Hickox. His parents divorced before he was born, and he was raised by his mother, Bessie, and a stepfather. He also has a little sister, Mary Lou, whom he adored, who died at the age of 6. He went to school in Big Lake, Texas, and Hobbs, N.M. His mother passed away when he was 13; he then quit school and started working on ranches in Texas, around Rankin, Iraan, Pecos, Marfa, and Alpine. Through working, he was able to start a relationship with his father, Jim Hickox, who also worked as a ranch hand. Not wanting to go to the Army in World War II, he joined the Merchant Marines and sailed around the world, docking in ports of Poland, England, Italy, Amsterdam, Morocco, and Cuba. After leaving the Merchant Marines he came back to Rankin, Texas. At this time he was rodeoing, and bought his RCA (PRCA) card in 1948, where he rode bareback horses and bulldogged. He was then drafted into the Army in 1950.

He was sent to Fort Sill (Lawton)  to start basic training, and that’s where he met his future wife, Evelyn Whitfield. They were married later that year. Three members out of his unit were sent to Fort Ord, Calif., on Monterey Bay Coast of the Pacific. When asked who could cook, he and two others stepped up. While he stayed behind, the rest of his unit was sent to Korea. After being discharged from the Army, he and Evelyn returned to Rankin, Texas. He took a job in and around Prescott, Ariz., but his wife wanted to return to Lawton, as they now had a daughter, Sandy. It wasn’t long before they returned to Lawton, where they lived for the rest of their lives. Their son, Gary, was born in Lawton. Jake worked various jobs: bouncer at the Southern Club, managed a riding stable at the OK Corral, and worked for the Wichita Wildlife Refuge, a job he dearly loved. He always said that one of the biggest thrills was when they did the yearly buffalo roundup and the Elk hunts, until the government did away with the cowboys and started using helicopters. His life revolved around anything to do with horses and cattle. He rodeoed up till the early 70s; he bulldogged and team roped. Later he worked for Dr. Clifton Murphy DVM, where they embryo transfer cattle, and then for Dr. Don Beavers DVM, Beavers Animal Hospital until Dr. Beavers retired and sold the practice to Dr. Holly Wilson DVM. Jake retired a few years later. His biggest thrill was to watch his children ride and rodeo, and later, watching his grandchildren do the same. He never wanted anything in life but to be a cowboy, and he was until the end.