Abilene, TX - The West Texas Fair & Rodeo in Abilene witnessed a heartbreaking incident that claimed the life of a young and talented bronc rider, Skee Burkes. The 26-year-old rider lost his life in a rodeo accident on September 9th, leaving his family and the rodeo community in deep mourning.
According to KCBD, Skee Burkes was not just an accomplished bronc rider; he was a man of many talents. He worked as an oilfield supervisor, crafted custom leatherwork, rode horses, and even graced the stage at the Blue Light with his singing. Dee Ann Littlefield, his mother, describes him as someone who embraced every day with enthusiasm and lived life to the fullest.
"Every day held a promise for him, and he squeezed more out of each day than most of us would in a week," Littlefield said, reminiscing about her son's vibrant personality.
According to Kalico Burkes, Skee's sister, her brother had always been passionate about bronc riding. Even as a child, he would pretend to be a bronc rider. His long legs eventually convinced him that he could give it a try, and his journey as a bronc rider began in high school when he mounted his first ranch bronc in Henrietta, Texas.
Littlefield shared that Skee had a favorite spot in Texas - chute number four. It was from there that he embarked on countless rides, accumulating numerous belt buckles throughout his ten-year career in bronc riding. He was known as an incredible horseman, and his dedication to the sport had earned him many accolades.
The fateful night at the West Texas Fair & Rodeo started like any other for Skee. However, a tragic turn of events led to his untimely death. According to Littlefield, he had been riding broncos for a decade, and his death was the result of a devastating freak accident.
On that night, Skee was bucked off a horse, and the horse's hoof struck his head. Littlefield wasn't present at the event, but she received a heart-wrenching phone call that informed her of her son's grave condition, KCBD reports.
"As a mother, your children are tethered to your heart and your soul, and I felt him gone," Littlefield said, describing the moment she learned of his accident.
Later, it was revealed that the horse had kicked Skee in the head after he was thrown off. Despite the tragedy, Skee's family believes that he would have wanted the rodeo to continue. In his honor, they have turned to their faith to find solace during this challenging time.
While Skee Burkes has left this earthly realm, his family believes that he continues to serve a greater purpose and lives on in the hearts of those who knew him. The West Texas Fair & Rodeo and Taylor County Expo Center Board of Directors have set up a fundraiser to support Skee Burkes' family. The funds raised will assist with funeral expenses and will also contribute to a rodeo scholarship in his honor, ensuring that his legacy lives on in the rodeo community.