Person of the Month: Kenny Wilcox

Kenny Wilcox, Professional Bull Rider, Springhill


My kids and grandkids are my family. My daughter, Sunny May Beene, 32, lives in Greenbrier, and my son, Blue Wilcox, 26, lives in Globe, Ariz. Sunny and her husband, Cody, have my granddaughter, Birdie Beene, age 3. Blue and his wife, Jakayly, have my other granddaughter, Quail Wilcox, who is 9 months old.


I attended school in Greenbrier through eighth grade and graduated from Conway High School. I attended college for four years on rodeo scholarships, first at Arkansas State University at Beebe and then at Oklahoma Panhandle State University at Goodwell, Okla. I needed 12 to 14 hours to graduate but I started rodeoing full time.


I’ve rodeoed most of my life, mainly bull riding. I quit professional bull riding in 1986, when I got married at age 32. I run cattle now, here on the farm in Springhill and on a place in Marshall that joins the Buffalo National River. I’ve always had cattle since I was 6 years old. I still ride horses. And I try to help out the younger guys who are into rodeo. I’ve always done that, even when I was competing.

Most cherished possession:

My family. 

Professional accomplishments you’re proud of:

I’ve been to the National Finals Rodeo five times competing in bull riding. I competed in the event, which was held in Oklahoma City, in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983 and then suffered a groin injury and didn’t make the finals in 1984. They moved the NFR to Las Vegas and I made it back to the finals in 1985, the first year they had it in Las Vegas. 

But probably the thing I’m most proud of is winning ‘the average’ at the 1980 NFR. That means I had the best combined results of anyone in the Top 15 at the championship over the 10 days of events.

On May 20, I was named to the 2023 Bull Riding Hall of Fame at Cowtown Coliseum in the Fort Worth Stockyards in Fort Worth, Texas.

What’s the secret to being a champion bull rider?

There was no secret for me. I didn’t even have a plan when I first started. I was just tickled to death to be among the guys. I was always lucky. I traveled all over the country, put a lot of miles on my truck, worked long hard hours just to get on that bull’s back [and] hang on for eight seconds of terror. But I always had fun.