A tragic accident on an icy road on Jan. 10 claimed the life of Tucker Depew, who spent most of his life in Blackduck and was a member of the Blackduck High School’s class of 2019. Tucker was born to be a cowboy and was happiest when he was riding.

He was a student at Missouri Valley College and had earned a spot in his first pro rodeo at the

Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association World’s Toughest Rodeo in Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 11-12. He was on his way to the event when his vehicle plunged into a deep ravine on the Missouri-Iowa border, ending his young life at the age of 18.

Tucker, who lived in Blackduck for 16 years and attended Blackduck Schools from kindergarten, had many friends with great memories of him and his easy-going nature and fun personality. He lived for a short time in Pingree, N.D., and then in Waddell, Ariz., where he graduated from Verrado High School last spring.

He was awarded a full-ride rodeo scholarship to Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Mo., and was studying agri-business. Tucker dreamed of owning his own line of bucking horse stock when he finished his rodeo career — but didn’t plan on that being anytime soon.

An exceptional artist, Tucker worked with leather, pencil and words. After playing trumpet and baritone with the Blackduck High School band, he became a self-taught guitarist and wrote both music and lyrics. Throughout his life he loved hunting, fishing, trapping, riding horses, cattle sorting, woodworking, farming and gardening. But above all, his great passion was rodeo and bronc riding.

He occasionally worked for Little Timber Farms, owned by his cousins and rodeo sponsors, Rachel and Al Gray. He was a member of the PRCA, Minnesota High School Rodeo Association, Arizona High School Rodeo Association and Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association. Tucker was the Ranch Sorting National Championships State Youth Sorting Champion in 2013 at the age of 11 and the MNHSRA Bareback Reserve Champion in 2017 and 2018. He rode to a Top 20 finish in the National High School Rodeo Association Bareback Riding Finals in 2018.

He was taken too young, but Tucker’s dream was to be a cowboy and he was living that dream on a daily basis. Friends and fellow rodeo cowboys he’d met across the country expressed to his family how much he meant to them as an inspiration and someone who encouraged all those around him to work hard and excel. And friends in Blackduck turned out en masse to honor and remember their friend at his visitation and funeral services on Jan. 17 and 18 at the Evangelical Free Church.

A very spiritual young man, Tucker was often seen in prayer. As one college friend said, you don’t see many people in the college dining hall who remove their hat, bow their head, and fold their hands before every meal. It is that faith that gives his family comfort.