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Neile's Hometown Heroes: Meet Ryan Dirteater

Nicknamed 'The Cherokee Kid', the 28-year-old Hulbert native has been riding bulls since he was four-years-old. (KTUL)

Ryan Dirteater probably has the best name in professional bull riding.

“If I was going to be a bull rider, I was going to have to be a good one with the last name Dirteater,” he said.

Nicknamed 'The Cherokee Kid', the 28-year-old Hulbert native has been riding bulls since he was 4 years old. For the past 12 years, he has ridden professionally with career earnings more than $1.5 million.

“This year being my ninth time qualifying for the PBR world finals, it’s been a great career for me so far," said Dirteater. "I’ve made a good living at it and hopefully I can get two or three more years out of it.”

A few years ago Ryan was approached to help out with a charity. He started “Ryan Dirteater Roping For Wishes” where proceeds go to Make a Wish Foundation. This year he decided to grant some wishes and bring some kids out to his ranch for a day of cooking out, playing with the animals and fishing.

“I get a lot being with these kids. And just seeing them putting a smile on their face. They're stronger than I will ever be and granting wishes and seeing them smile, I think that is a fulfilling feeling that I love, it's the greatest feeling in the world," he said.

Jane Rohweder, director of development for Make A Wish Oklahoma, says you would be surprised how many kids ask to meet a cowboy.

“I’ve been with Make a Wish for almost 13 years and we’ve had several PBR requests," said Rohweder. "There is something about a cowboy that attracts kids and they just love it.”

Chris Lens, his daughter Madilyn, and wife Heather came from Westville. It was the first time Madilyn has been fishing and she loves being around cowboys. The Lenses wish more people in the limelight would get involved with Make A Wish.

Heather said, “Because it is truly impacting families beyond just the wish, but a lifetime of hope. And him doing things like this and other people who are in the spotlight should definitely get involved with Make A Wish."

Ryan does have an impact, raising more than $30,000 for the organization last year at his roping event.

The “Ryan Dirteater Roping For Wishes” is this Friday at the River Bend Arena in Inola.

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