June 20, 1963 - June 16, 2006
BENKELMAN - Nicholas Byron Hudson, of Laird, Colo., died Friday, June 16, 2006, at the home of his mother, Ruth LaVonne Hudson, in North Platte, at the age of 42.
He was born June 20, 1963 to Donald Byron and Ruth LaVonne (Baker) Hudson and attended primary school in Benkelman and North Platte. After graduation he worked on a ranch in the Sandhills of Nebraska where he thrived on cowboy life. With a rodeo scholarship in hand, he pursued a college education at Casper College in Casper, Wyo. and completed a bachelor's degree in agriculture and business at the University of Wyoming, in Laramie, Wyo. in 1987. Throughout high school and college Nick pursued his passion for rodeo and competed in bare back, saddle bronc, calf roping, and team roping. He won the regional title in bareback riding and competed at the national college rodeo finals rodeo. He joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association where he competed in bareback riding and steer roping. While in the PRCA Nick successfully placed in four rodeo events.
In 1987 Nick relocated to Pratt, Kan., when he accepted a position as Head Rodeo Coach and as an instructor in agriculture and business. The rodeo team learned that Nick's teaching methods included riding the rough stock, roping and handling the livestock himself to show them how to win and have fun.
In 1990 Nick moved to Laramie, to pursue his bareback riding career and work for Hamaker Excavation. On Nov. 12, 1994, Nick married Katie Smith and was married for six years. While living in Laramie, Nick used his expertise in construction and excavation to build a home. After winning the Laramie Rodeo, he fractured his neck and retired from bareback riding. As a cowboy, his rodeo career was far from over. Mounted on a big gray horse named Especiale, he started his career as a steer roper in the PRCA. He developed a talent and passion for rodeo announcing, which included announcing high school, college, and PRCA rodeos, not to mention the Daddy of 'em All at Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyo. To promote high school rodeo around the country, Nick announced high school rodeos, which were telecast across the nation on television.
In 2000 Nick moved to Denver, Colo., to work for his long-time friend Greg Ressler where he managed a telecommunications company. He purchased a small acreage and built a roping arena and home in Strasburg, Colo.. After the death of his father in 2003, Nick sold his home in Strasburg in 2005, and moved to Wray, Colo., to be closer to his mother and her ranches, Clearview in Benkelman and While You're Here in North Platte. In 2004 he started a cattle business with his sister, Marta Hudson, and Roger and Lucille Herman, which gave him joy and strength until the moment of his passing.
On his 42nd birthday, June 20th, 2005 Nick was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. When he was given a prognosis that could potentially limit his life to one year, he pursued radiation and chemotherapy treatment with courage, a positive attitude and hope of recovery. He continued to announce rodeos, sell cattle for Superior Livestock Auction, and work with the cattle on the ranches. Despite his illness, he never ceased to lend a helping hand and care for his family and friends.
Nick was a devoted son, brother, and friend. He was first and foremost a great man, a cowboy who was fortunate enough to live his life with a passion for his work, a multitude of friends and dry sense of humor that made him "one of those guys that you always want to be around".
Preceding him in death are his grandparents, Byron and Lucile Hudson and Edward Russell (Rusty) Baker; father Donald Byron Hudson; an infant brother; uncles, Don Baker and Marvin Hollenbaugh; and aunt, Mae Pelton.
Those who survive him include his loving mother, Ruth LaVonne (Baker) Hudson of North Platte; sister, Marta Lucille Hudson of Shawnee, Kan.; aunts Sally Hollenbaugh of Benkelman, Barbara Baker of Venice, Florida, Bobbie Dawes and husband of Wetmore, Colo., Betty Jo Pennington and husband of Pennington, N.J.; uncles Laverne (Butch) Baker and wife of Spearman, Texas, Phillip Baker and wife of Longmont, Colo., and Dean Pelton of Cheyenne Wells, Colo.; and numerous other cousins and friends.
Funeral services were today, June 20, 2006, at 11. a.m. (MST) at the United Methodist Church in Benkelman, Nebraska, with Rev. Brian Fong Officiating. Interment will follow services at the Benkelman Cemetery.
Memorials may be sent to Great Plains Regional Medical Center Hospice, 601 W. Leota, North Platte, Nebraska 69101.
Marta and LaVonne Hudson would like to express their heartfelt appreciation to the Great Plains Regional Medical Center Hospice staff and volunteers and the Callahan Cancer Center in North Platte. for their support. To the many family and friends who visited Nick, helped maintain the ranches, telephoned, and sent their thoughts and prayers, we thank you.
Arrangements are under the direction of Forch Funeral Chapel of Benkelman.