Vick and Faye Blackstone came to Florida as traveling rodeo performers and made the state their home, dedicating themselves to agricultural pursuits and to passing on their knowledge of horses and cattle to future generations.
Among Vick’s many remarkable achievements was being named several times Florida Rodeo Cowboy of the Year by virtue of earning the most points in five different rodeo events. Faye was a nationally famous barrel racer and trick rider, known for inventing feats such as the daring “back fender drag,” which she performed on horseback in numerous wild west shows. In 1982, after 30 years of championship rodeo competition, the couple was honored with their industry’s highest award: Vick was inducted into the National Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame, and Fay into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame. They are still the only couple to have shared this honor.
Although Vick and Faye had no children of their own, both loved kids and helped hundreds of them improve their lives, often by teaching them agricultural skills at riding clubs or through other activities, and sometimes by means of anonymous donations such as a gift certificate for a holiday meal, a calf to be raised as a 4-H project, or just a few dollars to see them through hard times.
Vick and Faye often worked in parallel, as when he was the director of the Cattlemen’s Association and she the director of the Cattlewomen’s Association. Other times they both worked for the Parrish United Methodist Church. Overall, their contributions to their community and to Florida agriculture were significant, and they received many honors for their work.
In 1988, the Manatee Board of County Commissioners named a recreational park “Vick and Faye Blackstone Park.” In 1993, Faye was presented with the Tad Lucas Award for Outstanding Achievement by the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. Vick was named Man of the Year in 1970 by the Rodeo Hall of Fame. And in 1985, the Florida Senate and House passed joint resolutions citing Vick Blackstone for Outstanding Service to Florida Agriculture.
Faye was born June 3, 1915. The daughter of farmers and ranchers, she started riding horses at age 3. By the time she was done with high school, Faye was an accomplished trick rider and beginning a career that would see her touring the country as a feature act of the Gene Autry Wild West Show.
Vick was born December 12, 1913, one of 13 children in a farming and ranching family in Medina, Texas. Leaving home at age 13, he became a ranch hand at a large cattle operation, and by age 17 became so good at breaking horses that he joined the professional rodeo circuit. He met Faye while competing at a rodeo in 1937, and they were married on horseback. Having moved to Florida, Vick and Faye managed an 11,000-acre cattle ranch until retiring from the business in 1974, after which they managed their own citrus grove and small ranch until Vick’s death in 1987. Since then, she has carried on their work by continuing to help others in need and giving special support to children and children’s organizations.
Vick left behind a reputation as a celebrated rodeo performer, rancher, and friend of Florida youth. Faye at 88 years old still lives in Parrish, where she continues to mow her pasture from atop her diesel tractor and ride horseback nearly every day.