Doc Hinck is a cowboy in every sense of the definition and imagination.
He’s a champion rodeo rider, cowboy singer, cowboy movie star, fast-draw winner, top marksman, and he certainly has had his hand in Flint Hills cattle work.
“All I’ve ever wanted to be was a cowboy,” said Hinck. “Ty Murray, Lane Frost, Chris LeDoux and even John Wayne were my heroes. I wanted to be like them.”
It’s difficult to know which is closest to his heart: riding bucking bulls or singing cowboy songs.
“My dream and goal is to be a world champion all-around cowboy,” said Hinck, who lives in Burlingame.
Yet, hearing him belt out a cowboy song with enthusiasm before and after the rodeo make both seem equally important to his cowboy-lifestyle.
“I started out in mutton busting when I was real young, and I was addicted to rodeo,” Hinck recalled.
Always having enjoyed riding horses, Hinck graduated to steer riding, then climbed on his first bull. He competed in high school, amateur and circuit rodeos, and now the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
Singing has almost mimicked his rodeo career.
“My grandma inspired me with her musical interests and abilities,” Hinck said. “She listened to the old-time singers, Gene Autry, Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash, and they’re the ones I soon liked the most, too.
“Of course, Chris LeDoux really rang my bell because he was a champion rodeo rider and a top country singer at the same time. He’s my biggest inspiration.”
Although he has come out of the chute on a few bareback broncs, Hinck prefers bull riding at the present time with his first major championship coming at the George Paul Memorial Rodeo in Del Rio, Texas.
“That was a great day and a bad day all at the same time. When I got off, that bull took me down and his head collided with mine,” Hinck said.
Competing in at an average of one rodeo a week, Hinck has traveled throughout the country as far as Pendleton, Oregon, and across the Canadian border to the Calgary Stampede.
“I haven’t ridden at Cheyenne, but I will someday,” promised Hinck, who practices on bulls owned by J.D. Hill at Eskridge.
One of Hinck’s goals is “to lose some weight and start riding broncs again.
Winning an all-around championship with money in all three rough stock events would be nice.”
A veteran of singing in the shower — and singing as he rides his horse Bandit across the Flint Hills — Hinck graduated from Lebo High School in 2005, just about the same time he started singing and playing guitar professionally.
“I don’t know notes. I just play by ear like many of the major entertainers,” said Hinck, who also plays the harmonica.
Soon, musically inclined acquaintances joined, and Doc Hinck and The Rodeo Drifters band was formed.
“We did a Johnny Cash ‘Ring Of Fire’ tribute over a wide part of the state and even on a cruise trip to the Bahamas,” Hinck said.
Doc Hinck and The New Rodeo Drifters is in high demand today for concerts, dances and celebrations.
J.D. Stewart, a champion bareback rider, plays the acoustics guitar and is the band manager. Amanda Cordell is a backup singer.
At his hometown Santa Fe Trail Rodeo over the weekend, Hinck drew the black-and-white-spotted bull called Pitchfork from the McKellips Rodeo Company.
“The bull has been to the United Rodeo Association Finals twice, and I drew him twice last year,” Hinck said. “But all of the bulls were quite fresh, as this was the first rodeo of the season.
“Pitchfork really blew out of the chute, belly-rolled, fishtailed and switched back left so hard that I went flying through the air. I felt bad, but there were no qualified bull rides out of 22 outs, so that was a bit of a consolation,” Hinck admitted.
With his band, Hinck entertained before both rodeo performances and at dances later each evening.
While still in school, Hinck was contacted by Bill Kurtis to act in films produced for the History Channel. “I’ve usually portrayed a gunfighter or bank robber, and I get shot a lot, but it’s been a great experience,” he said.
His abilities with a revolver spurred his acting career. “I was second in the nation in the two-gun quick-draw contest,” Hinck said. “I’ve done some mounted shooting and would like to again compete in those events.”
Not that there’s much spare time.
Hinck also operates the Kansas Turkey Creek Outfitters with his father, Jimmy Hinck. They hunt for deer, turkey, waterfowl, even antelope.