Nicholas Scott “Nick” VanDenDriessche was born July 12, 1968, in Charlotte, Mich, to Linda Cochran and James Michael “Big Jim” VanDenDriessche. He passed away unexpectedly Tuesday, June 23, 2020, at Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City at the age of 51.
Nick, his mom and brother Bill moved to Lake Wales, Fla., where he loved fishing, swimming and being out on the ocean, then later he moved back to Michigan to continue learning how to cowboy with his dad.
He always had a good horse, but didn’t usually get to keep him long. Just when he got him where he liked him, his dad would have him sold to someone else, but he loved working with horses.
Nick left home at the early age of 16 to see what was out there in life.
He dropped his roots in Hereford, Texas, cowboying for the local feed yards. When he wasn’t working the feed yards, he was shoeing horses, riding colts or trading horses.
He built saddles with Jimmy Payne.
When he wasn’t living in Hereford, he’d go back to Hastings, Mich., where his dad lived, doing what he loved, cowboying.
He and his father would attend and work the sale barns trading horses in the area. If there was a rodeo going on, you can bet Nick had entered the saddle bronc riding.
He joined in with Matt Whitman, Roy Uselton, Walt Parker and Jake Holiday traveling all across the country hitting the rodeo circuit.
He was No. 15 of IFR for 1999, No. 9 of IFR for 2002 and No. 14 of IFR in 2003 in the saddle bronc event.
After leaving Hereford and Hastings behind Nick moved to El Reno for a ranching job.
Then a few years later he ended up living near Watonga, where he went to work for a company operating heavy equipment.
Nick would soon start his own company, Rafter V Dozers, doing dirt work around the area.
He was finally able to build the Rafter V Ranch, training ranch horses and raising Corriente cattle.
Nick loved to teach others about cowboying and ranching. Nick was always there to help a friend and was naturally good at working with horses and cattle.
Nick was preceded in death by his father, his stepfather Troy Cochran and stepsister Darla Cochran.
He is survived by his mother, brother Bill and wife Melinda, all of Lake Wales, Fla.; brother, DJ Van-DenDriessche of Nashville, Mich.; sister Wendy Van-DenDriessche of Spokane, Wash.; stepsister, Bobby Jo Aiston of Hastings, Mich.; stepsister Shonda Dimitri of Ocoee, Fla.; and stepsister Rhonda Clements of Auburndale, Fla.
He is also survived by his life partner Stacey Knoll of the home in Watonga and his children Catherine VanDenDriessche of Pampa, Texas; Cody Matthews and wife, Britoni of Comanche, Texas; Augusta Marie Owens and husband Tyler of Canyon, Texas; Hattie VanDenDriessche of Bath, Mich.; Samantha Aiston of Cleveland, Texas; Sophie VanDenDriessche and Ruby VanDenDriessche of the home; and Allie VanDen-Driessche of Marlow.
Nick is also survived by his nieces, nephews and several grandchildren who he loved deeply.
The family is grateful for all the heartfelt condolences and the many stories that have been told. Nick’s legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of everyone he interacted with.
A memorial service was 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 1, at Lomega High School gym.
A roping followed beginning at 2 p.m. at Nick’s place for his friends and family to go out in Nick style. Donations can be made directly to the VanDenDriessche girls at BancFirst, 124 S. Main St., Kingfisher, OK 73750.