Loyd Thomas Hankins October 11, 1942 - April 21, 2021
Loyd Thomas Hankins rode over the mountain on April 21, 2021.
Loyd was born Oct. 11, 1942, in Rushville, Indiana, to John Harlan and Anna (Younger) Hankins. At the age of 2, Loyd moved with his parents to Mayer, Arizona, where his father worked as a cabinet maker. John and Anna were instrumental in starting the Mayer Baptist Church. As a youth, Loyd was active in the church and was baptized in a swimming hole in Big Bug Creek.
When Loyd was 12, his father suddenly died. Loyd decided early on that his greatest ambition was to cowboy. His early years were spent working on the Orme Ranch near Mayer.
After graduating from Mayer High School in 1960, he worked road construction as a bridge carpenter on jobs such as the Brenda cutoff from Salome to I-10, I-15 through the Virgin River Canyon in northern Arizona, I-17, and Highway 89 north of Wickenburg. The job he enjoyed most was the reconstruction of the London Bridge at Lake Havasu.
In 1963, through a mutual friend, he met Audrey Krueger, who was working at the Flying E Ranch in Wickenburg. On Oct. 12, 1963, he and Audrey were married. They were married 40 years. They had three children, Zane, Jeanie and Ike. In 1971, Loyd left road construction to manage the JV Bar Ranch outside of Wickenburg. He and Audrey became well acquainted with the ranching community and made many lifelong friends. Loyd was a founding member of the Wickenburg Roping Club, and the family enjoyed many happy times at ropings and dances, along with other families from the area.
In 1978, Loyd and Audrey purchased Ben's Corral from Ben and Claudia Billingslea. After changing the name to The Big Corral, the Hankins family operated the riding/boarding stable in downtown Wickenburg in the winters and the riding stable/pack outfit on the shores of Vallecito Lake, Colorado, in the summers. With 50 head of horses, a bunch of cow dogs, a handful of barn cats and three kids, Loyd and Audrey were in their prime, and they required their kids to work as hard as they did - dawn to dark and sometimes longer. It was hard work and a tough way to make a living, but it was the best of times spent together as a family in some of God's most beautiful country.
During this time, Loyd continued to day-work on ranches and help with various roundups every spring and fall. The Big Corral provided horses each year for the Desert Caballeros Ride, and Loyd served as a wrangler. During his 38 years wrangling for the DC Ride, he was well-known for being friendly to everyone he met, for saving many "dudes" from having a horse wreck and for leading the pack string with the beer. The DC Ride was his favorite week of the year, and by all accounts he was the life of the party every year. He had many lifelong friends who were DC riders.
Loyd was also known for "getherin' wild cattle." Gathering mavericks from area ranches was his specialty. When a ranch owner would call, Loyd, along with his sons and a crew of other cowboys from the area, rode the roughest country, roped and brought in mavericks of legendary proportions. The "wild cow tales" from those adventures made stories to tell for years to come.
Loyd also spent time working for SMC (a subsidiary of APS), and later owned a backhoe service. He finished up his working years on the Town of Wickenburg public works crew, retiring in 2006.
Loyd loved to tell stories, and sing old cowboy songs, and if there was a dance hall within 50 miles, he would find his way there and dance until closing time. He enjoyed hunting deer and elk for many years with his sons and friends. Loyd will be remembered as a man who worked hard every day and who would always help anyone who needed it. He liked a good joke and had a fun sense of humor.
Loyd is survived by his children Zane Hankins (Amy Sloane) of Prescott, Jeanie Hankins (Ed Temerowski) of Wickenburg, and Ike (Tammy) Hankins of Wickenburg; granddaughters Riley (Allen) Rasmussen, Aeriel Bright and Audrey Kay Hankins; great-grandson Jaxton Bright; and his longtime caregiver and trusted friend Cordelia Hall.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and sisters Janet Bell and Barbara Blackburn.
A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 8 at Wickenburg Cemetery followed by a casual get-together with light refreshments at noon on the patio at Rancho Bar 7 at 111 E. Wickenburg Way.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made in Loyd's name to Cops Who Care Christmas Project, P.O. Box 20688, Wickenburg, AZ 85358. Arrangements are being handled by Wickenburg Funeral Home and Crematory.