October 24, 1916 – April 8, 2007
Melvin Aranson Dikeman was born in Lincoln County, Nebraska, on October 24, 1916 to Benjamin P. and Florence (Melvin) Dikeman. He graduated from Hershey High School in 1933. He was united in marriage to Eleanor Linderman on November 3, 1937. Melvin has three sisiters, Maxine (Harold) Armstrong, Florence H. (Garland) Tillman and Rita (Dennis) Shimmin; and two brothers, Merle Dikeman and Lane (Kathleen) Dikeman.
Melvin was a rodeo athlete, participating in saddle bronc riding, bull riding, grave yarding, wild cow milking, wild horse racing, roping and steer wrestling in his early years. During the 1940’s and 1950’s, Melvin and Eleanor hauled their horses, Tom Boy and Dunny, all over the United States, including Madison Square Garden, New York City World Champion Rodeo and Boston Garden World Championship Rodeo, Boston, Massachusetts, where he participated in steer wrestling. Bill Guest or Jake Linderman often traveled with them providing the hazing half of Melvin’s bull dogging team. Melvin won the bulldogging event at Omaha, Kearney, Burwell, St. Paul Minnesota, Garden City Kansas, Wichita, Sterling, Greeley, Cheyenne, Phillipsburg, Denver and many other rodeos.
Melvin was a member of the Cowboy Turtle Association in 1940 and the Rodeo Cowboys Association in 1941-1955. He received the Gold Card in 1955, lifetime member, the first Nebraska Gold Card #556. Melvin was a member of the Lincoln County Roping Club from 1937 to 1950. He served as a Sutherland Rodeo Official from 1951-1958.
At the same time they were traveling to rodeos, they were ranching on rented school sections and land they leased on the Birdwood Creek northwest of Hershey, where they raised cattle and hay. Their rodeo earnings were used to maintain the ranch and to purchase that land on the Birdwood. Throughout the years, they purchased more land in Lincoln, McPherson, Thomas and Hooker counties. They made many 3-day cattle drives, with very little help, between their Lincoln County ranch and their ranch in Hooker and Thomas Counties. Melvin was well known for his expertise in the yearling business. Long hours, hard work, high expectations of themselves—these made Melvin and Eleanor great in both rodeos and ranching.
Melvin died on April 8, 2007 after seventy years of ranching.