“Lynne, where’s your horse?” the bell hop asked.
I slapped my three-year-old leg and galloped across the hotel lobby to the accompaniment of his laughter.
My dad was an architectural engineer for Remington Arms during World War II and was transferred to Hartford, Connecticut, where we stayed in a hotel until he found a home for his family. My mom was a Colorado rancher’s daughter. I didn’t know it at the time, but the Lord would use my dad’s artistic talent and my mother’s ranching background to shape my future in a profound way.
After graduating from Colorado State University with a degree in art education, I married Mark Schricker, a professional rodeo cowboy. Mark was a ProRodeo team roper, calf roper, and steer wrestler, and it was only natural that I started barrel racing.
I told my folks, “I hope you’re not too disappointed that after graduating from college, I became a truck driver.”
We clocked endless miles on the road competing at Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) rodeos all over the United States and Canada. Mark won two PRCA runner-up All-Around World Championships, and one runner-up Steer Wrestling World Championship. He was the first cowboy to win two different National Finals Rodeo events: the calf roping and the steer wrestling. We rodeoed hard for about 10 years, then retired due to “road founder.” You Westerners will know what I mean.
After our rodeo retirement, we moved with our son, Mack, to my Uncle Nate Patton’s ranch outside of Cañon City, Colorado. We worked in all aspects of ranching: feeding cows, fixing fence, moving cattle from pasture to pasture. We brought pairs down off high mountain ranges to winter feed grounds and also branded and weaned calves. We held roping jackpots at the ranch and started training horses for folks. It was perfect because we could work the horses in the arena and then do pasture work on them too.
After a few years and the birth of our daughter, Leah, we bought some ground south of Florence, Colorado, and set up a horse-training facility for rodeo horses. I trained the barrel and pole bending horses and Mark trained the calf and team roping horses along with a few steer wrestling horses. During this time, we partnered with our rodeo clown friend, Wilbur Plaugher, to co-found the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys.
My dad eventually retired from his architectural firm in Denver. They built a home down the road from our horse training facility. He started working as a consultant, and I did a little drafting for him. After my dad passed, I continued drafting homes and my husband and I started building custom southwest homes. Our business was Schrick Custom Homes. I would do the drafting and design work on the homes and Mark would build them.
It was also during this time that I sculpted my first bronze. A neighbor friend of ours, Bill Huber, was a very talented sculptor and offered to teach me. I had a good friend that had a very special barrel-racing horse. She hired me and inspired my first and only bronze for the next 30+ years.
Several years passed and a friend of mine, Pam Eichelberger, had a Western clothing booth at the National High School Rodeo Finals. Knowing my history in art education, she asked me to paint Western designs on her shirts. I loved it! Not long after, Wrangler hired me to design some of their Western women’s shirts. I worked for them for two years and then designed for Rocky Mountain Clothing, a subsidiary of Miller Western Wear. I was living in Brighton, Colorado at the time I worked for Rocky Mountain Clothing. Mark and I decided to start our own western shirt clothing line, Schrick Custom Shirts, on our ranch.
Many years passed. Our children grew up and moved on. We moved a couple times and continued to train our own horses while building custom homes. Due to Mark’s health problems, we sold our home outside of Florence, Colorado, and moved to Rapid City, South Dakota, where our daughter and her family live. After Mark’s passing, my friend Pam and others encouraged me to get back to my art work. Pam sponsored me for a Jeff Wolf sculpture clinic held at Bob Burkhart’s foundry in Bozeman, Montana. Reluctantly, I attended because my professional graphite-artist sister, Cheryl Harley Volz, said she would go too. Remember, I had only sculpted one bronze in my life, and that was 30+ years ago!
At the clinic, Jeff presented the process in such a fundamental way that it totally made sense. When I saw a horse head show up on my table after the third day, I was hooked. I came home to Rapid City and set up an area in the basement to see if it was actually something I could do.
I came home to Rapid City and showed my family pictures of my first piece I sculpted at the clinic, Range Worthy. We set up a sculpting area in the basement and I set out to see if it was actually something I could do. Well, another little horse showed up to my amazement. Then another. Then another. The ideas just keep flooding in. One of my favorite pieces is a combination piece with two independent sculptures that can be placed together on a larger base to reveal a pair of fighting mustangs.
My next piece, which I called “Freedom,” was cast at the Bronze Services Fine Art Foundry in Loveland, Colorado, and good friends, Marilyn and Dave Veatch from Colorado, bought it. I am so proud to have friends involved in my pursuit and encouraging me at this stage of my life.
I guess God’s not done with me yet! I love feeling His creativity at work as I sit at my sculpting table and see what happens. Feeling His inspiration come to me, work through me, and create these pieces is an adventure in the truest sense.