Ryan was diagnosed with idiopathic cardiomyopathy on February 26, 1997 after struggling to keep up while playing basketball. Not long after, he was told he would need a heart transplant in order to survive. He was placed on the national transplant waiting list in September and received a heart transplant on October 5, 1997.
After his heart transplant, Ryan was able to go to college on a rodeo scholarship. He graduated from West Texas A&M with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business and Economics. He has since joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and has had a very successful career. Ryan competes in team roping and steer roping and has won numerous competitions and awards including, 2012 NSRA Year End Steer Roping Champion, 2015 Andy Tillard Memorial Steer Roping Champion, and 2016 Pendleton Round-Up Steer Roping Champion
Ryan says, “Thanks to the choice of my donor’s family, I was given a second chance at life. Please become an organ, eye and tissue donor. Your choice can help save lives just like it helped save mine.”