Ricko DeWilde is a man of many talents and passions. He is a hunter, a trapper, a craftsman, a father, and a leader. He lives in the remote Alaskan wilderness, where he follows the traditions of his Athabascan ancestors and teaches them to his children. He is also a star of the reality TV show Life Below Zero, where he shares his adventures and challenges with millions of viewers. Ricko DeWilde is a man who lives by his own rules and values, and who strives to preserve his culture and heritage in a changing world.
Ricko DeWilde is the third youngest of fourteen children from Lloyd and Amelia DeWilde. He was born on July 4, 1976, in Huslia, Alaska, United States. His father is a white man of Welsh descent who left San Francisco searching for a different way of life. On the other hand, his mother Amelia was a Koyukon Athabaskan, born and raised in Alaska.
From an early age, Ricko followed the traditional Koyukon Athabaskan lifestyle. He was raised as a Homesteader year-round with no television, electricity, or running water. Like his older siblings, Ricko was homeschooled by his parents.
Learning the tricks of the trade:
Rick grew up by the river 100 miles from Huslia. In the remote wilderness, the family lived in an isolated environment depending on hunting, trapping, farming, and gathering, the very lifestyle is known to many as self-sufficient living.
For supplies, the family waited for the ice to be thawed out and with the help of a self-made boat, they would make a 100 miles journey down the river to Huslia in May. After a month in there, they would return to the wilderness with supplies and mail.
Looking up to Athabaskan culture, Rick learned to make fish nets with twine, nets under the ice in the winter, snare and hunting rabbits, ptarmigan, grouse, sewing canvas bag mattresses filled with moose hair, fur parkas, mittens, hats, e.t.c. The lifestyle also helped Rick learn the time and situation to hunt specific animals.
Spending all his life in Alaska:
Rick has rarely moved out of his hometown state of Alaska. He did so only for a year when he decided to go to college in the 1990s. But Rick later quit his studies and came back to Alaska. When asked about it, Rick said,
“I don’t belong in Alaska. I belong to Alaska. I don’t own land in Alaska. Alaska owns me. I’d be lost if I moved away.”
Growing up Ricko’s life took a dark turn when he became addicted to oxycodone. He also got involved in cocaine trafficking and ended up spending two years in prison. After his release, Ricko decided to turn his life around and reconnect with his roots. He moved back to Huslia and started a clothing company called Hydz, which sells apparel inspired by Native Alaskan designs. He also became a vocal advocate for Native Alaskan rights and issues. Rick has since managed to remain clean and has been so for the last 17 years.
Finding the balance:
For the longest time, Rick has been struggling to find a balance between the world he was born in and the world he lives in now. Ricko who currently lives in Fairbanks often makes the trip back to his hometown Huslia. In his career as an activist, Rick has found it challenging to find a balance between the two different ways of life. But Rick does not condemn either side nor does he hold either blameless. He often scoffs at critics who suggest he hates the European influence in Alaska.
Headstrong in nature and an expert hunter, Rick had been following Athabaskan culture all along. With the modern influence, Rick finds homesteading quite different than what used to be in his childhood. Nonetheless, Rick likes to follow his family roots diving time between his residence in Fairbanks and his remote cabin home in Huslia, a place with merely 306 residents. This lifestyle became a source of opportunity for him. And even though Rick had no prior television experience he was recruited as the cast member of Life Below Zero. He is also credited as a self on the show Life Below Zero: Next Generation.
Life Below Zero:
In 2018, Ricko joined the cast of “Life Below Zero” in its eleventh season. He was approached by the producers of the show because of his impressive hunting skills and his unique lifestyle. Ricko agreed to participate in the show because he wanted to share his culture and his story with the world.
On the show, Ricko is seen hunting near his childhood cabin or traveling across the state with his snowmobile or dog sled. He often faces dangerous situations, such as encounters with predators, extreme weather, or equipment failures. He also showcases his creativity and resourcefulness by making tools and crafts from animal parts.
Ricko is not alone in his adventures. He has a partner named Rona Vent, who is also a Koyukon Athabascan. They have five children together: Simone, Skarlett, Maya, Skyler, and Keenan. Ricko and Rona live in Fairbanks with their kids, but they often visit Huslia or other remote locations to hunt and teach their children about their heritage.
Since the Life Below Zero debut, Rico has been a regular cast member and appeared in 89 episodes until 2023. And while Rico was a later addition the reality television show has also seen the departure of some big names and original cast members. Kate Rorke, Glenn Villeneuve, and Salitan couple: Eric and Martha Mae are the former cast while Sue Aikens, James Franzo, Ricko Dewilde, Chip Hailstone, and Agnes Hailstone continue to be part of the current cast ensemble.
In addition to being a reality television personality, Ricko DeWilde is also an entrepreneur. He is the founder of HYDZ Gear, a clothing line that reflects his Native Alaskan heritage and lifestyle. Taking different sources of income into account, Rico has an estimated net worth of $150,000.
Marriage and Kids:
Rick is not the one to talk much about his personal life. He shares five children with his partner Rona Vent. Among five three are daughters Simone, Skarlett, and Maya, and two sons Skyler and Keenan. The family of five lives in Fairbanks, Alaska however the children are not left out of the family tradition.
Rick values the ways of Koyukon Athabaskan which have been passed down from many generations before. He likes to take his children in different survival activities which involve hunting, fishing, and gathering. He also shows them the family culture of crafting handmade boats, fishing nets, and making fur clothes. All children have experienced homesteading in Huslia, Alaska.
In 2016, he suffered a tragic loss when his sister Riba DeWilde was shot and killed in her home by her own son Eli Simpson. Riba was a well-known artist who made beautiful works out of beads, bone and fur. Eli was 21 years old at the time and had moved to Riba’s home to help her during the fall months. According to the family, Riba had been hospitalized for mental illness before. The family was shocked and devastated by the incident and tried to cope with their grief and support each other.
|Birthdate||July 4, 1976|
|Age||46 years old|
|Birthplace||Huslia, Alaska, United States|
|Ethnicity||Mixed (Koyukon & Athabaskan)|
|Grandparents||Cue Bifelt, Madeline Bifelt|
|Education||Dropped out of college|
|Profession||Hunter, Trapper, Reality Television Actor, Homesteader|
|Net Worth||Over $150 K|
|Marital Status||Likely in a living-together relationship|
|Children||Simone, Skarlett, Maya, Skyler, and Keenan|
|Social Media Handle||Facebook, Instagram, Twitter|
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