Blake Williams

Blake Matthew Williams (Wanbli Okiyan Wicasa “Flying Eagle Man”) was born on January 26, 1994, to JD and Deb Williams and he immediately hit the ground running. His life although normal, was jam packed with full pace excitement, up until the very end, when the Creator called him home.
He attended Piedmont Elementary School, Sturgis Williams Middle School, and Sturgis Brown High School. After graduating from high school, Blake went to Gillette Community College where he received an Associate’s Degree in Welding. Afterwards, he went to California where he obtained his horseshoeing certification from Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School. The class was full of people from all over the world and he loved the experience. He then came back home to further his education and obtained his firefighter certification. That summer, he fought fires in California, Colorado, New Mexico and was able to ride in the helicopters during that time and watched them drop water next to him, as they constructed fire lines. It was an experience that he desired, he met so many people. He also joined the firefighting brotherhood for life, he did not understand this when he began this experience, but at the funeral you will see how his fellow firefighters treat the loss of one of their own. In the summer of 2019, he worked in Wyoming welding on pipelines, he got a chance to put his college learning to work and again he met many people and friends. Most recently, he was employed at the Sanford Research Laboratory as an Infrastructure Technician. He was excited about going down into the lab and traveling the big tunnel system deep underground. He would send videos that made you wonder what he was doing. It was his first career path job that had all the benefits, great pay, was exciting and fun to Blake, but for him and his family he found a great job close to home. The last few months of his life you could tell that he was moving in a positive way and we knew he had plans to start his rodeo life up again, planning on getting more cows, just a great point in life to get to.
Blake was always competing in some event, he was a busy soul, in reflection he had led an adventurous life that most of us would envy. He jam-packed it all into a short 26 years of life. He was always in competitive sports so it seems. He began organized flag football at age 5, and was involved in T-ball with the Rapid City youth programs. He also started wrestling where it became apparent, he was a natural and he continued his wrestling career throughout high school. He was a member of the toughest wrestling team in the state and assisted the Scoopers with shattering the state record in 2010. In 2012, he finished 6th in his weight class at the state wrestling tournament. He also had a love for rodeo. Blake and his brother began participating in rodeo playdays and dummy ropings at a very young age. This progressed into 4-H, Little Britches, and then the high school rodeo and college rodeo programs. In 2012, he placed 2nd in Steer Wrestling and 4th in the Team Roping at the State High School Rodeo and then competed in the National High School Rodeo. While there, Team South Dakota won the National High School Volleyball Championship. He then started participating in the SDRA rodeos, the GPRA rodeos, and also with the PRCA. He won his share of buckles and saddles through this entire time. He participated in the Denver Stock Show PRCA rodeo and the Cheyenne Frontier Days PRCA rodeo. He was the All-Around Cowboy at the PRCA Valley City Winter rodeo and won 2015 Year- End Top Ten and qualified for the Indian National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. His biggest win was making lifelong friends from Montana to Texas in the rodeo world.
The biggest part of his story is that he met many people. All the people that were part of his life, teachers, coaches, teammates, and parents all lent a helping hand to make Blake so special. Blake was never a stranger and made friends wherever he went. He was known for his strong handshake, a big smile, and a charisma about him that radiated such a positive aspect on life. He always had time to visit those folks that he came in contact with. People will tell you that Blake was a rare person who did not have to say much, but they knew he would give the shirt off his back to anyone. He was loyal to his friendships and had their back. He was full of fun and wanted to involve everyone in the celebrations.
One of Blake’s greatest joys was playing with his nieces and nephew and teasing them to get a rise out of them. He received one of the greatest honors this year when he was asked to be Kamryn’s God Parent. Family meant everything to Blake and he was the best “Stinky Uncle Blake.”
Our memories of him will be of his firm handshake, his big “Blake” grin, his word that was gold, his quiet humble ways, and a very special person to all. As we mourn his passing and also celebrate his life, we will see how he was connected to the brotherhood of the Sturgis Scooper world, we will see that his brotherhood of his cowboys/ranching world will be present, and we will see the brotherhood of the firefighting world honoring him in his passing. There is no doubt that Blakey grew up to a one-in-a-million Blake. We love you and will miss you so much.
Grateful for having shared in his life are parents, JD (Patti) Williams and Deb (Don Pourier) Wilburn; brother, Brock (Danielle) Williams; sisters, Brittany (Jeff) Kreul, and Kaylee Williams; paternal grandmother, Mona Williams; nieces, Kaydence, Kingsley, Kylie, Kamryn; and nephew, Carter. His extended family was his step-father, Jack Kerstiens; his step-brothers, Casey (Carrie) Kerstiens, and John (Megan) Kerstiens; and step-sister, Keri (Lex) Palmer. Also included are Arena Pourier and Colton Pourier. He had a step-brother, Donnie Moore; and step-sisters, Jamie Crazy Bear, Tiffany Pesicka, and Roni Daly.
Blake was preceded in death by his grandparents, Lavern & Bert Wilburn; and Sharke Williams.
Funeral services will be at 1:00 p.m. Thursday, July 23, 2020, at the James Kjerstad Event Center in Rapid City, SD, with Mr. Jim Wakefield officiating. Burial will be at Horseshoe Valley Cemetery on the family ranch.
Memorials have been established to go to Piedmont Fire Department, South Dakota High School Rodeo Association, and Gillette College Rodeo.