RIVES, Michigan - Weekend storms have claimed the lives of eight people across a big section of the middle of the country. One of those is a native Oklahoman, who was in Michigan.

Ryan Rickman was just 15 minutes from his home south of Lansing when a tree fell on top of his car.

We talked with his family and friends Monday, who say his spirit will always be with them.

Ryan Rickman was a 2011 graduate of Dewey High School and an up and coming star on the pro rodeo circuit. He had just finished a competition in Kentucky and was driving home when the massive storm hit Michigan.

Ryan is being remembered riding tall in the saddle, with all the grit and determination in the world.

"If he set his mind to something he was going to accomplish it, that's just the way he was," said his friend, Seth Roecker.

Ryan died Sunday evening at 21 years old. The sheriff in Jackson County, Michigan said heavy winds knocked a tree on top of his car.

"It hasn't even been 24 hours, so I think it's going to be harder before it gets easier," said Ryan's father, Bruce Rickman.

To say Bruce Rickman is proud of his son would be an understatement. Pictures from Ryan's life adorn his study. They include Ryan playing defensive end for Dewey High. He took the Bulldoggers to the state semifinals in 2009. Photos show Ryan getting serious airtime on a four-wheeler and riding a bareback bronc, competing in a rodeo.

Ryan attended Fort Scott Community College on a rodeo scholarship and competed on the professional circuit. Just last year in Tulsa, at the American Finals, he was named rookie of the year.

"[Ryan was] a really neat young man, a lot more of a young man than I was," Bruce said.

"If he was running around with us, he was competitive. He didn't want nobody beating him," said Duel Brown.

Brown, Roecker, and Thatcher Dilbeck were three of Ryan's closest friends. They always admired his determination. He never quit something he started, and they say he was truly a dedicated friend.

"If you really needed his help, he would go out of his way, no matter what it was," Dilbeck said.

Bruce Rickman admired his son and said he'll be mourned all across Dewey.

"He was just a good kid...just a good kid, going to be missed by a lot of people," he said.

Funeral arrangements are still pending. The family hopes to have a memorial service later this week in Dewey.