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Home > About Hicks Sticks > Ben Hicks Bio
Edited April 2012:

I have been extremely lucky to pursue many of my life dreams. I have worked in numerous professions, travelled the world, and live in a beautiful place in natural surroundings in the mountains of Colorado with my wonderful family.

I was born in Philadelphia Pennsylvania and grew up in Southern New Jersey. As a kid I spent much time hanging out in the woods near my home, and came to feel more at home in places of nature than the concrete jungle or suburbia where I grew up.

I have always had  the urge to create things with my hands. As a kid I always had projects making things, and this has continued through my life. This creative urge is a blessing and a curse. There are great rewards in the creative process, but the result of my ow process is way too many projects,  resulting in an endless unfinished to do list. I end up constantly feeling like a human doing rather than a human being! 

Anyway, I have made and built many many things including: furniture, guitars, drums, didgeridoos, electronic projects, speaker enclosures, computers, outdoor gear, beer, my truck flatbed and topper, our house and my woodworking shop and studio.

One of my biggest projects which has been evolving for years and has recently dominated my time is this business. As a one man show, I have done everything at Hicks Sticks, from making the didges, to packaging and shipping, photographing the instruments, website creation and maintenance, accounting. I have found through years of this work I'd rather just make didges, hence the change to wholesale only business and letting go of a lot of the other business stuff.

I also create music.  Guitar was my first instrument, which I have been playing since age 10.  I also play electric and upright bass, dobro, sitar, various percussion instruments, drum kit, gongs etc. 

Music became the center focus of my life during high school, and continued through my college years. I completed a 4 year bachelor's music performance degree at Berklee College of music in Boston in 1980. During college, I worked part time as a professional performing musician and music teacher. During summers, I was a house painter, worked a number of other miscellaneous jobs, and traveled.

During music school, I was never really comfortable in the urban environment, and I sorely missed the outdoors. I sought solace by getting out of the city and going to the forests and mountains as much as possible.  I took up rock climbing, started travelling out west for climbing trips, and on graduation, left the music biz.

Despite some scary experiences, I was lucky to survive the first couple years as a budding rock climber and mountaineer. After learning better judgement and skills through these hard knocks, I pursued a career as an outdoor experiential educator/instructor, teaching backpacking and wilderness skills, rock climbing, mountaineering, skiing, caving, fly fishing and outdoor educator and instructor courses. For 20 years, I worked as a field instructor for The National Outdoor Leadership school. During that time, my vocation was also my avocation and I travelled throughout North America and internationally to climb rocks and mountains, including summiting Denali on a personal climbing trip with friends. 

After many years off, I am rock climbing again and working again with NOLS as a rock climbing instructor.

As part of the necessary medical training for the outdoor profession, I also became an EMT in 1985. In the 1990's in addition to the NOLS work, I worked as a full time ski patroller during the winters for several years, and  worked for two ambulance services.

The combined skills and experience as a teacher in the outdoors and as an EMT landed me my current "other job" as an instructor teaching emergency care for people who travel in the backcountry. In addition to running Hicks Sticks, I teach and sponsor Wilderness First Responder and Wilderness First Aid courses for The Wilderness Medicine Institute, a job I have had for around 15 years.

Around the start of this outdoor career I met my wife. We met and moved to this area of Colorado in 1982, and have been together ever since. In the mid 1980's we ran a small part time sewing business making outdoor clothing and gear. We bought our property in 1989, and spent several years building our house which we moved into in 1994 a year after the birth of our child. She is away at university now, so these days it's just the two of us Hicks here in the Sticks.

The Hicks Sticks story
Didgeridoos by Ben Hicks
Black Hawk, CO USA
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