Dave Ridlen Sr. dies in hunting accident
Written by Wauneta Breeze
Saturday, 14 November 2015 22:39
By Russ Pankonin
The Wauneta Breeze
Tragedy struck the Enders community last week when Dave Ridlen Sr. died as the result of a hunting accident.
The accident occurred mid- to late morning Wednesday, Nov. 4. about 20 miles southwest of Imperial.
Chase County Sheriff Kevin Mueller said Ridlen was checking cattle for his employer, Imperial Auction Market.
Mueller said Ridlen had shot a coyote with his lever-action rifle. Shortly after, he took a selfie, picturing himself and the coyote. Mueller said the rifle was also pictured and was in the cocked position.
Mueller believes that after Ridlen fired the weapon, he re-cocked it but did not put the hammer-fired weapon back into a safe position. It appears that something in the back seat caught the trigger as he was putting it away, causing it to accidently discharge.
The sheriff said the .357 caliber bullet struck Ridlen in the middle of his chest, killing him instantly. A passerby saw Ridlen’s pickup, stopped to talk to him and found him on the ground and called 911.
Remembered for his smile
Ridlen will long be remembered for his big smile and jovial sense of humor.
He was a long-time member of several volunteer organizations, including 32 years with the Imperial EMS.
President Deb Hayes remembered Ridlen for his dedication to the squad.
She recalls the time the squad was training on child birth and they were wondering how they could make it more realistic. Ridlen decided to make it real by dressing up as a women and playing the part. “That was just Dave,” she said.
His obituary appears on page 3.
Benefit planned Tuesday, Nov. 17
Imperial Auction Market will hold a rollover benefit auction for the Ridlen family Tuesday, Nov. 17, 12:30 p.m. at the barn.
A calf has been donated in Ridlen’s memory and will sold and re-sold as long as they continue to raise money. A free-will donation meal will precede the event.