Once William “Billy” Buck, a man-mountain at 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds, makes up his mind, it takes a mob to alter his determination.
That certainly was true Thursday at Clovis High School’s Senior Bash Day, which is part of the school’s graduation events.
The Clovis Fire Department firefighters were spraying students with water on the football field when Buck’s friends decided to take their buddy to the water.
“We were having a water fight, and they were dragging people over there,” the 17-year-old senior football player said. “I said they couldn’t get me over there. The first time they tried, I got away. Then about 20 or 25 of them got me, but when they carried me over there, they ran out of water, so they dropped me in a mud puddle.”
Billy Buck will be one of the approximately 390 Clovis High School seniors to graduate during commencement exercises at 10 a.m. Saturday in Rock Staubus Gymnasium.
Buck has applied that same determination to other areas of his life — football, school and work — despite some tragic obstacles he’s had to overcome.
“I’m originally from Oklahoma City,” he said. “My real dad died in prison from a drug overdose when I was 3 years old. I haven’t seen my real mom since then.”
Buck said he lived with his father’s brother, who “kind of adopted me until I was 10 years old.”
At 10, Buck said he was having some problems both at home and at school, and he felt the best answer was to leave.
“I thought if I could get away, things would be better,” he said.
Buck went to live at New Mexico Boys Ranch in Belen and stayed there until he was 15. Then he moved to Clovis, where he lives on the Pippin Ranch.
“I like it a lot,” he said. “Everybody my age strives to be on their own. They let you make your own choices, but they’re there to guide you along. They help you make adult choices, but it’s still your choice.”
Buck has been in Clovis for two years, but he was only able to play on the Clovis Wildcat football team his senior year because of New Mexico Athletic Association rules.
“It was a good experience,” he said. “It was a great football team. I played for one other football team at Belen. We went 2-8 for the year, so to come here and win eight in a row was great.”
Randy Adrian, CHS athletic director and football line coach, said he was impressed with Buck’s character.
“Billy’s a great kid,” he said. “When he came out for football, the odds were against him even making it through two-a-day workouts, much less through the whole season — but he did it. It’s tough for a 300-pounds-plus player to do the things we ask them to do in the heat of the day. But he came through it with flying colors.
“He’s a very determined kid,” Adrian said. “He wants to be successful. I’m sure he’s had plenty of opportunities to quit, and he hasn’t done that. That’s what makes me proud of him.”
Buck has been accepted into Doane College in Nebraska, where he has earned a football scholarship.
“I want to major in psychology or sociology and minor in criminal justice,” he said. “My dream is to be a bodyguard. I’ve wanted to be one since I was a little kid. Beyond that, I would like to work for a government agency, like the National Security Agency. That’s pretty much my goal. That’s where I see myself in the future.”