Farmer in the city
By Tucker Covey

Before dawn, Rick White leaves his farm and arrives at the school bus he will drive on his route through Bowling Green. He spends his days in town and his evenings on the farm.

It's 6:19 a.m. when Rick White stops his school bus on Indianola Street to pick up the first students each morning. He’s been on the road since before sunrise when he left his farm near Richardsville to drive to the bus parking lot. He gets there early to make sure he has time to check over his bus before he begins his route. He says the students’ safety is his top priority.

At the end of his morning route he will deliver a full bus load of students to W.R. McNeill Elementary School and Bowling Green Junior High School. Rick, 64, says he loves the interactions he has with students on his bus. He teases them, laughs with them and encourages them.

A few times a week after completing his morning route, Rick and his wife, Meta, 60, go to a CrossFit gym in Bowling Green. Rick jokes with the others working out and the instructor. Meta tells him to pay attention and keep working out.

After their workout, Rick and Meta go for coffee at Starbucks where they know everyone who works there and the other customers. Joking, he tells another regular customer, “You are sitting in our spot.”

Rick and Meta are inseparable these days. She beat breast cancer a few months ago. Dealing with her illness made them closer, Rick says.

After driving his afternoon route, Rick returns to his farm. On his way through the kitchen, he stops for a snack. He eats a can of sardines before heading out to tend his animals. He takes care of cows, a few pleasure horses he says he finds little pleasure in and some deer that eat for free on his land so he can hunt them later in the year.

Rick says he likes the separation between the city where he spends so much of his time each day and the land he loves. At home, he lives the life of a farmer, baling hay when the season calls for it, and driving around with his rifle at night, ready to take a shot if he sees a coyote.

Whether he’s with family, friends or the students who ride his bus, Rick usually has a joke to share, often accompanied by his infectious laugh and a smile that even a mask can’t hide.
Rick says he loves the kids on his bus even when they drive him crazy, and, at the end of the day, he just wants them to be safe and have fun.

Rick checks all of the systems on his bus before setting out on his morning. Keeping his young passengers safe is his top priority.

Rick jokes with two of his morning bus riders.

On his afternoon route, Rick stops on State Street on the Western Kentucky University campus to drop off a junior high student.

After driving children to school, Rick runs laps as part of his personalized CrossFit routine.

Rick and his wife, Meta, share a moment during a workout at their CrossFit gym.

Rick White prepares to set up a deer camera near his hunting blind on Wednesday, Oct 20.

Driving his four wheeler, Rick pulls his home trash cans from the road back to his house.

Rick talks to one of the cows he cares for on his farm.

Meta (from left), Rick and Margot Esler, Meta's mother, share dinner at the Esler home, which is located on the Whites' property.