If Green Day, Coldplay or Imagine Dragons were echoing through the halls of the capitol building, Roscoe Ricketts might have stopped by to visit his dad before returning to his typical day of classes and study sessions.
Roscoe, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln sophomore business major and the son of Gov. Pete Ricketts, said his father’s high-profile position affects him hardly any more than a normal day job. Roscoe’s career on campus, while right down the street from his dad’s workplace, is its own distinct entity.
Roscoe grew up in Omaha and watched his father’s transition from business into the world of politics firsthand. Ever since Pete’s 2006 run for senate, Roscoe has worked side by side with his dad in parades and calls, working to further his campaigns. Even as an elementary schooler, Roscoe was parading around with his father to make the campaign the best it could be –– which, at that point, was mainly motivated by sweet treats.
“That was fun, we enjoyed doing the parade and stuff because we’d get free candy, and as kids, what more could you ask for?” Roscoe said.
As he grew up, Roscoe found himself more interested in his father’s political affairs and wanted to consistently volunteer to help his gubernatorial campaign.
“Every once in a while, I’ll usually get to head into the Capitol and see him, I’ll usually have to wait for him in a meeting or something,” Roscoe said. “If I am there, it’s mostly just phone calls, calling people.”
Despite his high-visibility family, Roscoe said he blends into UNL’s campus pretty well.
“To be honest, not a lot of people recognize me,” he said. “With the last campaign, I was on one of his ads and I got a little bit more recognizable, but other than that not many people recognize me.”
He said he likes reading, running and playing Ubisoft video games. He also has a penchant for Dungeons & Dragons, so much so that he, alongside roommate Austin Hajek and friend Karleen Kolar, started the first War Gamers Club at UNL.
“Originally, my dad got my family started when we were like fourth grade or something, so I’ve been playing for a while,” Roscoe said. “I joined my high school’s Dungeons & Dragons club, and when I came here, they didn’t really have a devoted Dungeons & Dragons club.”
Hajek said the club functions as a hub for people with similar game interests to come together and play.
“We play a lot of nerdy and complicated games, and you don’t typically find that many people interested in them,” he said. “The idea behind the club was to create an organization and put it out there that we play these games and maybe, just maybe, there’s a few other people on campus that might like to play them as well.”
Roscoe is currently living on campus and working toward a business degree with an emphasis not yet determined. After starting out in mechanical engineering, he made the transition to business due to the rigorous nature of his physics classes.
“I found it a struggle to do engineering, it just wasn’t really clicking, so my family suggested I look at something else and business came up,” he said.
Ironically, Roscoe said he sees his father even less after moving to Lincoln because he travels home to Omaha every weekend to visit the rest of the Ricketts family. However, he said he still stops in every Wednesday for dinner with his dad at the Nebraska Governor’s Mansion –– a place he could see himself moving into one day.
“I sort of hope to follow in my father’s footsteps and go into the political realm,” he said.
While Roscoe insists he doesn’t know any government secrets, he said one thing is clear about his ties to Nebraska politics: his dad’s position as governor doesn’t really impact his life as much as one might think. In fact, he’s just like any other student.
“[My dad’s job and my life] honestly don’t affect each other very much,” he said. “Obviously with the campaign ending around October, November, it doesn’t really conflict with the school year a whole bunch.”