Finally Getting My Shot

photo by Matt Cohen

photo by Matt Cohen

For me, Vegas started off on the right foot. It feels good. After all these years, it feels right.

by Rhen Richard

I joined the PRCA in 2008, the same year I graduated high school, and in the decade that followed I never once qualified for the National Finals Rodeo. I’ve been close four or five times, finishing sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth. But in 2018, things changed. I qualified in two events—the calf roping and the team roping.

The Thomas & Mack is infamously small. Luckily, both my horses love that set-up. For my head horse, Festus, and my calf horse, Dundee, it’s just like any other indoor rodeo. For me, it’s a whole lot more.

I can’t say there have been too many surprises. We were able to rope the calves with breakaway ropes before the NFR began. I’m really glad, because it gave me a preview of what was to come. It was also a nice way to get comfortable in the Thomas & Mack before game time.

What’s really different is going to all the signings. It’s a whole other caliber for ten days! It’s not just showing up at a rodeo and roping. It took me a day or two to get into the swing of running here and there.

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Just like I did over the Fourth of July run—pretty much the whole season—I’m trying to approach it one steer or one calf at a time. I’ve roped every steer and every calf in the first four rounds. I’ve been able to pocket some money already. For me, Vegas started off on the right foot. It feels good. After all these years, it feels right.

There are people out there who want to create a rivalry between Trevor Brazile, Tuf Cooper and me for the All-Around. There’s around $100,000 between Trevor and me. I honestly didn’t even know that until someone told me. All that can change in just a couple nights, but that’s not my focus.

I’m not trying to beat Trevor and Tuf. It’s the calf or steer and Rhen. So I’m going to keep approaching it one steer, one calf, one run at a time. And I’m sure going to soak up this experience for everything it’s worth.

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