As we flip our holiday calendars from Father’s Day to Cowboy Christmas, and everyone makes the annual migration to Reno for the 100Reno Rodeo and BFI Week, I thought it’d be fun to catch up with a few cowboy dads of brand-new babies. You may notice Wesley Thorp, Paul Eaves and Rhen Richard looking a little sleep-deprived when they back in the box Monday for one of roping’s richest national holidays, the Bob Feist Invitational Team Roping Classic. But thanks to the recent arrivals of babies Jack, Iyla and Charlie, you’ll also see that the happy dads can’t stop smiling.
BFI Team #27, Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp
Wesley and Susanna Thorp welcomed their second baby boy, Charlie, on April 9. Big brother Matthew, who’s almost 2, loves his look-alike little brother.
BFI Team #80, Luke Brown and Paul Eaves
Paul and Amanda Eaves’ second baby, Jack, joined them and his beautiful big sister, LoElla, who’s 2, on April 16.
BFI Team #98, Rhen Richard and Clint Summers
Rhen and Chalis Richard just had their second baby girl, Iyla, on June 19. Iyla joins her gorgeous big sister, Ruby, who’s 2.
Q: Will the new baby be at the BFI?
Wesley: No. They’re going to come out right after the Fourth. I didn’t want to have them go through all the driving over the Fourth.
Paul: No. There’s a lot going on for them to all be there. They’ll be in Utah with my in-laws. That’s where they stay the first month we’re gone in the summer, when we’re really busy. It’s pretty hectic for us, and that lets them have a fun time with family.
Rhen: No. Iyla’s brand new. She was born Wednesday, so she’s not even a week old.
Q: What’s the best part about being a dad?
Wesley: Matthew’s old enough now to have quite the personality. I just like watching them interact and seeing the things they do. They’re pretty funny. With kids, there’s always something new every day.
Paul: All of it. Now that LoElla’s getting a little bit older and I get to do stuff with her—whether we’re riding horses or we go fishing—everything’s more fun.
Rhen: That’s hard to narrow down. All of the above. I’ve always been a kid lover, so everything about being a dad is awesome to me.
Q: What’s the hardest part about being a full-time rodeo cowboy dad?
Wesley: It’s been nice this year that I haven’t had to be gone that long, because the hardest part is leaving for more than a few days, especially now that Matthew’s getting to the age where he gets sad when I leave. That’s hard.
Paul: Being gone is the hardest part. I won’t get to see them every day this month. I’ll see them a few times, but it’s really hard to be away from them now, especially since LoElla’s old enough to really talk to and play with. LoElla does grab her mom’s phone when I’m gone, so we can FaceTime and talk.
Rhen: The hardest part is when you have to leave and they can’t come. It’s tough to leave them. I’m lucky that my family gets to come with me most of the time. Just not in this case. It’s too busy right now for a brand new baby.
Q: What do you love most about the BFI?
Wesley: It’s enter once, it’s six head and it’s a good roping. Even if you draw on the stronger end of the steers, you still have plenty of time to work your way back into the roping. You always have a chance, if you just stay in it. The BFI is a true roping contest, and it’s just a pretty cool roping.
Paul: I love that the roping’s so good. The BFI is one of the best ropings of the year, and it kicks off the summer. Everybody’s excited right now and ready to get going. The BFI is a great roping right before we get gone. I love to rope, and the BFI is the best roping of the year. It’s the best paying roping, and it’s the most prestigious.
Rhen: Obviously the money. And the BFI is just one of those prestigious ropings you’ve watched since you were a little kid, and always wanted to compete in and win. I dang sure need some diaper money this year, so that gives me a little more incentive to catch six.