There’s not much Redgie Probst doesn’t have his hands on, from four kids coming up in the youth rodeo scene to cow-calf operations to futurity horse hopefuls and a career managing the operations of a Fortune 200 company across the United States, Canada and Australia. At just 45 years old, it’s quite a statement of success. In reality, though, it’s a narrow perspective on a man whose everyday actions are shaped by hard work, of course, but also the invaluable nature of a strong team.
“I didn’t go to college because I couldn’t afford it, and it just wasn’t for me,” Probst said of his career beginnings. “I kind of put myself through the lineman trade and became a lineman and an electrician. I started my own businesses and then grew that business over the next nine or 10 years and sold both companies to Quanta in 2013.”
As is the model for Quanta Services’ operations, which regularly purchases promising small businesses and then let’s them function as-is, but with the financial backing of a large corporation, Probst was left to run his Utah-based companies, now under the Quanta umbrella.
In time, the success with which he ran his businesses led to opportunities with the larger corporation, and Probst’s responsibilities grew to help manage the western region, then to preside over the entire electric power portion of the business and, as of January 2022, to fill the role of Chief Operating Officer. As he speaks of Quanta Services, though, he doesn’t focus on its traditional markers of success. (Quanta Services, a public company, will close out 2022 with close to $17 billion in revenue, Probst predicts.)
“It’s the third largest fleet in North America,” Probst explained. “That stacks right up there with UPS and Pepsi. It’s funny because, you think of a company that size with 50,000 employees and you just think of a big corporate company. We are a big corporate company but, at the same time, you’ve got this family feel and, truly, it’s about our people. Our biggest asset at Quanta is certainly our people and we try to take care of our assets and we try to take care of our people. Our people are number one.”
Of special interest to the company is our military veterans, whom the company can educate and foster successful job placements through the accredited school they purchased. Northwest Lineman College has campuses in Idaho, California, Texas and Florida, and graduates between 2,000 and 3,000 students each year, Probst estimates.
“Quanta does a really nice job with our veterans. We offer a full ride to vets to come in and get into the trade—100% job placement. We try to really lean into that and give back to them. When they come out of the military, they know how to work; they know how to be organized; they know how to get up in the mornings. There’s a lot of awesome traits that come with trying to recruit and hire vets.”
Similarly, Quanta has a multi-year partnership with the National High School Rodeo Association, through which they recently established their rodeo team, which had between 300 and 400 applicants for 20 Varsity and 10 Junior Varsity spots.
“We’ve got a great group of kids on our Quanta high school team and, hopefully, that pays dividends to them and to us.” Probst said. “I think there’s a vast group out there that just doesn’t want to go to universities. Part of what we need is more people and we need to educate that there are other options for those who don’t want to go to universities.”
Probst isn’t anti-university, and neither is Quanta, which partners with and promotes numerous higher learning entities.
“I just think we haven’t done a very good job—I’m talking about the trades, in general,” he clarified, “in promoting the trades. I think there’s a lot of kids out there in today’s world that just don’t know what options are out there to go and build a great career.”
That kind of knowledge perhaps would have eased his own professional trajectory.
“My dad and grandad ran commercial sheep for years, [but] they lost the sheep herd; I guess it was in the late ’80s,” Probst said. “Then, my dad deserted us when I was probably 15 or something. I had a really strong mom that was a schoolteacher, and we kind of just made ends meet and we all worked together. I just went to work and didn’t know anything else.”
He’s stayed in the ranching business, too, and, at one point, was running 1,200 mother cows across the ranches he had purchased.
“It was great,” Probst said. “It was a good business, good ranch. Then, as my role changed at Quanta and my kids got a little bit older and started rodeoing and pursuing their dreams, I knew I had to take an iron out of the fire.
“So, we sold the majority of our cows and the majority of our ranch. I still have a handful—a hundred head or so. We live on five-or-six hundred acres here and I run some grass yearlings and mess with it still. I can’t get rid of everything,” Probst admitted, adding, “I always like to keep some grass cows around so I can go doctor them. My favorite thing to do in the world is doctor yearlings.”
It seems the future of 3 String Cattle is safe, while the future of Probst’s QP Performance Horses is bursting with potential.
“We’ve always team roped,” said Probst, who ropes at the World Series Finale most years, and won a team check for $50,000 in 2017. “And my girls, all they do is rope. But I kind of had to set the rope down and say, ‘That’s going to have to be on the shelf for a while.’ I probably never picked up a rope for 10 years while I was growing businesses and doing everything I was doing.”
In recent years, though, Probst, his horses, and even his daughters, have turned an entrepreneurial eye toward the burgeoning futurity scene.
“We show a lot of futurity rope horses,” he said. “Some of them are homegrown, but some of them we buy as prospects as 3- or 4-year-olds, and then train them here. Rhen Richard has shown a bunch for me. Jeremy [Buhler] showed some for me and, then, my daughter’s showing in the non-pro.”
With his wife of 25 years, Probst has three girls—17, 14 and 12—and a son, 8.
“In fact, my middle daughter, she won the Non-pro in Scottsdale last year competing against grown men and, yeah, it was awesome. She’s pretty accomplished and won a ton in the Junior High and other things, but that was, by far, the coolest win for her and for us.”
Supporting the kids is a big part of Probst’s focus for now.
“It’s every single weekend that we’re chasing these kids,” he said. “But, man, it’s better to watch them and their success. That’s a lot cooler for me to see them win. It’s just different. We just go through different chapters of our lives and, maybe someday, when they’re of age, I’ll really hit it hard again, but I try to just have fun with it now.
“My kids have been super fortunate,” Probst continued. “They ride good horses and they’ve got a good facility and then, the opportunities they’ve had are with some of the best. You know, Rhen and I are best friends and to have Rhen as a mentor and coach—not only for my kids, but for me and my horsemanship—we learn a tremendous amount from him, and we’re blessed. We really are.”