Confidence Boost

Richard and Buhler Dip Off Rodeo Trail to Sweep Royal Crown 6-&-Under Heading and Heeling
Richard and Buhler hit pay dirt in Rock Springs.
Carters Won Time Out and Rhen Richard winning the Royal Crown in Rock Springs, Wyoming, in August 2023. | Lexi Smith Media

The 2023 Rodeo Houston Champs Rhen Richard and Jeremy Buhler are in the heat of battle near the top of the PRCA world standings mid-August, but that didn’t stop them from sneaking over to the Royal Crown Futurity Rock Springs, Wyoming, for one day only to showcase the futurity horses in their programs.

With just one week at the Richards’ A&C Racing and Roping facility in Roosevelt, Utah, before the futurity to get their mounts ready, Richard and Buhler won the 6-&-Under Heading on Carters Won Time Out and followed it up with a first and second in the 6-&-Under Heeling on Heavenly Catt and Hot Smokepack.

Carters Won Time Out and Richard teamed up to rope four steers with an aggregate score of 618.09 to win $13,271. Breeders at the Flag Ranch and stallion owners of One Time Honor got $1,196 a piece for the day, while A&C Racing and Roping picked up another $2,250 for second in Round 2 and another $750 for fourth in Round 3.

By Catty Rey out of Heavenly Reys by Dual Rey, the 2017 gelding Heavenly Catt and Buhler won $15,410 for the average win, plus another $3,200 for first in Round 2 and $1,600 for third in Round 1. He also won his breeder Nachos Quarter Horses $1,610 and the owners of Catty Rey the same amount. Hot Smokepack—by Hes Hot N Chexy out of RS Hollywood Chex by RS Olenas Playboy won $13,400 for the average win, $1,400 for the breeder Doug Wilkinson and $1,400 for the owners of Hes Hot N Chexy. He also won Round 1 for another $3,200.

The wins were extremely welcome for more than the obvious reasons—Richard and Buhler, after lighting up the winter rodeos, have struggled to connect for the months of July and August. Rock Springs—where they won big in 2022 at the same event—was a welcome confidence boost in the presence of the best young horses and trainers in the industry.

“This has been the worst month of my rodeo career,” Richard, 34, said. “I’ve been in a way worse place, rodeoing before, and luckily we had a great winter so we’ll still make the Finals either way. But it’s just—when you feel like you’re a top team, and it’s one thing after the next, and you’re not winning—it’s been tough. There’s four quarters in a game, and we got our butts kicked in the third quarter. The plan is to finish and try to win the fourth quarter and have a great year.

“I think it’s good for both Jeremy and I to come here and go make some runs. It’s easy to press when you’re not winning, and you might be doing things that you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s good to be able to get things ironed out and just run them down there and catch a few steers. I hope to build off the momentum.”

Carters Won Time Out

Rhen’s brother Kaden put in most of the riding on Carters Won Time Out, the 5-year-old mare Richard rode to rope four steers with an aggregate score of 618.09 to win $13,271 in Rock Springs this August.

“She was good as a 4-year-old,” Richard said. “Kaden roped good on her but didn’t get much won. I showed her in Oklahoma City and I’d rode her two weeks before that. Since then, Kaden rode her again for a little while, and I’ve rode her for another two weeks. She’s got things that are really good, but other things you have to know how to ride her. She’s got a little different style. I want my horses to really get on their butt, and she doesn’t really want to get on her butt. She’s more you push out the front and then let her get on her butt to come back. She got better every run, and she scored good and tried hard.”

Carters Won Time Out’s breeders at the Flag Ranch and stallion owners of One Time Honor got $1,196 a piece for the day, while A&C Racing and Roping picked up another $2,250 for second in Round 2 and another $750 for fourth in Round 3 to the mare’s performance, too.

“She lets you pull on her in the box,” Richard explained. “The way roping is today, roping softer-type cattle, the barriers aren’t as long, and she’s 14.3-15 hands, and she’d work great in today’s rodeos.”

The mare’s style—different from the likes of Richard’s other great futurity talents like Hankies Version and Chics Magic Corona—fits the Richard/Buhler run.

“It makes it easier for Jeremy, because I’m not waiting as long,” Richard said. “Once I get the steer’s head, I can send her back and pull. He can rope like we’re at the jackpots or rodeos.”

Heavenly Catt & Hot Smokepack

Jeremy Buhler swooped in from the trail to dominate the Royal Crown’s 6-&-Under heeling, taking the top two callback spots and capitalizing on the opportunity. He won the roping on his second callback horse of Heavenly Catt, and he finished second on Hot Smokepack, the horse he had at high call.

“That’s a really good horse,” Buhler said of Heavenly Catt. “He’s been heeled on. Brady Pitchford, from Utah, did the work on him. I want to make sure I give credit where it’s due—he did a really good job with that horse and dang sure had him going the right way. I bought him in May of this year, so I haven’t done a whole lot of the work on him. I just got on him and roped.”

Heeling Jeremy Buhler
Buhler and Heavenly Catt | Lexi Smith Media

Hot Smokepack is a horse Buhler’s had most of his life in partnership with his fiancé Katie. He put the first rides on him, and he’s proud of what the already trustworthy gelding has turned into.

“A good friend of mine raised him,” Buhler explained. “There was a lot of sentimental value attached to that one.”

The horses were nearly even on four head, with Heavenly Catt edging out Hot Smokepack just 620.62 to 619.66 with a tougher steer and higher degree of difficulty to really show the horse off in the short round.

Buhler and Hot Smokepack | Lexi Smith Media

“I think that the Pitchford horse I won it on, he’s extremely fast-footed and feely and a really good athlete,” Buhler said. “He’s a little smaller than the other one. The other one is a really good athlete, but he’s just a lot bigger in size so he moves different than the other one. He’s a big, easy horse.”

While Buhler did the heeling for Richard, their run was rock solid with Richard on the help side for Buhler too

“Rhen did a great job helping,” Buhler said. “By having the right helper, I knew exactly where that steer was going to be, fresh or not. Those two horses in my mind, they’re not green. They haven’t been rodeoed on or open jackpots yet, but I could ride them like I was jackpotting. There wasn’t a lot of smoke and mirrors. I wasn’t hiding anything. Then it’s just the same old deal—one steer at a time, not getting too wrapped up paying attention to who’s scoring what, just keeping it simple.” TRJ

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