Rhen Richard has slowly moved his way to the top of the standings, not in one event, but two: the team roping and calf roping. Along with that, he’s also in the run for the all-around title.
Richard is currently on the bubble in the team roping, sitting 14th with $65,232.02, 12th in the tie-down roping with $79,759.90 and third in the all-around with $138,660.27. With just a few weeks left, Richard is planning on sticking with his game plan in hopes to cash a few checks here to keep him in the top 15 in both events.
Kaitlin Gustave: You’re in the run to make what could be your first trip to the WNFR in both the tie-down and the team roping. Are you even thinking about the all-around at the same time?
Rhen Richard: I feel like I still need to win a little bit to be for sure in both events, so I haven’t even thought about it.
KG: What horses have you been riding?
RR: I ride a calf horse of mine that’s a younger horse named Patron. Then I have a buckskin head horse that I bought this spring. He’s 12-years-old named Festus. The head horse came from Clint Buhler from Canada. Then I bought the calf horse when he was a yearling and we trained him.
KG: I heard you sold your great yellow horse to Clay Smith. What made you decide to sell him?
RR: I actually sold him to his father-in-law. They just came to me and it was one of those deals where I couldn’t afford not to sell him. I got to put some money away. It was a good deal—they got a good horse and I’ll have something to retire on when I’m done rodeoing.
KG: Was is harder to get back into the calf roping than the team roping after the thumb reattachment?
RR: I kind of thought it would be, but it actually wasn’t bad. I had to get used to running my string again because my thumb is a little bit numb. There’s still times where I think I’ve got it, and I don’t just because I can’t feel it that well. But it’s pretty good really.
KG: People say that going from roping calves to heading can be challenging with the different angles. What are your tricks to going back and forth?
RR: I think a lot of people are non-believers in it. I think that it’s just handling your rope. Once you’ve done it that much and you understand where the different parts of your rope are then I don’t think it matters. I think the more you handle it and the different things you do, the better it is for your roping.
KG: Who do you look to when you need help on your heading?
RR: Oh, I don’t really go to anyone specifically. I just kind of ask around to whoever. My dad, he’s kind of a student of the game. He’s always watching runs and trying to help.
KG: What about in the calf-roping? Is it kind of the same deal?
RR: Yeah—I’m not too prideful to watch a run and see where I need to change something. It’s just whoever—friends—I have a lot of friends that I obviously go to every now and then, and just kind of whoever.
KG: Entering two events can be tough, have you needed help with your entering? If so, whom?
RR: No, I do everything on my own. When I started I didn’t really rope calves there for a while. I actually buddied with Jesse Sheffield about eight years ago. He roped calves and team roped. He was kind of always on me about roping calves and pushing me to do it. I started entering a little bit that year and the next year I kind of entered a little more. Then I eventually bought a good calf horse and started working at it and doing it.
KG: What was your goal going into this season?
RR: Obviously to make the finals and have a chance to win the World. I didn’t really know what was going to happen after I sold that other horse and I had this other one. I mean really, it’s worked out better than what I had planned. It usually takes a while to get with a new horse and this calf horse I’ve been hauling is only 7-years-old and I knew he was a little green, but it’s been a fun year.
KG: What is your game plan for the last two weeks of the season?
RR: I’m just going to try and stick with the same plan that I’ve had all year. Just go out there and compete against the calf and not worry about what everyone else does. Hopefully, if a guy draws good enough he should win something. I’m not going to try and set the world on fire and win first, just checks.
KG: Are you still roping with Quinn Kesler? How did that partnership come about?
RR: Yes. I actually wanted to rope with him for the past couple years because we’re both from Utah and we can do the circuit stuff together—it just made sense to rope. This year we decided to try it and it’s been really good.
KG: Did you just rope with him this year, or did you have other partners?
RR: Yes. I roped with a few different guys just at a couple rodeos that he couldn’t make it to, but mainly just him.
KG: What’s been the biggest highlight of your year?
RR: Oh man, I don’t know. We haven’t really had any huge wins. We won second at Nampa (Idaho)—that was a big hit in the team roping. I won Edmonton (Alberta) in the calf roping—that was a $9,000 hit. That was dang sure a big help. I really don’t just have one highlight. It’s just been a good year all together.
KG: Have you hit any slumps this year? If so, what did you do to battle out of it?
RR: My roping hasn’t been that great. I mean, I won a little here and there, but I was hoping to do a lot better than I did in the Northwest. I didn’t draw great and just kind of stayed on the stronger end of them. I kind of thought I would do better in the Northwest because the calves are strong, and my horse is good on strong calves, but it just didn’t really come together. I try to just not break it down too much and go back to the basics and try to catch and tie them down. Not just try go blast one. It seems like if a guy can just kind of get on the board when he’s down and out, it sure helps.
KG: If you do make it to the WNFR, what are your expectations?
RR: I’m just going to not try to do that to myself—just compete, you know what I mean. I dreamed of making the finals and I work my butt off my whole life to do it. I’m just going to enjoy it and go have fun.
KG: Thank you Rhen and good luck with the rest of the season.