Richard Back in ProRodeo Action After Thumb Reattachment

Utah all-around-hand Rhen Richard is back rodeoing with eight-time world champ Rich Skelton after nearly losing his thumb this winter.
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Utah all-around-hand Rhen Richard is back rodeoing with eight-time world champ Rich Skelton after nearly losing his thumb this winter.

Doctors were able to save Rhen Richard's thumb after he cut it off at Cole Davison's place in Stephenville, Texas, this Feb. 3, and he's back with a vengeance for the summer run. We caught up with Richard who hit the road with Rich Skelton in Canada this weekend. Richard and Skelton stopped the clock for second place at Leduc (Alb.) Black Gold Pro Rodeo with a 5.0-second run and tied for fourth at Hand Hills Lake Stampede Pro Rodeo in Craigmyle, Alb., with a 5.5-second run, giving the team earnings of $2,075 a man for the weekend.

Kaitlin Gustave: It’s been just a little over four months since your accident, how long have you been back at it?

Photo by Cowboy Images/Kerri Allerdyce

Rhen Richard: This week was the first week of rodeo. I’ve been practicing for about month and a half. 

KG: How was the healing process?

RR: It seemed like it took forever. Looking back on it wasn't that long. I was out for four and a half months—not fun at all. I've been through a few injuries playing sports and this was by far the worst—it was dang sure a trial. 

KG: What sort of physical therapy did you do?

RR: Therapy was on my own. Every 30 minutes I would have to do exercise. If I got up middle of night I had to do a certain amount of exercises. I wanted to get back fast, so I had to stay religious. 

KG: Is there anything you have to do with your horses to compensate for the injury?

RR: Not really now. At first I couldn't grip my rope so I had to run in and get my horses close. It was good for my horses to get close because I couldn't really reach. I’m pretty much back to normal now.

KG: Tell me about the palomino you're riding. Is that your main horse you will ride at the rodeos

RR: It’s my number one horse. He's a good, solid 7-year-old named “Suntan” that I hauled last year as a seasoning process.

KG: What horses you have going right now?

RR: My back up is a bay gelding I call Apple—he’s a good little horse. He hasn't been to a ton so I have to pick and choose where I ride him—I’m excited about him too. 

KG: How did your partnership with Rich come about?

RR: Rich and I have been friends for quite a while. I thought our styles fit well so I asked him to rope this year. 

KG: Where are you headed next?

RR: We will come back and forth from Canada, and we’re up in Reno, Nev., on the 18th.