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Doug Rich

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Doug Rich be­gan col­lege with a rodeo schol­ar­ship to Western Ok­la­homa State Col­lege after tak­ing the all-around, tie-down and team roping ti­tles at the 2013 Illi­nois High School Rodeo As­so­ci­a­tion State Fi­nals. Rich is in his fi­nal se­mes­ter at Univer­sity of Ten­nessee at Martin, after rep­re­sent­ing both schools at the Col­lege Na­tional Fi­nals Rodeo three times in those past four years. In July, he and header Mor­gan Jones qual­i­fied for The Amer­i­can 2018 when they took first in the av­er­age with 31.56 sec­onds on four head at the USTRC’s Eastern Re­gional Fi­nals in Murfrees­boro, and most re­cently Rich won the #15 heel­ing and the #12 head­ing at the USTRC’s Cen­tral States Show­down in St. Louis.

Q: How did you get started roping?

A: I guess I was about 4 or 5 years old. My dad used to rope a bunch, and we had an arena there at our house and that’s where I got started. But re­ally, there were ac­tu­ally quite a few peo­ple who helped me out. I’ve been lucky. A lot

of peo­ple have done things for me that helped me get to where I am. Q: Do you have any big plans lined up for after grad­u­a­tion? A: I’m ma­jor­ing in ag business and farm and ranch man­age­ment, and I know there are a lot of job op­por­tu­ni­ties, but I haven’t re­ally looked into very many of them. I’d like to try to move to Texas or some­where like that when I get done with school.

Q: From Illi­nois to Ok­la­homa to Ten­nessee, where do you like roping the most?

A: I’d prob­a­bly say Ok­la­homa has the most rop­ings, but there’s quite a few peo­ple that rope around Ten­nessee. I also go to Alabama a lot and rodeo with Mor­gan Jones, who I qual­i­fied for The Amer­i­can with. I lived down there most of this sum­mer, and there are a lot of rop­ings that go on down there, and a lot of peo­ple who rope, and rope re­ally good.

Q: How did you start roping with Mor­gan? We started roping to­gether a cou­ple of years ago. I’d al­ways known who he was but had never talked to him that much un­til he came to a jack­pot up in Mis­souri, and we talked about rodeo­ing to­gether. Four weeks later, I went down there to Alabama and stayed with him for a while. That’s when we kind of got started. Q: Was The Amer­i­can on your radar be­fore this year? A: Oh yeah. I’ve tried to qual­ify for the past cou­ple years. I never had any luck. A: I would prob­a­bly say win­ning the #15 Shootout twice at the US Fi­nals. I won it the first year with Cole Wheeler in 2013, and then in 2015 with Wes­ley Thorp. That sec­ond one, with Wes­ley, I re­mem­ber he got him a good start and he didn’t throw just the greatest head loop, but it went on any­way. His head loop kind of scared me a lit­tle bit, but I seen it went on and I was just hop­ing I didn’t miss. I was giving him a hard time af­ter­ward, but it all worked out I guess.

A: My horses. Mak­ing sure they’re work­ing best. I feel like that’s the big­gest thing in roping or team roping or any­thing—if your horse ain’t work­ing good, then it makes your job even harder. So, when I prac­tice, or any­thing, when I ride my good horses, I make sure that they’re do­ing ev­ery­thing right and work­ing the best that they can.

A: I’ve got three dif­fer­ent heel horses and all three of them are Dual Pep bred. They all work pretty good. I got that buck­skin, Bucky Dual Pep, when he was 4. I still ride him; he’s 10 now. That’s the horse I rode both times I won the #15 Shootout. I don’t ride him much at the smaller rop­ings. I just ride him at the big­ger jack­pots and the big­ger rodeos. Then I got a half brother to him, a lit­tle roan that’s 6 or 7 years old now. I’ve been lik­ing him a lot and start­ing to ride him a bunch, too. I call him Snort. His name fits him good— he don’t kick or noth­ing like that, but he’s kind of wild on the ground.

Q: What do you want out of your horses?

A: With the heel horses, I make sure that I get the same look ev­ery time in the corner and that they don’t get too close or don’t stop be­fore I throw, and just make sure they stay real hon­est right there through the corner. That way, I can have the same kind of look ev­ery time, which makes the feel­ing a lot eas­ier.

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