By Jessica Crabtree
A large personality comes to mind when describing Rusty Riddle, formerly known as “the happy red head.” “Rusty’s approach to life has always been determination. Whatever it took to get something done, that was Rusty’s way,” said Riddle’s wife, Dollie. She would know after 42 years of marriage.
When reminiscing about a young Riddle, Dollie recalls their first time meeting and early years of dating, “His reputation preceded him,” she laughed. “We just lived life to the fullest back then! That was my motto. We had a lot of fun,” Riddle interjects. The “back then” meant his years of rodeoing professionally as a bareback rider, a career that spanned 10 years.
Riddle was born in 1948, the oldest of four children. The family called Weatherford home. Attending school first at Granbury, then when the bus route finally reached their rural home, he completed school and graduated from Weatherford High School. Riddle’s time as a youth was consumed with work. At six years old, his family bought a dairy. By the age of 10, he and his younger brother, age nine, were running the business. “We would get up in the morning before school and milk then get home from school and milk again,” he explained. “Me and my brother would ride the milk cows. One day we’d ride her with a saddle, then next maybe with a bull rope,” he chuckled. “We rode whatever we could find. If it moved, we’d ride it,” Riddle said.
By the age of 15 his parents divorced and the dairy was sold. “At that point, I’d seen all the black and white cows I’d wanted to. I got my first taste of bareback riding and that was all it took,” he assured. By 16 Riddle was traveling and competing in rodeos. Starting out, the young cowboy wanted to do it all, every event. When he was 18 Riddle found Tommy Steiner from Austin and began working for him feeding livestock and driving trucks. That was the young man’s first taste of pro rodeo. The time allowed Riddle to gain experience practicing and study other competitors.
In 1968, Riddle obtained his PRCA card. With no time to spare, the rodeo cowboy hit the ground running, traveling and competing. “Like they say, it’s not when you get hurt, it’s how bad in rodeo,” Riddle said. In 1970 Riddle was in Jackson, Miss. when a bull stepped on him, breaking all his ribs on one side, collapsing his lung. The serious injury put him out the rest of the year. That is when Riddle drew the line, opting to only ride bareback horses, “I just saw I could ride bareback horses a little better and saw there was more opportunity there for me.”
To read more pick up a copy of the December 2016 NTFR issue. To subscribe call 940-872-5922.
The 45th Annual National Golden Spur Award Honors Brings Cody Johnson to the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts & Sciences Nov. 3
The 45th Annual National Golden Spur Award Honors, celebrating the spirit of the American rancher and the enduring tradition of ranching, is set to take place on November 3, 2023, at the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences in Lubbock, Texas, featuring an exclusive acoustic performance by country music superstar Cody Johnson.
This prestigious event is the pinnacle of recognition for the ranching and livestock industries, spotlighting those who forge ahead in continuing the incredible story of ranching. The night will be illuminated by the presence of the National Golden Spur Award honoree Craig Haythorn of Arthur, Nebraska, and the Ranching Heritage Association (RHA) Working Cowboy Award recipient Jimbo Humphreys of Dickens, Texas.
“We are thrilled to honor these exceptional individuals who embody the heart and soul of the American ranching tradition,” said Jim Bret Campbell, Executive Director of the Ranching Heritage Association and National Ranching Heritage Center. “With special guest Cody Johnson adding his musical talent to the night, we are sure it’s going to be a memorable celebration of ranching heritage.”
Other notable appearances include professional announcer and host for The Cowboy Channel Justin McKee, Western singer and entertainer Red Steagall, CMA Award Winner Trent Willmon, and other special guests.
Proceeds from the National Golden Spur Award Honors will go towards the preservation of ranching heritage and history. To learn more about the National Golden Spur Award Honors and the award recipients, visit goldenspurhonors.com.
Tickets range from $150 to $400. All tickets include access to the National Golden Spur Award Honors Pre-Show Reception and the Awards Show. Select tickets also grant access to the Cattleman’s Club VIP Dining, a unique culinary experience with exclusively themed food stations and beverages.
Tickets are available through the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts & Sciences box office and website. For more information on ticket pricing, inclusions, the event schedule, and planning your visit, check out the official event website at goldenspurhonors.com.
About the National Golden Spur Award Honors
The National Golden Spur Award Honors recognizes the recipients of the National Golden Spur Award and the Ranching Heritage Association Working Cowboy Award. The National Golden Spur Award is the most prestigious recognition given by the ranching and livestock industries. It is a joint annual recognition historically given by six of the leading state and national ranching and livestock organizations, including the American Quarter Horse Association, National Cattlemen’s Foundation, Ranching Heritage Association, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Texas Farm Bureau, and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.
Suggested Photo Captions:
Cody Johnson.jpg – Country music recording artist Cody Johnson will perform a live acoustic performance during the 45th Annual National Golden Spur Awards. (Photo courtesy of Cody Johnson Music)
Red Steagall.jpg– Western entertainer Red Steagall will present and perform at the 45th Annual National Golden Spur Awards. (Photo courtesy of National Ranching Heritage Center)
Craig Haythorn-by Peter Robbins.jpg– Craig Haythorn, fourth generation owner and operator of Haythorn Land & Cattle Co., will receive the 45th National Golden Spur Award. Established in 1978, the award has been conferred upon iconic industry leaders whose unparalleled devotion to land and livestock has earned them notable respect and admiration from their peers. (Photograph by Peter Robbins)
Jimbo Humphreys 3 – by Ross Hecox.jpg – Jimbo Humphreys, ranch manager of Guitar Ranches, will receive the Ranching Heritage Association Working Cowboy Award. Established in 2018, the award recognizes men and women who make their living in the saddle taking care of livestock and land daily. (Photograph by Ross Hecox)
When a City Girl Goes Country
By Annette Bridges
One might think living over four decades on a working cattle ranch there would not be anything not seen or experienced. The truth about this city girl is the more I embrace my
life as a cattle rancher the more first-times happen. Remember, I’ve told y’all before that
it took me almost 40 years to become comfortable with my life in the country. Perhaps the
surprises that continue to occur is largely due to my increased awareness of and participation
in our ranching operation.
The summer drought of 2022 brought many unwanted firsts for our ranch, but amongst the
ugliness was some beautiful and precious, too. When the herd was in our southwest pasture,
we could place the water tanks along the east fence that was close enough to allow for filling with water hoses rather than hauling the water tank. Of course, filling with water hoses
was much slower so it meant I spent many hours hanging out during the process.
To read more, pick up a copy of the September issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.
Lacey’s Pantry: Cheesy Ranch Potatoes
By Lacey Vilhauer
8-10 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes 1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted 1 ¼ cups milk 1 envelope of Ranch dressing mix 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided salt and pepper 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Add the potatoes to a pot, cover with water and boil for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until potatoes are almost tender. Drain. Place potatoes in a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. In a bowl, mix soup, milk, Ranch packet, 1 cup of cheese and salt and pepper.
To read more, pick up a copy of the August issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.
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