BILLINGS - As cowboys and cowgirls stare down the final two days of pro rodeo's regular season, Stevensville bareback rider Richmond Champion isn't sweating bullets on qualifying for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. He already has a grip on reaching his sixth straight.
But, considering the year-round grind contestants endure to make the Super Bowl of rodeo, golf courses don't typically come to mind.
"Golf clubs and gear bags. Other than that, we can pretty much get by with what we've got," Champion told Montanasports.com, citing his travel necessities with a grin after riding at the Yellowstone River Roundup in Billings.
Life should be so simple.
That's Champion's take on how he and travel partner and fellow bareback rider Caleb Bennett of Corvallis hit life's reset button. Champion posted a Twitter pic of his golf shot in June affirming his appreciation for the mental cross over between golf and rodeo. And according to Richie, there's zero doubt on the better player in his travel party.
"It's not even a question, me," he boasted with a laugh. "(I'm a) bogey golfer. Caleb has his days though; he definitely gives me a run for my money."
And they're constantly giving each other a run for their money inside arenas. Bennett has the edge right now sitting fourth in the PRCA world standings. Champion is not far behind, also inside the top 10 at No. 7. His earnings this season add up to $98,945.01, with career earnings of $1,341,665 entering this season.
The two buddies will battle each other for their first world title at December's NFR in Las Vegas. Along the way, you see Champion and others maintain rodeo's unwritten rule of helping a guy out, whether it's a pickup ride to the next town or a re-ride in his event.
"We rely on each other, you know," Champion explained. "I got off my horse tonight (at the Roundup) and saw that Cody Lamb had a re-ride. When you get on one, it's enough to have to re-saddle your horse and all that. So, you throw your strap down and give somebody a hand because they do it for you."
Naturally, that hand may not extend quite as far when pals are outside the arena. While bareback winners are decided in eight seconds, cowboys can battle on rivers and fairways for hours.
"(We love time) on the golf course, on the river fishing. You know, anything that's outside the truck is pretty fun for us this time of year."