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Roper Richard Loses Thumb during Practice


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Team roper/tie-down roper Rhen Richard, 28, suffered an injury to the thumb on his (right) roping hand Feb. 3 while practicing in Stephenville, Texas.

Richard was making a practice run as a team roping heeler at Cole Davison’s place in Stephenville. Kesley Phillips was heading on the run.

“I heeled the steer and I had just barely went to dally and I slid a little rope and the coil went over my thumb and cut it off,” Richard said.

“I’ve been in that same situation thousands of times and it was just a freak deal. I wasn’t even in a bind, everything was smooth. We were trying out a heel horse. My partner Rich Skelton was on that horse, and I was on his heel horse and he asked me to run a few, and that’s when it happened.”

Richard said he was taken by Flight for Life to Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

“I had surgery for two-and-a-half hours that night (Feb. 3), and it’s on right now and they are hoping it will live,” Richard said from his hospital bed Monday morning. “It cut right through the bone and one nerve, and a little bit of skin was attached. I have to stay here in the hospital until the coloring and everything looks good with my thumb. It’s sounding like I could hopefully be back by the Reno (Nev.) Rodeo (June 15-24).”

Richard, who joined the PRCA in 2007, also is a tie-down roper and finished a career-best 20th in the 2016 WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings with $57,480. He finished 23rd in the 2012 team roping heeler standings and was 22nd in the team roping header standings in 2013.

Courtesy of PRCA