story by Kailey Pickering After pursuing a passion for English jumping for four years, Grace Barnett turned back to her love of rodeo when her […]
Association MemberJoin Rodeo News
Meet the Member Lucy Richards
story by Lily Weinacht
Lucy Richards from Hereford, Texas, is sitting in the top five in the AJRA standings in all five of her events: barrel racing, pole bending, ribbon roping, goat tying, and breakaway roping. The 12-year-old started her rodeo career when she was 4, following in the boot prints of her older sister, Madalyn, who also competes in the AJRA. “My favorite events are probably breakaway or goats. In breakaway, my dad and my sister are the ones who started me, so it’s one of the events we work on the most,” says Lucy, whose fastest breakaway run is a 2.6. “In goat tying, I like the speed, and if you work hard, you’re successful.”
Lucy and Madalyn practice together, often joined in the arena by their parents, Joe and Brandi Richards. “I look up to my dad. If we go in the alley, he’s there, and he ropes at the house sometimes and tunes the horses up,” says Lucy, who’s the third generation in her family to rodeo. “Mom helps us with goats when we’re doing ground work, and opens chutes when we breakaway at the house.” Lucy’s grandmother, Cherokee Charlesworth, is also very involved in Lucy and her cousins’ rodeo careers, traveling to many of their rodeos and videoing their runs. Her sewing skills are also on display every time Lucy and her cousins make a run in one of their grandmother’s handmade rodeo shirts.
Along with competing in the AJRA, Lucy recently finished her first season in the TJHRA, where she was the Region 2 Reserve Breakaway Roping Champion and Reserve Rookie of the Year. She placed seventh in the first round of goat tying at state finals, and was pleased with her barrel racing and pole bending runs. Just two weeks before state finals, Lucy’s breakaway horse Cactus passed away from colic and her family bought a 17-year-old gelding named Mickey Mouse, who carried her through state finals. She also ribbon ropes off Mickey Mouse, and runs barrels on Rowdy. Her mare Molly can do any event, but Lucy rides her in pole bending and goat tying. “We take seven horses to rodeos, and I put all my saddles and headstalls in the trailer and make sure I have all my rodeo clothes, plus put our Back on Track boots on the horses and putting feed in the trailer.” They also bring along their goats to practice tying before rodeos, and never leave for a rodeo without Boots, their three-legged rat terrier.
Lucy always looks forward to the AJRA finals at Sweetwater, Texas, one of her favorite AJRA rodeos of the year. “Most of the time there’s basketball tournaments at the finals, and we get to play with all our friends and go swimming. I play basketball in Canyon and Amarillo year round, and next year I’ll play school basketball. Shooting and following through in basketball is like roping, and it keeps me in shape, and staying low in goats is like playing home defense in basketball,” Lucy explains. Madalyn plays Varsity basketball with her high school, and the sisters enjoying shooting hoops together on their back porch.
Before she starts seventh grade at Vega Junior High School this fall, Lucy is visiting her cousins, who also junior high rodeo in Texas, and she’s attending her first basketball camp in August. She also enjoys writing fantasy stories and going swimming. “My goal is to make it to Nationals, and I want to get faster in my goat runs and breakaway runs. And in the AJRA, I’d like to win the average in breakaway and the all-around.”