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Meet the Member: Rhett Fox
story by Lindsay Whelchel
Before there was the sport of rodeo, there were cowboys getting on wild horses.
Saddle bronc riding was derived from necessity and was in essence the first sport when it comes to all related arena events.
“The fact that it’s the original sport and how old it is and the way it feels when you’re actually doing good on one, the floating sensation of it, is what I really like about it. It’s a rush,” described 18-year-old high school senior Rhett Fox of his chosen event.
Rhett’s dad used to raise bucking horses and all of his neighbors on the road he grew up on rode saddle bronc horses and competed in rodeo, which is what helped Rhett get his start in the sport.
Initially, he tried other events too, but riding saddle bronc overpowered interest in those other options for the young cowboy.
Now days, Rhett belongs to several associations including participating in high school rodeo, and he competes in the Northwest Ranch Cowboys Association where he’s previously qualified for the finals.
He and his parents, Rob and Kelly, and younger sister, Abby, all ranch a family cow/calf operation located east of Redding, S.D.
Rhett credits his family for all of their support, as well as making sure to thank professional bronc rider, Jake Costello for getting him started and guiding him in the sport.
Rhett keeps busy when he’s not rodeoing by helping with riding colts alongside his dad on the ranch and as a hobby, doing leatherwork.
Focusing on rodeo and doing well in it versus competing in other sports throughout high school, has taught Rhett about self-reliance.
“It’s not really a team sport, and if you want it to work you better try your guts out,” he says.
A career as a saddle bronc rider, coupled with a desire to major in something related to agriculture when Rhett goes off to college in the fall, makes his choice of Panhandle State University in Goodwell, Oklahoma, a fitting one.
In the remaining months of spring and summer, he’ll look toward his high school graduation and making his way along the rodeo road up north.