|Richard Neale "Tuff" Hedeman|
March 2, 1963 |
El Paso, Texas, USA
|Residence||Morgan Mill, Texas|
|Alma mater||Sul Ross State University|
Richard Neale "Tuff" Hedeman (born March 2, 1963 in El Paso, Texas) is a retired three-time PRCA World Champion bull rider, as well as the 1995 Professional Bull Riders (PBR) World Champion, and is the ambassador of Championship Bull Riding (CBR).
Hedeman won many junior rodeos in his youth. In 1980, Hedeman won the high school rodeo bull riding and All Around titles in New Mexico. He won the team roping title and All Around designation again in 1981. After high school he attended Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. At Sul Ross he was a member of the rodeo team, competing in bronc riding, team roping, steer wrestling, and of course bull riding.
Hedeman filled his PRCA permit at one rodeo in 1983 as a bronc rider. He was known for riding bulls that often had not been ridden, with an all or nothing style that amazed rodeo fans. He often traveled with fellow bull riders and close friends Lane Frost, Cody Lambert, Jim Sharp, Clint Branger, and Ty Murray to save travel expenses. He married Tracy Stepp in May 1986. He would go on to qualify for eleven NFRs. By 1993, he had surpassed $1,000,000 in career earnings, and won the 1986, 1989, and 1991 world titles in the PRCA. A neck injury at the National Finals Rodeo in 1993 kept him out of the arena for the entire year of 1994. In 1994, he was portrayed by Stephen Baldwin in the film 8 Seconds about the life of Lane Frost. He was actually a stunt double for Baldwin.
Hedeman was instrumental in starting the Professional Bull Riders. In 1995, he won the PBR world Championship despite his horrific encounter with Bodacious. He just missed winning the PBR world title in 1996, coming in second place that year. He finished third in the world during the 1997 PBR season. His last ride was at the PBR Bud Light Cup Series event in Odessa, Texas in 1998, when he landed on his head after getting thrown off and herniated a disc in his previously injured neck. After some consideration, he officially retired in 1999. He was leading the PBR World Standings in 1998 at the time of his injury.
Hedeman is one of only seven riders to have ever ridden Bodacious, with the stand-out ride being a 95-point ride at a 1993 Bull Riders Only (BRO) event in Long Beach, California. However, his more familiar encounter with him happened in the short-go of the 1995 PBR World Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was jerked down by him upon exiting the chutes and struck his face on his head, shattering every major bone in his face. To the crowd's astonishment, he managed to walk out of the arena, albeit a bloody mess. He required several hours of reconstructive surgery for his face, and less than two months later, he was riding again. At the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) later that year, Hedeman ended up drawing Bodacious again, this time in round 7 of the NFR. He decided to turn him out – getting off of the bull when he left the chute. Hedeman then tipped his hat to Bodacious and he received a standing ovation for his decision. He did this at the request of his son when Bodacious smashed his face earlier that year.
End of career, retirement and after
Hedeman is now the current ambassador for CBR after abruptly leaving the PBR in 2004 for undisclosed reasons (Ty Murray has since replaced him as the PBR's president under much controversy which ended their longtime friendship). He, Tracy, and their two sons now live on a ranch in Morgan Mill, Texas outside of Fort Worth. His oldest son Robert Lane Hedeman is named after his friend Lane Frost. He also adds color commentary to CBR bull riding events broadcasts on television. He spends his free time traveling to bull ridings, and team ropings.
In April 2010, Hedeman was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in Fort Worth.