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Richard "Tuff" Hedeman, the youngest of seven kids, grew up in El Paso, Texas. He got his original name from a horse trainer by the name of "Tater" Decker when he was 4 or 5 years old. His hand got caught in the door of Tater's pickup truck and Tuff never dropped a tear. Tater gave him the name "Tough Nut" which would later be shortened to "Tuff". He rode his first calf at age four. By the age of thirteen he had come to terms with twelve-hundred-pound "junior" bulls. He went on to win the New Mexico High School Rodeo Association bull riding and all around in 1980 and state team roping and all around titles in 1981. He received a rodeo scholarship in the fall of 1981 and attended Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. His coach was John Mahoney, who said he had never known anybody to have as much determination as Tuff. When Sul Ross made the 1982 National Collegiate Finals in Bozeman Montana, Mahoney chose Tuff to be on the team. As part of the Sul Ross State University rodeo team, he competed in saddle bronc riding, bull riding, team roping and steer wrestling. That team went on to win the NIRA men's team Championship. His career, after again winning the National Collegiate Finals in 1983, turned pro. Hedeman joined the Association in 1983 and filled his permit at one rodeo in the bronc riding event. He qualified for the 1984 NFR his second year as a professional and went on to ten additional NFR appearances. By 1989 Tuff had topped enough bulls to win the world. He qualified for every National Finals Rodeo since 1984 except 1994, when he was recovering from an injury..
28 Jun 2011
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Mike Lee grew up around livestock and climbed on his first steer at age 10. Throughout his teens, he moved up the ranks from to junior bulls to senior bulls and competed in high school rodeos. Lees riding talent was evident at a young age—he qualified for the National High School Rodeo two years and was offered rodeo scholarships from several colleges. Lee turned down those offers and went pro when he turned 18. As a rookie, I learned to ride jump for jump—one bull at a time, says Lee. And, I tried to stay focused on what Gods path is for me. This mild-mannered Texan etched his name in the history books as the first rider simultaneously earn both the Built Ford Tough World Finals event title and the Built Ford Tough Million Dollar World Championship in 2004.
25 Jun 2009
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