Austin Richardson Started Riding When He Was 12
Austin Richardson was still a youngster when he realized his life would be a bumpy one.
And that’s just fine with him as he makes his way in the world of professional bull riding.
“Guilherme Marchi (Professional Bull Riders world champion in 2008 and Austin’s hero) was a neighbor of a friend of mine, and we used to hang out with him whenever we could, when we were just kids,” he recalled. “When I was about 12 years old, a group of friends were riding steers at the BuckOut at the Cowboy Church in Waxahachie. I went with them and got on, and have been riding ever since.”
Now, at age 21, Richardson is ranked 22nd in the world in the PBR standings. He has a dozen top-10 finishes, including a half dozen top-five. He entered this season with eight top-five finishes and 12 top-10.
“I love the cowboy life and everything about it,” said Richardson, who moved to Stephenville for a while, but is now back home in Wilmer at the family farm.
A Love For Speed
Richardson grew up on the farm that has been in his family since 1876, so he has always been around horses and cattle. His great-grandfather rode with the Hella Temple Black Horse Patrol, and his sister Kristin is a barrel racer, about to be a freshman at Northeast Texas Community College and compete in National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.
Along with the activities that got him interested in bull riding, Richardson competed in mutton bustin’ at the Cowboy Church, Mesquite and the Texas Stampede at the American Airlines Center. While it didn’t help prepare him for bull riding, per se, it was fun and it was rodeo, and he loved it.
Richardson tried other sports and enjoyed some success. He played basketball and baseball in school and rode motocross for a few years.
“I won a few local series championships and loved the thrill and the speed of the track,” he said.
But it did not compare to the excitement he feels every time he gets on a bull and competes.
“Yes, there is a thrill when I come out of the chute, but I train to be calm and in control, and not let the adrenaline rush interfere with my ride,” he said.
“Yes, there is definite danger, but I can’t think about that when I’m riding. Concentration on the ride is all I need to focus on. I have had a few bumps and bruises along the way, but nothing too serious.”
On the way to turning professional, Richardson rode in a couple of youth rodeo organizations (Young Bull Riders World Finals Reserve Champion in 2014 and Lone Star Youth Rodeo Association Junior Bull Rider Champion in 2015). He was also the Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association Rookie of the Year in 2017, but his dream was to ride in the PBR.
In 2019 he did well in the Velocity Finals and won a spot in the PBR World Finals in Las Vegas.
“Talk about livin’ the dream!” he exclaimed. “Some of the goals I have set for myself are (PBR) Rookie of the Year, PBR World Champion, start my own business, have my own ranch and travel the world.”
When he’s not competing, his hobbies include golf, bicycling and dirt bikes.
And he doesn’t hesitate to give thanks for his success and bright future.
“I am very grateful for the support from my family, and I also want to thank God, because it is only with his blessing, strength and protection that I am able to do this,” he said. “I have a strong faith, and I realize that ‘I am who He says I am,’ Matthew 16:13-18.”