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National Rodeo Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2020
Richard Neale

Richard Neale "Tuff" Hedeman



There is no question that Richard Neale “Tuff” Hedeman, four-time world champion bull rider, dominated the arena during his acclaimed rodeo career. Born in El Paso, Texas in 1963, Hedeman excelled in high school and college rodeo before bursting onto the professional circuit where he won three PRCA World Champion titles in 1986, 1989, 1991 and the PBR World Champion in 1995.

Hedeman is credited with propelling and sustaining stand-alone bull riding into the mainstream. His dedication to the sport is still alive and seen in the production of his professional class Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour, thus continually offering cowboys new and lucrative opportunities to thrive in their chosen sport.

Known for his strength of character he officially earned the nickname “Tough Nut” as a young boy. Hedeman was raised at the Sunland Park racetrack where both of his parents were employed. Working from groom to exercising racehorses, his growth spurt ended his jockey career at 14 years of age. Hedeman idolized Donnie Gay and Larry Mahan and following in their footsteps became the dream.

Tuff’s drive to succeed was instilled by his parents. His dad Red work seven days a week to provide for a family of nine. Red taught Tuff that material things are just things and your word is your honor. Tuff says that his mother Clarice is the kindest and toughest women he knows. His mom’s steadfast belief him and her “Never Quit, Never” attitude fueled his desire to be the best.

Traveling partner and best friend Lane Frost was an important influence in Tuff’s life. Tuff accredits Lane for making him a better bull rider through their competition to win first every time they entered an event. More importantly by watching Lane give his time and treating each person he met with kindness reminds Tuff still today of the importance of compassion.

Embarking on a rodeo career at the age of 4 Tuff worked his way through the ranks of bull riding. He was the All-Around champion of the New Mexico High School Rodeo Association in 1980 and 1981 including multiple top honors in collegiate bronc riding, bull riding, team roping and steer wrestling. After securing the National Collegiate Finals Championship in 1983 representing Sul Ross State, Tuff turned pro. During that time Tuff’s credits included 3 World Championships: his first in 1986 when he set a world record with $137,061 in earnings, his second in 1989; third in 1991. While in1993 he became the first $1,000,000 bull rider.

Shortly thereafter Tuff co-founded the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) and secured the 1995 PBR World Championship title despite his infamous head-on collision with Bodacious – a wreck that resulted in over 13 hours of reconstructive surgery. Just two months later Tuff entered the 1995 NFR World Finals determined to claim the title; however, as fate would have it Tuff was faced with misfortune in the final round – once again drawing Bodacious. But this time Tuff rescinded the challenge and waved his hat in honor of the powerful beast as Bodacious left the chute without him. Forfeiting his chance to win the 1995 NFR Championship title, Tuff earned an ovation as understanding fans applauded his modesty.

Hedeman was co-founder of the PBR and served as its president from 1992 – 2003. He later served as President and Ambassador of the Championship Bull Riding (CBR) and then founded Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding in 2017.

“My goal has never changed – to create events that guys want to come to, not that they have to come to.” – Tuff Hedeman

Hedeman has four sons, Lane, Trevor, Ryker and Ripp and lives on his ranch in Morgan Mill, Texas.

Career Highlights:
Four World Championship Bull Riding Titles
1982 Winner of National Collegiate Finals
1983 Turned Pro
1984-93, ’95 – ’96 National Finals Rodeo Qualifier
1986, 1989, & 1991 PRCA World Champion Bull Rider
1987, ’89 National Finals Rodeo Average Champion
1993 First $1,000,000 Bull Rider
1995 Touring Pro Division Champion
1995 PBR World Champion
1997 First Place Title at PBR Touring Pro Division Events-Daytona, FL


1988 Cowboy Capital Walk of Fame Inductee
1997 Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame Inductee
1997 El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee
1999 Professional Bull Riders Ring of Honor Inductee
2002 Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame Inductee
2003 Cheyenne Frontier Days Hall of Fame Inductee
2010 Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame Inductee
2016 Bull Riding Hall of Fame Inductee

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