Player's Own Voice

POV podcast: Rich Champion (yes, that's his actual name) is rodeo's million-dollar man

On this week's episode of the Player's Own Voice podcast, Texan rodeo ace Rich Champion talks about how winning a million bucks in a single day's riding brought on an unwanted flood of attention and sky-high expectations.

Bareback rider's massive success unleashes unexpected career challenges

Richmond Champion, seen here winning the bareback finals at this year's Calgary Stampede, joins the POV podcast to talk about how sudden fame and success can throw a guy off his game every bit as fast as any bronco. (Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press)

Rich Champion is just about the hottest thing on four legs these days.

The rodeo star (full name: Richmond Champion) won bareback titles this year and last year at the Calgary Stampede and fully lived up to his fantastic name when he became the first to ever to win a million bucks in a single day's riding.

But being a blazing success is not 100 per cent peaches and cream. The sudden expectations and pressure to win everything, all the time, can rattle a young athlete every bit as hard as the bucking broncos themselves.

The straight-talking Texan hunkers down to talk about that and more with host Anastasia Buscis on this week's Player's Own Voice podcast.

Champion is the living symbol of a sport in transition. Like golf and curling, rodeo has recently become the preserve of highly trained, fit and focused athletes. And rodeo is also changing sharply with the arrival of more and more sponsors — and their dollars — than ever before.

The bareback rider is the latest elite athlete to share his story on the POV podcast, which takes an uninhibited and intimate approach to conversations. Like CBC Sports' Player's Own Voice essay series, the POV podcast gives athletes an unfiltered way to speak to Canadians about issues from a personal perspective.

To listen to Champion's sweet Texas drawl, Player's Own Voice is available free on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Tune In or wherever you get your podcasts.

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