In his career as a professional bull rider, Richard "Tuff" Hedeman was a three-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association World Champion and the winner of the 1995 Professional Bull Riding World Championships. After an 18-year career, Hedeman became the president of the PBR in 1998. He retired in 2004.
Hedeman began his rodeo career at the age of 4 when he rode his first calf. He roped calves, winning the first contest he entered, and also rode saddle broncs. He rode his first bull at 13.
Throughout his teenage years, he worked his way up the bull riding ranks, and in 1980, his senior year of high school, he won the New Mexico High School Rodeo Association Championship. He went on to become a member of Sul Ross State University's rodeo team, and went on to earn top honors in collegiate bronc riding, bull riding, team roping and steer wrestling. In 1983, he won at the National Collegiate Finals Championships.
After a successful amateur career, Hedeman turned pro and began touring. He qualified for the National Finals Rodeo for the first time in 1984; he would qualify 10 more times during his career. In those 11 appearances, Hedeman captured three PRCA World Championships: his first in 1986, his second in 1989, and his third in 1991.
In 1993, Hedeman became the first bull rider to reach $1 million in earnings. After retiring in 1998, he was inducted into the Professional Bull Riders Ring of Honor in 1999.