The Fence Post Obituary: Richard Joseph Rule |

The Fence Post Obituary: Richard Joseph Rule

Richard Joseph Rule, 56

Nov. 30, 1961 – Aug. 16, 2017

Loveland, Colo.

Richard passed away at the age of 56 peacefully in his Loveland home on August 16, 2017, after a 10-month long heroic battle against esophageal cancer.

He was the youngest of five children belonging to George and Celeste Rule. Richard was born and raised in Oklahoma City with rodeo in his blood. Growing up only 5 minutes from the National Finals Rodeo, he knew he wanted to be a professional bull rider at the ripe age of 6 years old. Richard remembers watching legendary Freckles Brown ride the unrideable bull named Tornado. As a young boy, he loved helping his father work at the Oklahoma City Stockyards and working at the National Saddlery with his brother John Rule.

Richard was also a member of 4-H for nine years showing lambs, steers, and giving charismatic speeches. He graduated from Western Heights High School in 1980 with Oklahoma State Citizenship and Oklahoma County Hall of Fame awards.

Richard attended college at Southwestern University in Weatherford, Okla. As the 1982 Collegiate Bull Riding Champion, he answered his calling to ride bulls professionally after two years of college.

Richard lived his dream traveling all over the country riding rank bulls for 15 years in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and Bull Riders Only (BRO). He was revered highly by his travel companions and fellow contestants as one of the best, consistently ranking in the top 25 bull riders in the world.

Richard claimed the Mountain States Circuit Bull Riding Championship in 1985 and 1990. In 1988, Richard was hired to be a stunt double in the movie “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys.”

After his bull riding career Richard settled down in Loveland and worked as a fencing contractor for the first 10 years and as the operations supervisor of the Larimer County Fairgrounds in Loveland for the past 10 years.

His first marriage of 17 years with Shannon Tapley Rule gave Richard his two prized possessions, sons Harrison Rayne and Elliott Drake Rule. He later married the love of his life, Shannon Lee Fancher, on May 10, 2010, and gained a beautiful daughter who captured his heart named Lindsey Jeanne. They lived together at Richard’s forever dream home, The Fancy R Ranch. His second home and family was where he worked at The Ranch in Loveland. Richard’s love for life and people radiated through his smile and the genuine way he treated people. His magnetic personality touched everyone who knew him, and Richard’s secret to life was having fun. He worked hard and played hard. He loved his job, raising bucking bulls, team roping, trail riding, directing the rodeo, vacationing with family and friends, dancing, discussing politics, and quoting Blazing Saddles.

In a toast to Richard, Bob Tointon said he was the epitome of a cowboy. He never met a stranger, and never met anyone he did not like. When he came into a gathering of friends or family, the party started. His smile, his laugh, his stories were infectious, and everyone was his friend. Richard defined the term “carpe’ diem”, as he seemingly never had a bad day or even a down moment. He was everyone’s favorite Okie and we will all miss him greatly. Please drink a toast to our Cowboy — Jack and Coke naturally!

Richard is survived by his wife, Shannon Fancher of Loveland; sons, Harrison Rayne Rule and Elliott Drake Rule of Loveland; stepdaughter, Lindsey Jeanne Fancher-Owen of Loveland; mother, Celeste Nelson of Oklahoma City, brother, John (Dona Kay) Rule; sisters Suzanne Smith and Cindy Rule; and brother, Kevin Rule, all from Oklahoma; as well as a beloved extended family of nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles.

He is preceded in death by his father, George Rule; stepfather, Don Nelson; grandparents, John and Alfreda Leonard and Harrison and Martha Rule; Uncle, David Rule, Aunt Marcella Hendrix and best friends Terry Groce and Johnny Shea.

A Memorial Service for Richard was held on Aug. 23, 2017, in The Ranchway Indoor Arena at the fairgrounds in Loveland with a reception following. Carl Sutter officiated. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund at The family requests any tales from the trails please be sent to our email address at