RümpChät strikes funny bones

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Rodeo announcer Garrett Yerigan, left, visits with Justin Rumford and Josh Hilton during an episode of RümpChät this past December in Las Vegas. Rumford and Hilton are the faces of RümpChät, which has exploded in popularity.

Cinch comedic duo hits the right chords with entertaining podcast

Behind every rodeo story written, there are countless others that remain behind the chutes.

It’s beyond the arena lights – back where horse trailers with living quarters park and Gold Buckle Beer is passed out of tiny refrigerators and coolers – that some of the best stories are told and where they’re retold over time.

Justin Rumford and Josh “Hambone” Hilton grew up in rodeo and still make their livings in the game today. Rumford is a rodeo entertainer who has been named the PRCA Clown of the Year each of the last 10 seasons; Hilton is a two-time PRCA Music Director of the Year.

Together, they make up RümpChät, a podcast that tells the most interesting of those tales in ways that are entertaining, enlightening and downright hilarious.

“What makes it so easy is that it’s always just been us being us,” said Hilton, originally from the hamlet of Sidney, Iowa, in the state’s southwestern corner. “We barely do any, if at all, show prep; we just turn on the mics and go. We are just sitting in the trailer, having a drink and BSing. That’s what makes it natural.”

It’s conversational and fun, and it’s very popular.

“You don’t hear the real stories very often,” said Rumford, a third-generation cowboy from a stock-contracting family who has done just about everything in rodeo. “On the other podcasts, it’s not the real stories. Our stories go beyond the surface, where others don’t. We get a lot of cool people on our show.”

That’s just another aspect for the two men that are also Cinch endorsees. Their friendship began a decade and a half ago, before either considered the roles in rodeo that they have now. They were just trying to find their ways in the sport they love, and their personalities and passions intertwined with bucking broncs and bulldogging.

It’s those shared experiences that have been the guiding force behind RümpChät’s popularity … well, that and their large list of contracts within the rodeo industry. Their show has hosted rodeo legends like Joe Beaver and Bob Tallman and exposed Jacob Edler as the man to beat on the afternoon before he clinched the steer wrestling world championship Dec. 12, 2020.

“I wanted it to be exactly what it is; I just wanted it to be real,” Rumford said. “It’s me and Hambone talking like we normally talk. I don’t want anything to be fake. I feel like there are a lot of these podcasts where people want to step around the truth.

“I don’t want this to be exclusively for the rodeo crowd. I want it to be more for people involved in agriculture, people who are farmers and ranchers and blue-collar guys. We’re coming up on a million downloads in less than 100 episodes. I never thought it would get big. Now we get about 6,000 downloads a day. I really enjoy it.”

He should. What he says on the podcast are things he says in everyday life. It’s Rump being Rump while talking to a dear friend in Hambone, who is equally as funny. The guests are just an added benefit to the program and, boy, do they get some incredible guests.

“We just like to share our experiences and other peoples’ experiences,” said Hilton, who now lives in San Angelo, Texas, with his wife, Whitney, and their son, Gus; he is the rodeo manager for the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo. “The podcast is for people that don’t get to go to the rodeos ad listen to the rodeo stories from around the trailer. It’s fun to share that side of it and of our friends with the rodeo world, the Western sports world.

“We have full trust with each other. He’s done a few deals on his own because I was busy. He was making sure we had content out. RümpChät damn sure is not RümpChät without him, and he feels the same about me. We just have that trust, and we’re such good friends. We wouldn’t want to do it without each other.”

Each man points out, though, that it’s more than a two-man operation. Aaron Ferguson is a former bullfighter and entrepreneur who helped come up with the idea; Justin Jacobucci is a former bull rider who is now a graphic designer; and Ashley Rumford handles other duties for the RümpChät brand.

The enterprise is still growing. As the faces of RümpChät, Hilton and Rumford know the possibilities are endless.

“This is something that’s been good for me,” said Rumford, who lives in Ponca City, Oklahoma, with his wife and their three children, Livi, Lola and Bandy. “This could be something that I can do in my post-rodeo career that could keep me involved in rodeo.

“I want to do more RümpChäts. As much as I enjoy rodeo, if I could make this bigger so I could have more home time with my family, then it would be a good trade off. Our loyalty is to our families. When I want to be done rodeoing, and I don’t know when that’ll be, I want to have something like this so I can be around my family more but still involved in rodeo

That’s the hard part about rodeo; top personnel are sought-after and on the road a lot. When the triplets were younger, the Rumfords were on the trail together. With the kids in school, the opportunities to do that are fewer. Hilton is equally as busy; even though he has a full-time job in west Texas, he also hits the road many times throughout the year, and most of those are without his wife and young son.

That also makes it tougher to put together content. Earlier this year, the two took advantage of working the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver and recorded several episodes; they’ll do that throughout the year when they can. Technology has also allowed Rumford and Hilton to continue their podcast even when they’re not together, and that’s been good for everyone involved.

“The thing about rodeo is that guys are driving all the time, and they’re always looking for something to keep them entertained,” Rumford said. “There are so many of those rodeo guys that listen to RümpChät. When they start to listen, they start calling me and telling me they want to be on the podcast or that they know someone would be great to be on the podcast.

“That’s how we get a lot of our guests. When (five-time world champion steer wrestler) Luke Branquinho came to Denver two years ago from California, all they did was listen to RümpChät. They wanted to be on, because it is fun. You can tell your story, and we can all laugh about it.”

That’s the most common theme to RümpChät: The guests are funny, and they’re stories can be comedic, entertaining and always memorable.

“People get to see more of who we are,” Hilton said. “We’ve got to get some heart-warming stuff. We want to be natural. We get into conversations that are not comedy. We’re learning as we go.”

Still, nobody laughs more than the hosts. It’s part of what makes RümpChät so great.

“People just want a break away from their day, a break from stress,” he said. “People like to laugh, and people need to laugh. It’s just a natural experience.

“I love it because I’m just getting to laugh with my buddy. It’s funny listening to it just how many times we can get ourselves giggling. I’m like everyone else; I like being around him.”

That’s the true secret behind RümpChät’s success.


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