Lifestyles, June 2012

Welcome to the premiere of CEM’s new feature, Lifestyles! In this section, we highlight the unique traits, talents and hobbies, and extraordinary passions of industry professionals.

Rick Gardner, AIA
Hnedak Bobo Group

Hobby: I used to play a lot of golf; that seems a distant memory! Now, I am a gardener.

Description: A landscape architect friend once told me you can only find Japanese gardens in Japan—so I have created a garden in Memphis “inspired” by Japanese garden design! My home is a classic mid-century modern, more typical in a California location than Memphis. The garden creates a perfect and stylistically compatible partner to the home, with an inside-outside relationship reinforced by views through floor-to-ceiling glass walls. The garden has evolved over 18 years, and is never exactly the same from one year to the next. With help from my wife, I have planted every plant, built every timber and stone wall, rolled boulders, built decks and tended to the garden myself. I hire someone else to mow and edge the grass—I hate that!

What attracted you to it? It is a physical and creative outlet that offers time for personal reflection. In a classic sense, it is about the creating, not about the result.

How long have you been doing it? 18 years

How often do you do it? It is a year-round effort; the garden takes on a different personality through the seasons. The spring season brings the greatest demand for time and effort and represents the next stage of evolution and opportunity to create.

How do people react to your hobby? It always creates a surprise for someone seeing the house and garden for the first time. Everything is concealed from the street, so it becomes a discovery.

What’s the best part of it? This is one hobby that I can enjoy for a lifetime.

Karl Rutledge, in yellow, distracts a bull during a rodeo.
Karl Rutledge, in yellow, distracts a bull during a rodeo.
Karl Rutledge
Lewis and Roca

Hobby: My “talent” is a resume with some unordinary work experience. Prior to becoming a lawyer, I ranched, with the weekend hobby of being a rodeo clown/bullfighter.

Description: Basically, the job of a rodeo clown is to protect a fallen rider from the bull, whether the rider has been bucked off or jumped off. By distracting the bull and appearing to be the more vulnerable target, you provide an alternative target for the bull to attack, thereby, protecting the rider. In essence, you throw your body into the line of fire for a new rider you have never met before anywhere between 15 to 30 times a night.

What attracted you to it? I grew up on a farm/ranch and always enjoyed working outside and being around livestock. One night my family was watching a rodeo on TV, and I told them I wanted to be a bull rider. Being incredibly accommodating and understanding my craziness, my family supported me from the beginning. I traveled as a bull rider for a while but quickly realized eight seconds of adrenaline wasn’t enough (especially since I only lasted about three) and decided to become a rodeo clown.

How often do you do it? Since moving to Las Vegas, doing the adult thing of going to law school and getting “a real job,” my days of dodging bulls has been put to rest (for the time being!). I still get the itch, and undoubtedly the day will come when I show up at the firm on a Monday morning with some part of my body in a cast or sling after a weekend of rodeoing. Additionally, my wife and I are trying to start our own ranch with the hopes of raising bucking stock for when I’m too old to even dream about stepping into the arena again.

How do people react to your hobby? People typically first react to me by calling me crazy or stupid. And then by the time they actually discover my past profession, they really think I’m out there. In seriousness, it is typically a three-stage process of being puzzled, momentarily upset and finally intrigued.

When someone first hears about my background, they do a double take. Running the scenario by them one more time, they then look at me as if I’m, in some way, hurting those poor bulls. After much discussion and finally convincing them that I did not compete in that style of bullfighting, and the only thing ever getting injured was me, they become eager to hear stories about my wrecks and injuries. Somehow the thought of me injuring a 1,800-pound bull mortifies them but when they find out I was the one being injured, they can’t get enough of it.

What’s the best part of it? I’ll always remember sitting outside my car after a rodeo in Billings, Mont., and being approached by a couple. They noted that I saved their teenage son from a bull that day, said thanks, shook my hand and then went along with their day. While I didn’t do anything that any other person would not have done in that situation, it was nice to know that I helped them that day.

What else would you like to add? Do the things you enjoy in life while you can. The day will eventually come when you will no longer be able to do them, and it will be far more enjoyable to think back on the fond memories of the things you did instead of the “what ifs” and “might have beens.”

Leave a Comment