Friends remember rider killed in Tucson crash on his way to rodeo
QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. (3TV/CBS 5) — The East Valley is mourning the loss of a popular rider killed in a car crash nearly two weeks ago. Brian Bausch was not just a local celebrity, he was a national and world champion. He even auditioned for America’s Got Talent for his trick roper act. But those who really knew him will remember him for more than his tricks. “He did horse shooting, he did horse racing, he did horseback riding, rope and ranch rope. He was such a well rounded jumper,” said family friend Haley Portonova.
Despite his success, his friends say he always shared his wisdom. “Whether it’s life or driving, there’s always something you got out of that conversation,” Portonova said. “He just drew people to him like a magnet,” Charlie Hill said. Hill had known Brian for nine years, but he says that wasn’t long enough. “Brian was such an impactful person for everyone. He just built relationships in such a healthy way,” he said.
Brian’s life ended when soldiers said a car veered into his lane and swept his truck, causing him to knife himself and separate from his horse trailer on June 11. He leaves behind his pregnant wife and three children.
“Paula and Brian have been a big part of this riding community,” said family friend Jill Starkey. On July 16, Starkey and Portonova are hosting a memorial run with all proceeds going to Bausch’s family. The Queen Creek Barrel Racing Association is organizing the event and it will be held at Horseshoe Park in Queen Creek. The races start at 7 p.m. It’s an event full of all of Bausch’s favorite things. “Our riding community is very strong and it really shows an impact and brings everyone together,” Starkey said. Starkey hopes it’s a way to show that the community is hurting, but healing. “Very impactful for the community, for a very, very long time,” Hill said.
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