The world lost something big last week. And in that part of the world known as the American West, the loss looms even larger.
Dusty Richards died January 19 from lingering injuries suffered in a traffic accident. Dusty’s death means we’re short one of our finest Western writers, a long-time rodeo announcer, and a lively auctioneer. As if that weren’t enough to fill a lifetime, Dusty also had a successful career in agribusiness, taught school, and broadcast farm reports on television. He served as president of Western Writers of America and was founder and executive editor of Saddlebag Dispatches magazine. And 150 or so Western novels are filled with Dusty’s words. Some of those books have his name on the cover; many he wrote using other names.
Besides all that, and more important than any of it, Dusty was friendly, sociable, kind, and helpful to any- and everybody, anytime. You couldn’t begin to count the number of aspiring writers Dusty helped along the way with encouragement, advice, introductions, referrals, recommendations, and more. I count myself among those he helped, and couldn’t count on all my fingers and toes all the times he went out of his way to show me how to be a writer.
It bears mentioning that Pat, his wife and friend and constant companion, is also lost to us owing to the same accident. We can take comfort in the fact that they are back together after a brief time apart.
And we can rest assured knowing that Dusty is, at this very moment, no doubt bending the ear of Saint Peter—and anyone else within range of his big voice—with an engaging story about the West he loves.