Richard Fipps

The tale of a con

Tired and dusty the cowboy rides his noble horse across the desert. From the arid plains of Arizona, through the deserts of the southwest and into the Rocky Mountains. Miles of wide open range greet the solitary traveler in Big Sky country. And all for a good cause... helping feed children who might otherwise go hungry. A noble cause indeed.... if only the cowboy had been so noble.

The tale of Richard Fipps' con goes back several years. In the late 1980's Fipps was convicted of armed burglary, a conviction he appealed on the basis that Fipps didn't carry the rifle with him while committing the burglary. Florida's appeals court found the facts fit the crime of armed burglary and that the minimum sentence would stand.

While in prison Fipps changed his name to Richard Handy, a moniker he'd keep for several years before changing it back to Fipps several years later. In the meantime Fipps didn't stay out of trouble with the law. Another conviction came in 1993, this time for stealing horses.

The would-be horseback con

The Long Rider's Guild has a story about Richard Fipps. Fipps came to the attention of Nevada authorities earlier this year when his supposed charitable ride was exposed as a hoax. We'd written about it here and began talking with the Guild to put together all the information we could. In the end it is a very sad tale of a felon spinning a story of an old-west cowboy working to help kids when in reality it was a horse and car stealing armed burglar in court on domestic violence charges when he was supposedly riding the wide open range.

Monday we'll have more about how the sloppy journalism of newspapers who failed in every aspect of fact checking helped this con man to ply his trade anew with more victims taken in.

Cowboy faker

The amazing tales of Richard Fipps continue to unfold. In the coming week we'll have a lot more to say about the so-called cowboy who faked a charitable ride this summer and took advantage of several people's good will in the process.

Please feel free to comment if you have information about Fipps or Richard Handy. If you would prefer your comment not be posted indicate that in the body of the comment and if you wouldn't mind talking to a member of the team investigating these tales and documenting the truth.

One fraud or two?

That Richard Fipps made up the tale of his ride from Mexico to Canada earlier this year has been well established. Along with neighbor's accounts of Fipps at his Las Vegas home during the supposed trip the Las Vegas Sun reported last week that the owner of the stable where Fipps' horses are stabled stated they hadn't been gone for more than a long weekend during the ride.

Three years ago Fipps also claimed to have made an epic trip. Much of the documentation of that trip has disappeared from the web but The Cullman Times has an article from the following summer with extensive quotes from Fipps.

When he reached Colorado, Fipps had decided to rest a couple of days and enter a rodeo. He ended up winning the rodeo and staying for a week.

He helped a local rancher push cattle. He helped a patrol officer herd escaped cattle off a road.

When he neared Grand Junction, Colo., Fipps experienced the only scary part of the trip.

"I had packed for four days and told my rig to go on ahead of me, I'd meet it in Grand Junction," he said, planning to ride across some mountains.

Riding for the Children trail diary

This is the compiled trail diary from July 16, 2002 to July 26, 2002 for Riding for the Children as published on

Trail Diary - July 26, 2002 - Vernal, Utah - The Ride Ends!

Riding for the Children's Richard Fipps and other riders rode into Vernal, Utah to complete his 1,900 mile ride to bring awareness to the problem of hungry children in America, today, about noon amidst a flurry of reporters, cameras and cheering well-wishers.

Every restaurant offered food, there were endless celebrations planned, radio interviews and from Richard, relief that the ride was finally through and the satisfaction that he had filled food banks in many, many towns across the country and that there were children who were being fed a hot meal.

He wishes to thank everyone who contributed in any way to making this ride a huge success and a special thanks to all his sponsors.

He is already talking about making another ride so if you regretted not saddling up and riding with him you will need to keep checking with us as we plan a date and a route.

Trail Diary - July 25, 2002 - Jenson, Utah

Raised lots of food in Rangely yesterday and donated back to the Rangely Food Pantry. Rode into Jenson, Utah today, crossing the Utah line. Crossed the Green River (very dry and just a stream due to the drought) and followed it for a ways. Rode to the welcome center at Jenson and stopped there for cold drinks.

Cowboy or crook?

KNPR has a report suggesting there may be something fishy up with Richard Fipps' Cowboys Helping Kids. The report cites a neighbor who reports that Fipps was at home in North Las Vegas on June 28 when the website chronicling his trip says he was in Montana. The site above doesn't ring true to me but I'm hard pressed to find exact problems. All of the entries do seem vague and very general. There is a lot of emphasis placed on reaching Ely and then no mention of being in the town. It's odd.

"It's a sad thing that one person can try to do something good for someone and somebody has to be negative about the intentions," Fipps says on the site explaining the early end to his trip. But the sentence comes from nowhere, out of the blue. Though it did come a few days after Fipps was contacted by a reporter inquiring about the story.

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