Culture / Entertainment

Yellowstone Star Cole Hauser Shows Off His Dance Moves, Tells All and Thrills VIPs at Ben Berg’s Houston Rodeo Ranch

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BY // 03.17.23

Unless you were an ardent fan of Yellowstone, you might have initially missed Cole Hauser, who plays the popular Rip Wheeler in Paramount Network’s blockbuster hit as he rollicked through The Ranch Saloon + Steakhouse at RodeoHouston on a recent late night. That was until he started dancing and then took the stage to sing along with the Kurt Van Meter Band, the star’s favorite group.

It was his second landing at The Ranch. The previous afternoon, Hauser was the focus of a Q&A with renowned auctioneer Pat Tully, who tossed questions submitted by a well-heeled audience of Yellowstone fans who paid a pretty penny for the privilege. Same for the nighttime romp in a VIP corral in one corner of The Ranch where guests schmoozed with Hauser after having their professional photos taken with him.

The affable Hauser, all smiles, also visited the sleek rodeo encampment kitchen where he thrilled the cooks and wait staff posing for one massive photo with the beaming throng. And then there was two-stepping shoulder to shoulder on the dance floor

Hauser’s visit was highlight of Berg Hospitality Group‘s second season with The Ranch Saloon + Steakhouse, a chichi outpost of  Berg’s B&B Butchers and Restaurant at RodeoHouston.

“This is the second time we’ve had The Ranch and I like to elevate the experience,” restaurant maestro Ben Berg told the afternoon gathering. “I like to elevate the experiences. The rodeo’s done so much for Texas, for Houston and even for my company and my family. So this is something to add to the experience.

Berg presented Hauser with smartly tailored suede vest emblazoned with The Ranch logo.

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Key to Hauser’s rodeo visit was his role as star guest last fall at the PetSet gala. Glamorous Tama Lundquist and Tena Lundquist Faust, co-presidents of PetSet, bonded with Hauser on that visit and suggested to his people that the  Houston Rodeo would be perfect for his personal brand.

When answering a question about his philanthropy, Hauser pointed to the identical twins in primo seating and referred to PetSet saying, “I love that organization. I’ll be back for that.” The ladies fairly swooned.

Cole Hauser, Ben Berg, Berg Hospitality, Yellowstone
Cole Hauser, Yellowstone’s Rip Wheeler, accepts a B&B The Ranch suede vest from restaurateur Ben Berg. (Photo by Jacob Power)

Some Questions With Cole Hauser

Pat Tully: How did you audition for the role of Rip Wheeler?

Cole Hauser: No audition. Taylor Sheridan (Yellowstone writer and executive producer) is a huge fan of mine and John Linson (Yellowstone executive producer) is a friend of mine and helped create and they came to me and asked if I would be interested in doing it and obviously Rip was the one and only.

Pat Tully: What do you enjoy most about playing Rip?

Cole Hauser: I enjoy every part of him. One of the things that makes him great is his loyalty. His love for Beth. Taylor (Sheridan) and I have created a throwback to the modern American male.

PT: Do you do your own stunts or do you have a stunt man?

CH: Why do you think I’m walking around this way? Ive never had a stunt man on the show, but I think the guys in the rodeo are a little tougher.

PT: What do you like most about this role?

CH: My office is the most beautiful office in the world — Montana.

PT: How does your wife like your role, this beard?

CH: She likes it when I come home. She feels like she’s cheating on me a little bit. The first couple of days, it’s like ‘I don’t recognize you’ and then I shave it the beard off and she’s bored again of me.

PT: What do you like to do in your time off

CH: I travel the world. That’s my favorite thing to do. I’m actually taking my family to Italy next week. And I’m gonna enjoy taking my kids there. Anytime I’m not working, I’m traveling.

137_RanchAfterDark_JPP (1)
The Kurt Van Meter band at The Ranch Saloon — Steakhouse at Rodeo Houston where Cole Hauser joined in singing on stage.

Rip Wheeler On Giving Back

For the afternoon event, Hauser wore a Tunnels To Towers Foundation cap in honor of a nonprofit that supports veterans and first responders He serves on the board of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and he mentioned Wounded Warriors in his comments. He explained that his grandfather, who served as a Marine in Iwo Jima, on his deathbed asked Hauser to support disabled veterans.

Hauser began doing that at age 18 by visiting Walter Reed Hospital at the time when veterans from Iraq were getting health care there. Today, he uses his notoriety to support organizations that aid veterans.

“These are wonderful organizations,” Hauser says. “And if you guys ever get a chance to support them, please do.”

With that, Tully launched into a live auction of a weekend on the Yellowstone set. The package sold to two Houstonians for $32,000 each, earning $74,000 for Tunnels to Towers.

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