Beau Mirchoff, Tiera Skovbye, And Nancy Travis Talk Training For Their Roles In Ride - Exclusive Interview

Hallmark's new series "Ride" is taking on the world of ranching in small-town Colorado. The show centers on the dangerous world of professional bull riding and the McMurray family as they deal with loss, financial hardship, and changes on the ranch. Nancy Travis stars as the McMurrays' matriarch, Isabel, looking out for her loved ones while trying to keep their family ranch afloat. Beau Mirchoff from "Good Trouble" plays Cash McMurray, an aspiring pro bull rider who is still figuring out his path. And Tierra Skovbye's character, Missy, married into the McMurray family only to struggle to find where she fits in, though her bond with her in-laws and impressive trick riding skills give her some support along the way.


Hallmark Channel is known for its holiday movies, but in recent years, the channel has also become must-watch television year-round. In an exclusive interview with The List, the stars of "Ride" opened up about the challenges of horseback and bull riding training, compared the experience to previous roles, and shared how they think fans will react to the new series.

The scenery was a highlight of the shoot

I really like the show so far. ... It teases some secrets, family drama, a lot of action on the bull. How did it compare to other projects you all had done previously and the demands that you faced as actors? 


Beau Mirchoff: The last thing I've been doing ["Good Trouble"] was centered around a courtroom, and that's the opposite of this. It gets stuffy and pretty mundane in a courtroom. There's only so many ways you can shoot it and so many objections you can have. Being out in the elements — rain, snow, or shine — with animals that do their own things was a really, really refreshing and cool experience.

Tiera Skovbye: The last thing I did, very much like that, was a medical drama where we were filming inside a soundstage with a built hospital, every day, all day long, going, "I guess we're filming in this room today, in this patient room tomorrow." Everything about the show was controlled, and so this [filming outside] very much added to that element of the show [being] very authentic. Whatever was happening was happening.


Nancy Travis: I did a sitcom for [the] last nine years, so this was [the] polar opposite of that, although that show was about a family, and this is also about a family. It was great. Again, we talk about the location all the time, being outside and the huge sky. It was beautiful. 

Did you shoot mostly in Colorado, where the series is meant to take place?

Travis: No. We shot in Calgary, Alberta, right at the base of the Rocky Mountains. That was incredible. You see the sun come up on those mountains covered with snow. We saw a little snapshot of all of the seasons in the four months that we were shooting there.

Mirchoff: I hate to say this, but the Rocky Mountains were to the west of us. The sun rises in the east. [The] sun set over the mountains.

Travis: Yes. ... Did I say sunrise? I meant sunset.

Skovbye: You could have called her out off-camera.

Travis: Yeah. My God.

Mirchoff: I'm sorry. I'm really sorry.

Skovbye: If we didn't know where Nancy was, you could see her at any point pointing her phone at the mountain, taking pictures.

So [the setting] helped you get into your characters, ranchers, people who are extremely invested in the land, would you say?

Skovbye: Yeah, for sure.


This project stands out for the cast

Nancy, as the mother figure bearing the weight of family responsibilities, you are protecting your kids and daughter-in-law when it comes to bull riding and losing the ranch — huge stakes there. How are you able to access your character's point of view?


Travis: Every actor craves big stakes, and it comes down to what are you willing to fight for and how are you going to fight for it and what matters. For Isabel, her family matters. Even though the ranch is her big focal point and passion in her life, and the family is very much a rodeo family, and that's a very big factor in their lives, she'd take a bullet for her family and will claw somebody's eyes out to protect them. That's what drives her.

Is that teasing some future potential fight scenes, any high-risk, life-or-death moments outside of the bullpen?

Travis: It was a rough drive getting here today. I'll say that.

Tiera, fans know you as Polly from "Riverdale" as well as your other projects, but this feels like a pretty big departure from that. What drew you to your character's story in "Ride"?


Skovbye: You're right. It is definitely a big departure from some of the other stuff I've done. [On] the last show that I did, my character was very much removed from her family and had actively, completely separated herself from it. So getting this script and getting to play somebody who has a lot of these very complex dynamics and these relationships and is dealing with grief and finding her place in the world and finding her voice, there was a lot to work with and a lot of things that were different. 

"Riverdale" was a bit more heightened reality and fantastical, and "Nurses" [had] completely different elements. So getting to play such a[n] authentic, real person was really easy because it felt real. Every part of it felt very grounded, which is not something that you can always say when playing a role.

Bull riding is no amateur task

Beau, as Cash, you're taking up the bull riding mantle for your family. I wanted to know about the stunt work [and] how much movement you had to learn for that role, if any.

Mirchoff: I got to spend a lot of time with one of Canada's best bull riders, Brock Radford. I basically ripped off everything from Brock, everything from the way he approaches the bull, to getting on it, to his wraps, to his breathing, how he nods his head when he wants the chute open, all of that.


With regards to prepping for that, a couple times, I didn't stretch. And if you go on the practice bulls ... I hurt my back a little bit. So stretching and getting used to those movements was all it took, because I didn't actually ride the bulls but sit on them, which was interesting in its own right.

Shout-out to the people who were riding the bulls. The stunts were intense.

Mirchoff: They're awesome. They're like fighter pilots of the land.

Tiera, did you end up doing some of your own stunt work? Or how did you learn about the trick riding?

Skovbye: I definitely didn't do any of the trick riding. That is an incredible skill that takes years and years and years to learn. I had an amazing stunt double who had been trick riding since she was a kid and is incredible. I learned how to ride a horse for it, and I did that, but any of the actual stunts and the trick riding stuff was definitely her. 


There's one little bit at the end where it looks like it's me, but it's me strapped to the back of a truck being driven around an arena, which is hilarious. ... I'm literally standing on the back of a pickup truck in a harness, and there's a camera on my face, and I'm like, "Yeah!"

The characters in Ride have a lot left to figure out

Beau, you've talked a bit about "Good Trouble" and playing a lawyer on that show. That character has it all together, but your character in "Ride" is still figuring things out a little bit. Did your preparation look different for these roles, or was there one that was more intuitive for you to play?


Mirchoff: I've been trying lately to make it all more intuitive. I used to be a lot more technical, but Jamie from "Good Trouble" is much more put together and confident, which is actually in its own right difficult to do because you don't always feel confident. 

Skovbye: And you're not very put together.

Mirchoff: Yeah. Sometimes I can be a very anxious person, so [playing Cash] gives you the okay to feel the bad stuff, which is nice. My prep is a lot of research into veterans and talk[ing] to some veterans, and what would that look like with his given circumstances? How would that feel with the tragedy and all this survivor's guilt? And then figuring out really what he wants. When you do all that emotional stuff, it's getting back to, what does he want, and then how does he get those things?


Is there anything that you want audiences to know before they sit down and watch "Ride"?

Travis: We are very excited about this project, and I think that audiences will love to be absorbed into this world and follow these people, and we hope that you join us.

"Ride" premieres on March 26 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on Hallmark Channel. 

This interview has been edited for clarity.