Rick grew up in Phoenix, graduated from Arizona State University, and interned at the Mesa Tribune. His first job was at the Tucson Citizen, where he covered UA football and basketball extensively, including the six NCAA tournaments. In 1995, he returned to Mesa as photo/graphics editor at the East Valley Tribune, where his staff covered the Super Bowl, the 2001 World Series, the NBA playoffs and two Fiesta Bowl national championships. He returned to Tucson in 2004 as the Daily Star's director of photography.