Spooner Rodeo Entertainment-2017



Kelly Kenney

Kelly Kenney was born in 1975 and raised in a small town in southwest Missouri with hard working, loving parents and two older brothers. Kenney credits his parents for allowing his dreams of becoming a cowboy to come true. He says, “Just now I realize how many sacrifices my family made to haul me to all of those high school rodeos. (We were) Living off of very little, but I never knew it, I felt I was the richest kid in the world.”

At an early age he learned to ride a stubborn little sorrel pony, and it wasn’t long before that experience developed into a love of rodeo. In high school, he learned how to rope and bulldog, and how to play guitar. He went to college on a rodeo scholarship. Soon officiating high school and college baseball and basketball, rodeoing, picking and singing consumed his life, leaving him with very little time for anything else. Then accidentally, in 1996. at a rodeo in his home town, the announcer didn’t show. Kenney reluctantly agreed to help. That night in November of ’96, he was “bitten by the entertainment bug,” as he puts it.

The next four years of Kenney’s life were jammed packed with excitement. He was announcing rodeos and competing hard all summer, officiating college baseball in the springtime, calling basketball games all winter and filling any otherwise vacant time slots with singing gigs. It didn’t take long for Kelly Kenney to realize his life was being consumed with work and travel, leaving little time for the things he loved at home - his family, hunting, fishing, and ranching.

In 2000 he became the head rodeo coaching position at Missouri Valley College in Marshall, MO. The next year Kenney was encouraged by his peers, students and family to pursue a career in the field that he had originally started years earlier, announcing rodeos. Kenney turned pro in 2001, resigned from the college in good standing, hung up his officiating uniforms and has never looked back.

Now Kenney announces PRCA Rodeos full time working approximately 30-40 events each year, traveling from Georgia to California and Texas to Montana. Last year he announced three Wisconsin rodeos, Spooner, Madison and Merrill. Despite his busy schedule all around the United States, last year, for example Kenney was able to fit in a fishing vacation in May and a hunting trip in November.

With a cow/calf operation at home, Kenney’s life remains full of responsibilities. Kenney says, “Now when rodeo season slows down in the fall, I get a chance to go hunting, pick with the band and auctioneer some sales. Most importantly, I get to truly enjoy my family.”

To find out more about Kelly Kenney, visit his website: http://www.kellykenney.com/index.html 


ENTERTAINMENT: John Payne "The One Armed Bandit"


Since 1988, John Payne has thrilled rodeo fans around the world. He rides a variety of good horses and mules in his full throttle exhibition of genuine cowboy skills with longhorn steers, buffalo and wild horses. Moving all these animals around an arena the show reaches its grand finale with all atop a custom stock trailer reflecting the excitement and true spirit of the west! 

Born in 1953, John Payne frew up on a ranch in Oklahoma.  With four brothers, he fould life wa a "Get tough or Die" situation.  Well, he died.  That was the day in 1972 that he was electrocted while working on the ranch.  Fortunately, he was revived - brought back from the dead.  Unfortunately, doctors had to remove his right arm because it was too damaged.  But he insisted they ot take his leg, too, so he could still ride his horse.  And what a rider he is!

In a way, his death gave birth to his potential to have a career as a rodeo performer.  His career has flourished over the years.  Recognized all over the professional rodeo world, he has been named fifteen times Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) "Specialty Act of the Year".

John Payne became a rodeo performer in 1986 after being in a related business where he rounded up wild cattle in the swamps of Florida.  Animals in the One Arm Bandit show today consist of Longhorn-Watusi Steers, Mustangs, Mules South Dakota Buffalo, and sometimes Blackmouth Cur dogs who have been his co-workers since his wild cattle days.  




RODEO CLOWN: Tim "Wild Thang" Lepard and "Team Ghostriders"

The Spooner Rodeo Committee is excited to welcome back the incomparable Tim “Wild Thang” Lepard  and his Team Ghost Riders, little Capuchin monkeys, riding border collies, and herding sheep. This is truly an act that you have to see to believe.  Tim began his rodeo career as a bull rider, winning the Mesquite Rodeo championship in 1988.  At that time, he was encouraged by the late, great bull riding champion Lane Frost and others to turn his talents to bull fighting and clowning as well. Fighting bulls was a bit of a natural progression, but it was also another often painful way to make a living, and Tim soon came up with his unique “team ghost” plan as a good alternative.  A member of the PRCA since 2004, Tim Lepard has been in rodeo for many years.  At the International Finals Rodeo, he has been named winner of "Comedy Act of the Year",  "Dress Act of the Year", and  "Barrel man of the Year.”  He is the only person to win all three awards in the same year.  He has also been featured on America's Funniest Home Videos, FHM Magazine, Sports Illustrated, make a wish foundation and had a scheduled appearance on the Jay Leno Show and Steve Harvey's "Big Show".  He has served on the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Stock Dog Association. Tim is excited to be returning to the Spooner Arena for the 64th Annual Heart of the North Rodeo!






COUNTRY MUSIC: Steele River Band

Formed in 2013 as "Big Country" this group went through a line up change early and emerged from the ashes as "Steele River Band". From the "Iron Range" of Northern Minnesota, Steele River Band is made from some of the best musicians that Minnesota has to offer. Founded by Patrick Thomas Steele II, or as we like to call him "PS2", this Kid has IT! Great vocals, good looks, and a knack for writing some fantastic country music! Next, is bass man extraordinaire Tony Schumacher. Tony, has played in many bands around Minnesota and is truly at home on the stage! The now found missing link to "Steele River Band", Tony truly can play it all! Hittin' the skins night in and night out is none other than the BEST drummer (our opinion) in Minnesota, Louie Scipioni! From worship team, the Hibbing High School Marching Band, and "Whiskey Johnson" Louie has earned his reputation as one of the best drummers on The Range! He is definitely the one who keeps the rest of us "grounded". Finally, the gun slinger! Ricky Halverson, a veteran of the Minnesota music scene, shreds the lead guitar and lays in some sweet vocals! From full time gigs to fill in work Ricky has honed a playing style all his own! These four make up the high energy, boot stompin', roof rockin' group that is "Steele River Band"!

Releasing their brand new EP "Party On! " in November of 2015, Steele River Band has been on a whirlwind tear to establish themselves as Minnesota's TOP Country Music Act. Steele River brings high energy and professionalism that can only be described as top notch! You do NOT want to miss out when these guys come to town! And always remember... "You can't threaten us, with a good time! "