Sponsored by Essentia Health - Spooner Clinic
Jessica Blair and Madison McDonald are among the brightest of pro rodeo’s stars in trick and fancy riding today, and Spooner Rodeo is tremendously proud to have them performing here for you this year.
Jessica Blair was raised on her family’s East Tennessee beef cattle farm, so she has been around horses and cattle all of her life. But she is the first of her family to be drawn to performing in rodeos. She was just a teenager when she saw a trick and fancy rider and began dreaming of making that her profession. While a student at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Jessica became a lead performer in Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede at Pigeon Forge. There she was able to perfect her skills before training her own horse and going out to perform on her own. In addition to trick riding, blonde-haired Jessica is also a roman rider. After graduating from the University, she earned her PRCA card in 2011 and now travels all over the United States with her team of grey quarter horses, Moose and Goose.
Madison McDonald might be called a pro rodeo triple since she is not only a trick and fancy rider but also competes in two regular events as well, team roping and barrel racing, when not engaged as a performer. Just 21 years old, Madison is certainly a rodeo veteran. She has been pursuing her lifelong dream of being a professional trick rider for the past 13 years! She has performed across Canada and the United States during her career. For the past three consecutive years, Madison has been invited to perform at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. Besides successfully pursuing her pro rodeo career, she is also currently attending Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, where she is enrolled in business administration.
Sponsored by Johnson Bank - Spooner
Gizmo McCracken has been supplying belly laughs and loud guffaws to rodeo crowds across our nation for many years. If you have seen him here at Spooner Rodeo before, you know what to expect, unsurpassed laughter and fun for the entire family. If you are not familiar with the comedic style of this rodeo clown extraordinaire, then you are in for the comedy time of your life this year at the 2014 Spooner Rodeo. Who else, for example, but Gizmo McCracken would wrestle a grouchy, old ’gator in a rodeo arena?
Gizmo became a member of the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) in 1992. Since that time his list of accomplishments has never stopped growing. He has worked 11 PRCA Circuit Finals Rodeos, including our own Great Lakes Circuit Finals in 1994, 1996, 2000, and 2001. He performed, too, at the Dodge National Circuit Finals in 2006, and at Cheyenne Frontier Days twice, 2001 and 2002.
In 2002 and 2005, he was nominated for Comedy Act of the Year. He lists his biggest accomplishment as being a feature act at the 2005 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Gizmo takes pride in the fact that his humor is good, clean, family style comedy. "Sometimes it just doesn't seem right to have this much fun and get paid for it," he says. To entertain fans everywhere, Gizmo has traveled from Canada to Texas and from America’s East Coast to the West Coast, logging some 45,000 miles a year through dozens of states. Gizmo started his career as bullfighter and moved into stand-up comedy on a show in Branson, MO.
"A lot of Clowns and Specialty Acts sell themselves with a bucking car or a dancing horse." said Gizmo "I supply a Character." And that is just what Gizmo is - many Characters who will find their way into your town, your rodeo arena, and your favorite memories.
"I like to keep people looking for me and wondering what I am going to do next," said Gizmo.
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.”
The Michael D. Band is a nationally touring independent country band based out of Lexington, Kentucky. Playing over 200 shows a year, the band has performed from Portland, OR to Key West, FL and everywhere in between. Focused on their high-energy stage show and multipart harmonies, they have gained a large and faithful fan base through constant touring over the past several years.
The Michael D. Band has performed several shows for the Professional Bull Riders, Inc. Tour including the World Championships in Las Vegas, NV the past two years and has become a staple band at PBR events. They have performed with numerous nationally touring Country and Rock & Roll acts over the past few years, and play at several fairs and festivals throughout the United States.
The band’s album, “ROWDY” is a driving and edgy record with breakout songs, “Thinkin’ About You” and “Let’s Get Rowdy”, along with a fan-favorite “Black Dress.” This year the Band has been working on a new album. It may be ready by Spooner Rodeo time, for sale there and online. The Band is already playing the new songs from the album in their shows. This next record will have a more eclectic and modern sound to it.
With aggressive lead guitars and a rock solid rhythm section, the Band’s energetic performances appeal to audiences young and old. With captivating lyrics, extraordinary harmonies and driving grooves, The Michael D. Band delivers a unique show fusing country and rock in an innovative way, which excites the crowd and leaves them screaming for more MDB features Michael Diekhoff on rhythm guitar, mandolin and vocals; Kevin Rawlings on lead guitar and vocals, and Josh Watson on bass guitar and vocals. The newest member of the Michael D. Band is drummer/vocalist Steve Richmond. Having toured with “Exile” for 10 years, he brings new energy to the Michael D. Band with his rock solid groove and seemingly unlimited vocal range.
learn more about them, see their website at: