Dusty Myers, from Jumpertown, Mississippi, has traveled the world entertaining crowds for several years now. He started fighting bulls at the age of thirteen and accomplished several awards in that sport.
Fast forward a few years, and Dusty decided to change hats in the world of rodeo, finding that entertainment was a far better prospect than being run down by two thousand pound bulls. Dusty’s trademark mix of old school slapstick comedy with a dash of mischievous male cheerleading has entertained audiences throughout the country.
In just a couple of years he has earned multiple awards in the "clowning" business, having worked the IFR (International Finals Rodeo) on 10 different occasions, SFR twice, NFPB Finals 3 times, CRRA finals, and every region finals the IPRA has to offer. His biggest achievement was being selected "clown of the year" 9 consecutive years.
Tim Lepard, is this year’s featured specialty act at the 85th John Deere Sunshine SWD Livestock Show & Rodeo. Tim is a rodeo junkie through and through. Since he was a young kid growing up in Pontotoc, Mississippi, rodeoing was all he really knew. As he neared high school, he was already conquering broncos and bulls. “I think it all started from the bottom,” said Lepard of his love for the rodeo. “I mean I started out riding bucking horses, then I started riding bulls, and I ended up clowning, because I wanted more of those bulls. They called me ‘Wild Thang’ because I had no fear. I’d run up to them bulls, let them hook me and throw me over. I just loved the adrenaline rush from the people and their reactions.”
Being involved in the rodeo lifestyle isn’t for the faint of heart and Lepard quickly found that out after accumulating numerous bumps and bruises during his early days, whether it was as a cowboy or a rodeo clown. “I had a guy come up to me one time,” Lepard said. “This was back in 1977, he told me ‘you aren’t going to last very long doing this. You better find something else.” So, instead of putting himself through the grind of being a rodeo clown all his life, Lepard started brainstorming.
From a young age, Lepard had a fascination with monkeys. He’d always wanted one, and he ended up getting his first Capuchin monkey during his high school days.“Reading Curious George books, playing with sock monkeys and all of that when I was a kid,” Lepard said. “That was my dream. My dream was to someday own a monkey.” After a bit of time, getting to know the in’s and out’s of what it’s like to have a monkey as a companion, he discovered something that caught his eye. Every once in a while, the monkey would climb onto the back of his dog at the time. It was a funny sight to see — an entertaining one even — and from there, an idea was born.
After doing some research on various dog breeds, Lepard discovered one of the smartest breeds was a Border Collie. He knew if this ‘Cowboy Monkey Rodeo’ idea was going to take off, he’d need not only a group of intelligent dogs, but a very well-trained group of intelligent dogs. “I wanted to learn everything I could about the Border Collie,” Lepard said. “I went over to England, Scotland and Wales to learn how to work the Border Collie’s. I just kept working these dogs, and learning as much as I could about them.
“The monkeys don’t deal with any growling or anything like that from the dogs, so it was important to get the right ones for this to have worked.” Well, eventually, it did work . Since the late 80’s, Lepard and his team of ‘ghost riders’ have traveled both nationally and internationally, performing anywhere from hometown rodeos to sold-out arenas. I’ve been averaging around 30 minor league baseball games over the last 13 years, and there’s thousands of videos out there calling us the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo. I prefer to call them the ghost riders, because of a little old lady that came up to me one time and told me the monkeys looked like little ghosts riding on the back of the dogs. From then on, to me, they were the ghost riders.”
“I’ve been asked when I think I’m going to retire numerous times,” Lepard said. “And you never really think about it. This has been my life for so long. I didn’t choose to be in this life, it just kind of happened, and I went with it. As far as deciding on retirement, I honestly hope the night before I die, I was performing at a rodeo. I don’t want to be in an old folks home. I don’t want to go out suffering.”
Barry A Roach Brooke A. Roach Larry Roach III Michael H. Schwartzberg
Venture Global LNG presents the Finale Pre-Show, featuring live music by the nationally recognized BARBE HIGH ROCK BAND-The Last Hour, set to kick off the Saturday night, Feb. 3 performance at 6:45p.m. The band is comprised of members who auditioned in August of 2023 to win a place in the esteemed group. The band performs not only throughout Southwest Louisiana, but at events across the USA. They were recently named champions of the Dallas Zoo Lights Festival band battle. The Barbe Rock Band students, pictured above include:
Top Row L-R: Declan Sutton-Jr/vocals, Katelynn Newman-Jr/vocals, Reese Manuel-Jr/vocals, Beau Augustine-Jr/drums, Anna Robertson Soph/vocals, Parker Sonnier-Fresh/guitar/vocals
Second Row: Mila Alcantara-Jr/vocals, Zach Lambert-Sr/guitar/vocals, Kaitlyn Greenlee-Sr/vocals, Elise Ford-Sr/bass/vocals
Floor: Gabriel Grice-Soph/vocals, Fisher Cooley-Jr/guitar/vocals
Bottom Right photos: Nicholas Betancurt-Sr/guitar, Dawn Scalisi-Jr/Bass/Fiddle/vocals
BARBE H.S. ROCK BAND
"THE LAST HOUR"
The Wild Thang -TIM LEPARD
And his "Cowboy Monkeys & Border Collies
TOP-5 NATIONAL RODEO CLOWN
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