Road to the Horse 2018 will be hosted by:
Born and raised in northeast Oklahoma, Matt West has always been fascinated with the cowboy lifestyle. After receiving a degree in agriculture from Northeast Oklahoma A&M and then attending Oklahoma State University, it was a dare that put Matt behind the microphone for the very first time. Since that time he has made a career out of announcing professionally and with his unique style and the blessings of some of the industry’s top professionals, he continues climbing the ladder of success. Beginning his career in amateur rodeo, West has since earned his PRCA card and continues to work various PBR events across the country and even in Canada. It’s his strong faith and continued family support that West credits for his quick success, but also notes that it’s his extended “rodeo family” and new friends he has the opportunity to meet along the way that keep him traveling and doing what he loves to do. Road to the Horse 2018 will mark West’s sixth year as the Host of Road to the Horse.
On top of the scheduled on-the-edge-of-your-seat World Championship of Colt Starting action, fans at will enjoy these entertainers:
John S. Payne, the notorious One Arm Bandit, was born to a rancher in the oil rich town of Shidler, Oklahoma on April 19, 1953. Ranch life with four brothers taught John to “Get out of the way or get run over.”
On June 12, 1973, while tearing a house down for his dad and thinking the electricity had been shut off, John climbed an electric pole to cut some wires. Problem was, he was wrong about the status of the wires, and 7,200 volts of electricity ran through his entire body for an unbearable 10 seconds. John remembers the electrocution clearly. He tried to release his grip, but could not. It burnt through his fingers on his right hand and he plunged 25 feet. The electricity grounded to the pole through his abdomen, leaving his intestines protruding. The voltage had also burnt his left thigh, exposing his thighbone from his knee. The doctors wanted to cut off John’s left leg but he told them, “I can’t ride a horse with one leg, and if I can’t ride a horse I don’t want to live.” The doctors did, however, cut off his right arm below his shoulder. After 5 weeks in the Tulsa Burn Center, John checked himself out and went home to start breaking a horse he had bought while in the hospital.
In 1975 John took a liking to Judy Crabtree and they married. John and Judy are now responsible for what is the most sought after gang in the rodeo world today, The One Arm Bandit Gang. The One Arm Bandit & Company has won the prestigious title of PRCA “Specialty Act of the Year” an unprecedented 12 times. Learn more at www.theonearmbandit.net.
Meet Holly Spears
Nashville Recording Artist, now based out of Northern, KY, Holly Spears is a small-town girl with big dreams. Her new single, Farm Girl recently reached #10 on New Music weekly’s Country Internet Chart and #10 on the NMW Main Country Chart. Spears has also reached #6 on the NMW Country Top 30 Indie Artists. Not bad for an Indie Artist who owns her own record label, Girl on a Mission Music, LLC.
Holly found her way into acting in a Western movie called Nail 32. She landed 5 songs in Nail 32. You can also find 5 of Holly’s songs in a movie called, Virtuous, that stars Erik Estrada. Holly has had 2 songs in TV commercials and several television music videos. You can also find many of her music videos on YouTube, including her John Denver cover of Country Roads, which is on its way to reaching 100,000 views. Make sure to check out her Farm Girl, Cowboy up, and Sunshine videos to see her horse, Pretty Girl. Holly Spears loves sharing her industry knowledge with the music students she builds into via the web or in her studio in Northern Kentucky. You can find her albums Boots and Bling, Heartache to Hope, Audience of One, The Songs of Christmas and Redemption Road, as well as her new single, Farm Girl on iTunes, her website and at her live shows. Keep up with Holly and her musical journey on www.hollyspears.com , Facebook @HollySpearsFanPage and Instagram under holly.spears.
Meet Epp Mevin Walls
Epp Mevin Walls is an award winning Christian country Singer/Songwriter with NewStep Records and co-founder along with wife Kathleen Walls of EMW Music Ministries.
Epp’s style of music is a driving new country/country rock sound, upbeat with a positive uplifting message. Epp and Kathleen travel extensively throughout the year sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ through music and personal testimonies, at many different events and venues such as Church Worship Services, special events, benefit concerts, festivals, retreats, and revivals. Epp and Kathleen also conduct Cowboy Church Services for rodeos and horse shows, IBRA events (International Barrel Racers Association) and the PBR.
Epp loves to share his music at Celebrate Recovery programs using his own personal testimony to encourage and support those who have decided to take that step which can change their lives forever. Epp has written three full length CDs, one which was awarded CGM Country Gospel Music Album of the Year in 2013. Epp has penned six #1 songs, as well as several top ten and top forty songs.
Epp and Kathleen live on a beautiful 130 Acre horse farm in Central Kentucky where they love living the country lifestyle and spending time with their horses and dogs as well as two very spoiled barn cats! Music is available on all the major music distributors online or go to www.eppmevinwalls.com.
Whispery Pines Percherons
Sam and Kellie Rettinger, owners of Whispery Pines Percherons in Kingsville, Ohio, have been involved in the equine industry for their entire lives. Sam Rettinger grew up with draft horses and began driving and showing them at a young age. In addition to showing, Sam currently trains their horses to work at the couple’s farm and complete logging projects. Kellie Rettinger grew up riding and showing Quarter Horses in hunt seat, western pleasure, gaming, and cutting. After meeting Sam more than 13 years ago, she began to drive, ride, and show draft horses in saddle seat, western pleasure and Roman riding classes with Sam. The Rettingers bring their horses to several events each year to show in different hitch and riding classes. They also provide carriage rides with their Percherons for a variety of events including weddings, birthdays, hay rides, and winter sleigh rides. Learn more at www.WhisperyPines.com.
Special Appearances by:
Meet Craig Cameron…
Craig Cameron grew up dreaming of being a cowboy. Although he went to school in Houston, Texas, his family always owned and operated cattle ranches in Texas where Craig’s heart and soul seemed most at home. With a natural love of horses, Cameron started taking local horses from people who were having “horse problems”. He took a slower, more natural approach that seemed to work. Now Cameron performs his magic on a regular basis to enthusiastic horse owners, not only on the road where he travels almost 80,000 miles a year, but also as a regular clinician on RFD-TV. Cameron’s two shows, Ride Smart and the wildly popular, award-winning Extreme Cowboy Race, have brought him even more notoriety in the horse industry. Cameron still starts hundreds of colts and teaches hundreds of classes each year, coast to coast. In 2010, Cameron claimed a World Championship of Colt Starting title at Road to the Horse. Craig Cameron may have grown up dreaming to be a cowboy, but with his induction into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, people now will always say, “He didn’t just dream it, he lived it.” Learn more at www.CraigCameron.com.
Meet Trevor Carter…
Trevor loves most to be working, roping and branding cattle in addition to developing bridle horses and competing in cow horse events. Growing up in Texas, Trevor always wanted to be a master horseman and a cowboy. To do that, Carter made an effort to learn directly from legends like Ray Hunt, Pat Parelli, Martin Black, Buck Branaman, Jack Brainard and Darren Simpkins.
Trevor and his wife Tara currently live in Clovis, NM with their toddler son, William. They raise, develop, and compete on their own horses, and train for the public. Not only do they travel all over the world to teach horsemanship clinics, they also open their ranch to dedicated students seeking to improve their own skills through an unparalleled horsemanship experience.
Trevor Carter competed as a Wild Card at Road to the Horse 2014 and Road to the Horse 2015. In the 2014 Wild Card competition, Trevor finished in fourth place behind Sean Patrick, Mary Kitzmiller and Wild Card Champion Jim Anderson. Trevor carter captured the Road to the Horse 2015 Wild Card title and made his way into the round pen as a competitor. Learn more at www.CarterRanchHorse.com.
Antoine was born in Geneva, Switzerland. He started a career as a semi-professional ice hockey player at age 16 along with riding horses part time, but was not entirely satisfied by the kind of horsemanship he was exposed to. During a trip to Wyoming in 1996, he participated in a Bryan Neubert and Buck Brannaman clinic that started a strong desire to learn this kind of horsemanship. He quit playing hockey and spent a lot of time in the US learning with different people like Destry Campbell, Richard Winters and Mindy Bower, but spent most of his time with Martin Black. Having a passion for horse cultures of the world, where people and horses still share their days working together with cattle, Antoine also traveled, studied and worked in Australia, Argentina and Brazil. When he came back to Europe he was one of the first to attempt to promote and encourage people to discover a different kind of horsemanship. This included the traditions of the vaqueros and working and training horses with cattle. A way different approach than what is common in a dressage/ jumping stronghold like in Switzerland!
In 2003 he translated Tom Dorrance’s book into French and since 2004 has been organizing clinics with Frank Dominguez, Martin and Wade Black in France and Switzerland. He also brings groups of riders to the US for ranch experiences. He now lives in Geneva, Switzerland were he starts colts and trains horses for polo, racing, jumping, dressage and other disciplines with is wife, Maud. Antoine Cloux competed at Road to the Horse 2014, and was our first competitor from Switzerland.
As a child Mike Kevil rode horses for leisure, and it wasn’t until his high school years that this pastime took a new direction. He headed to Colorado where he worked, and developed what he calls the “foundation of his training.” Riding and handling a variety of horses showed Mike that nothing compares to a hands-on experience. He began working with Gene LaCroix, an Arabian horse trainer, who refined his fundamentals further, teaching Mike about timing and feel, softness and pressure and giving a reason to everything you do. He was also fortunate to have worked for some of the great cutting horse trainers, Don Dodge, Shorty Freeman and Matlock Rose.
For 40 years Mike has developed his own training practices that include patience, consistency and understanding the horse. Before the modern day term “Horse Whisperer” Mike was a master of this art. Today, he has numerous horses in his training program and a full waiting list. Although he admits that he does not get hung up on terms such as “Horse Whisperer,” he continually strives to become a “good hand.” Mike is the noted author of “Starting Colts, a Western Horseman Book” and its DVD counterparts, “Starting Colts” volumes one and two available through Western Horseman.
Mike Kevil was a Road to the Horse competitor in 2008 and then returned as a judge from 2012 to 2015.