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2019 Specialty Acts & Personalities

Dana Bowman

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Dana Bowman has astounded the nation and the world with his drive, determination, and will to succeed. He is a retired Sergeant First Class with the U.S. Army where he was a Special Forces Soldier and a member of the U.S. Army’s elite parachute team, the Golden Knights. Dana Bowman is a double amputee. He lost his legs in an accident during the annual Golden Knights training in Yuma, Arizona, in 1994.

On February 6,1994, Bowman gained worldwide attention when he and his teammate Sgt. Jose Aguillon collided in midair during the team’s annual training.

Bowman and Aguillon were practicing a maneuver known as the Diamond Track. The maneuver calls for the jumpers to streak away from each other for about a mile and then turn 180 degrees and fly back toward each other crisscrossing in the sky. Bowman and Aguillon had demonstrated the Diamond Track more than fifty times without a mistake, but this time was different.

Rather than crisscrossing, the two skydivers slammed into each other at a combined speed of 300 miles per hour. Aguillon died instantly. Bowman’s legs were severed from his body, one above the knee and one below the knee. Bowman’s parachute opened on impact. He was taken to a hospital in Phoenix where doctors closed his leg wounds and stopped his internal bleeding.

Nine months later, he turned this tragedy into a triumph when he became the first double amputee to re-enlist in the United States Army. Bowman re-enlisted in the United States Army airborne style, skydiving with his commander into the ceremony, making his dream a reality. This achievement is just one example of Bowman’s many successes under adverse circumstances. After Dana’s re-enlistment, he became the U.S. Parachute Team’s lead speaker and recruiting commander. Dana has been fortunate to have the opportunity to let his speeches touch so many from the physically challenged to the able-bodied. He strives to show physically challenged people can still work and excel in today’s society and military. Dana emphasizes the words amputee and uselessness are not synonymous.

The One Arm Bandit & Company

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12 Time Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association “Specialty Act of the Year”

John Payne always loved working with horses, but never could have imagined a devastating accident that almost took his life would transform him into the one arm bandit While working on a construction site, John accidentally connected with 7,200 volts of electricity and was technically dead for about 5 minutes. The quick thinking of a friend and full throttle resuscitation efforts brought him back to a conscious state, but John was so seriously hurt that his survival was uncertain. While John had suffered serious burns, there was no brain damage and his determined attitude was also completely intact. Although his right arm was amputated, he would not tolerate the loss of his left leg since he would not be able to ride a horse in a rodeo or anyplace else with only one leg.

While still in the hospital, John Payne purchased an untrained horse and began working with it as soon as he was released. This was a strong indication that he had the will to continue the life he loved, and his can-do attitude was key in the formation of One Arm Bandit & Company. John’s attitude had always been that it takes determination, drive and a good amount of sheer nerve to excel in the field of choice. It would seem that considering physical limitations that would have side-lined most men, John Payne was not lacking in any of these attributes.

John Payne and Judy Crabtree were married in 1975, and a son and daughter joined the family within 3 years. Both Lynn and Amanda began riding horses at a very early age and have followed in their fearless father’s footsteps. John and both his children are on the “most wanted list” of performers at rodeos and other venues attended by horse lovers.

The PRCA has recognized the One Arm Bandit & Company as the Specialty Act of the Year a dozen times and also tagged him as “guilty of stealing the show.”John Payne probably never imagined that a near-death experience would push him into a life of fame and success. John’s upbringing taught him toughness and determination to overcome the odds, and he has proven in spades “when there is a will there is a way.”

“Shotgun” Rodney Gaston

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From Chappel Hill, TX "Shotgun" Rodney Gaston has been entertaining rodeo-goers for 25 years, performing for crowds of more than 10,000.

Powder River Rodeo

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Once again this year world-class livestock will be provided by Hank and Lori Franzen of Powder River Rodeo and D&H Cattle Company. They will bring NFR bucking stock to challenge our cowboy athletes. The Black Hills Roundup has a 30 year relationship with Powder River, and we truly value them as partners.


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Like many announcers, a former rodeo contestant, Chad Nicholson fell into the business by complete accident. 25 years ago while in college at Tarleton State University in Stepehenville, Texas, working for a radio station he was asked to announce a local junior rodeo. It was instant chemistry and since then he has announced Pro rodeos and various other events in 39 states, Canada, and Australia. A former US Marine, Chad is widely known for his smooth voice, clear and powerful delivery, as well as his signature American Flag tribute, “If Old Glory could speak”, typically performed in the opening ceremonies.

He announces 100+ performances annually and has earned many accolades along the way. 2015 Women’s Pro Rodeo Association Announcer of the Year; Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony emcee; 11 times PRCA Ram Circuit Finals Announcer in the Wilderness, California, Mountain States, and Turquoise Circuits; Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Welcome Reception emcee; PBR Bull Ridings; 2002 Ram National Circuit Finals PRCA Rodeo; 2010 Canadian Wrangler Tour Finale in Armstrong, BC; from 2008 to 2012, he was the lead commentator for the Pro Roughstock series TV show. Chad also won Announcer of the Year in 1994-96 for the California Cowboys Pro Rodeo.

Outside of professional rodeo, Chad voices over radio/TV commercials worldwide. He is the voice of the talking dog and liner voice on the Farmers Only dot com TV commercial “riding date” and “fishing date” spots which is still on the air. In 2010 he co-announced the World Equestrian Games Opening Ceremonies in Lexington, KY; has worked at major NASCAR tracks announcing Monster Truck Shows; and various Equestrian Show productions such as the Del Mar Night of the Horse at the Del Mar National Horse Show in Del Mar, CA; The Spirit of the Horse in Perth, Australia; and in 2012 he also was a part of the production crew for the United States’ portion of Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 60thDiamond Jubilee Celebration, All the Queen’s Horses, at Windsor Castle in Windsor, England with the Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls.

He is also training the next generation of rodeo announcers. In 2006, at the urging of his friend, Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame Announcer Bob Tallman, he founded the Chad Nicholson Rodeo Announcer’s Training Seminar held annually in Ft Worth, Texas. Now in its 13th year with over 120 students worldwide, it has become the top rodeo announcer’s school in the industry with many award winning graduates.

When he is not on the road, Chad, a native Texan, makes his home in Three Rivers, CA near Sequoia- Kings Canyon, National Parks, with his wife Jennifer. Together with a board of directors they operate Riata Ranch International Inc., a 501©3 non-profit educational organization for young women and home to the world famous western performance artists, 5 time PRCA Specialty Act of the Year Nominees, the Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls.


Again this year Black Hills Roundup rodeo fans in the arena will be treated to live replays of your favorite rodeo events. Western Sky Media and Prime Time Video are teaming up to bring you a close-up view of the action on the region’s largest video board- it measures and impressive 33′ x 18′. And sponsors, don’t miss this chance to have your business displayed in grand style to the thousands of fans who annually attend!
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