Under the direction of president Ken Stonecipher, Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days has grown into one of the largest rodeos in the world, with prize money this year hitting a staggering $370,000.
The week-long rodeo April 30-May 2 this year also has become a fixture on the Wrangler ProRodeo Tour. In the last three years, the Pioneer Days rodeo has served as the final stop on the winter tour, where the world's elite cowboys and cowgirls give it one final push at qualifying for the $500,000 Pace Picante ProRodeo Chute-out in Las Vegas.
Needless to say, Stonecipher, as well as his crew, put in thousands of hours each year to make Pioneer Days special for the community and the contestants. In 2002, the Guymon rodeo won the Large Outdoor Committee of the Year award from the PRCA.
Remarkably, Stonecipher still finds time to run his personal life much the same way he runs the Guymon rodeo. Up early and to bed late, he owns and operates a successful construction company. He also manages to play father to four energetic boys and husband to a supporting wife, Sherry.
In the last nine months, he's added another facet to his extensive repertoire of talents: lead singer and guitar player of a local band.
The newly formed band called Ken and Tim and the Band With No Name has played regularly at the local Elks Club. There, they serve up a mix of country, old-time rock 'n' roll and a little Jimmy Buffett-style music to crowds that pack the Lodge's bar.
During last weekend's rodeo, they played to a packed house at the Lodge, serving up a variety of well-known songs of today and yesterday.
"We play two kinds of music," said the good-natured Stonecipher, "country and Western."
When asked how he finds time to play in the band, he smiles and says, "We don't practice."
That's not true, just ask the hordes of people who pay $6 at the door to listen and dance to the band's music.
For Stonecipher, playing the guitar and singing has always been part of his life. He and friend, Tim Eyer, who also plays acoustic guitar in the band, have played together for years.
But it wasn't until nine months ago that they decided to form a band, adding drummer Gordon Gahagan, bass player Lanny Wilson and lead guitarist Malcom Sanders.
"They just play for enjoyment," Sherry said. "They're not in it for the money. Whatever they make is an added bonus."
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