Meet the Member Andrew Burks
story by Michele Toberer After rodeoing for over half of his life, Andrew Burks was glad to add the 2019 IPRA Rookie Champion Calf Roper […]
story by Siri Stevens
Tony Keeton started his company, Rockin’ K Rodeo in 2017. It’s not his only full time job. Tony has worked for UPS for 27 years. “It’s changed … the online shipping and the size of the packages. 90% of what we hauled was office supplies, now its bedroom and 15 boxes of groceries. We’ve gone from a supply chain for businesses to a supply chain for houses. As bad as Covid has been to the rodeo business, it’s good for UPS.”
Rockin’ K Rodeo Productions started a long time ago. “I didn’t grow up in a rodeo family, but we went when they were local. As soon as I was old enough to sneak away to go ride bareback horses I did. I entered my first rodeo in 1990; it was a J Bar B rodeo put on by Jerry Bowlin. I’ve been hooked ever since. I love the family atmosphere and the good horses and I loved getting on his stock. I was never real good at it, but I entered for the love of it.”
Tony had a daughter born in 1995 with cerebral palsy and she has always been in a wheel chair. “My friend, Tommy Kidd, who started a charity Abigail’s Plan to raise money to build a baseball field for handicapped kids. Someone told me I should do a bull riding – I started an event Abigail’s Plan Bulls and Barrels here in Lawrenceburg, where I’m from.”
He hired a contractor, Circle J and K Cattle company to produce the event and provide stock. “Doing that event, we worked really well together. My wife, Jamie, has been my biggest supporter. Between here and Jim they encouraged me to put together a pen of bucking stock.” He bought his first bucking horse in 2017. “I was looking for big stout rider friendly horses that guys wanted to come and get on. I would rather see 10 bareback horses and 10 riders and let the judges sort it out. I’d rather see ten rides than ten wrecks.”
He admits it’s not been an easy mix with work and rodeo. “When I started this I had a 5 year plan to get horses to the IPRA finals … I picked up a buckle at the 50th last year. God has blessed me – whenever I thought a door closed a bigger one opened. I have to watch my vacation time and get everything lined up ahead of schedule.” Cullen Pickett (Pickett Pro Rodeo) has been his mentor in the bucking horse business. “He has such a great breeding program and I’ve hauled a lot of his horses and I can showcase them in the IPRA.”
He also partnered with Kolt Barber, an up and coming country music singer from Nashville. “We hit it off like two brothers. On a late night drive I pitched an idea to him for a tour with a rough stock event and a country music show rolled into one. We have teamed up and we are trying to get 2021 going. We started this year with our year sponsored and paid for and then Covid happened and we ended up footing the bill and pulled off five events. The first two we had no crowd, the last three were sold out.”
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