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John Payne: The One Arm Bandit to Perform at Redding Rodeo 2023

15-time PRCA Specialty Act of the Year, John Payne the One Arm Bandit is a legend in the Western world and he is returning to the Redding Rodeo for their 75th Diamond Anniversary. In June 1973, the Oklahoma native was electrocuted by 7,200 volts, which led to the loss of his arm and his now infamous performance name. His one-of-a-kind act is a ‘Wild West Show Fit for a King’ and features not only horses but buffalo, cattle, mules, and zebras.

Involvement in Horses, Rodeo and Entertainment

John: My dad was a rancher and cowboy, his dad was a rancher and cowboy and so was his dad. We come from ranchers and cowboys back in the late 1800s. I was raised on a ranch, so the only form of entertainment we had out there was riding horses. I’ve been riding horses for 69 years since I could hold my neck stiff. I broke a lot of horses, probably a couple hundred horses, I imagine, and wore out some saddles.

As for how I got into the entertainment business, I was running my mouth at a rodeo and got told they’d just let me be the entertainment next year. They thought it’d shut me up, but all that did was launch my career.

Credit to the One Arm Bandit’s Facebook Page

The Unique Show

John: I’m the only one-arm guy in pro rodeo. As for the One Arm Bandit, there’s only one of those; so you don’t forget it, especially if you ever see my show. I’ve got eight buffalo, four of which are pretty well-trained. Then, I’ve got about 40 horses, 10 big Longhorn steers, about 100 head of cows on the ranch, and about 40 dogs.

The buffalo were the biggest challenge. They’re the meanest critter in North America, and they’ll get it on in a hurry, and in a bad way. The horse is a lot easier. The zebra was challenging because I had never been around zebras before. I started out with six of them, and only one wanted to be a star. But, he is a big star, and his name is Zorro. He was just a wild zebra, but he’s been on the road for four or five years now.

Credit to the One Arm Bandit’s Facebook Page

Family Involvement

John: My son, Lynn, started doing a show when he turned 18 and I think he did it for 26 years before he got tired of traveling. Then, my daughter, Amanda, hit the road when she was 18 and she’s still doing it. She’s been in the business for close to 30 years, so I’ve been in the business for about 35 years.

I’ve also got a grandson named Patrick, and he’s doing the show now too. He’ll be the next upcoming One Arm Bandit star, and I wouldn’t doubt it if my granddaughter doesn’t end up doing it too. She’s pretty punchy and rides saddle broncs, ropes, and runs barrels.

Credit to the One Arm Bandit’s Facebook Page

Redding Rodeo Excitement

John: When you come to Redding, everybody is ready to have a good time and if you can’t have a good time in Redding, you might as well forget it. I come early, and I stay late, that’s how much I like Redding. Being down there on the river sets it apart a little bit too. I like a rodeo that has good places to eat, good dancing places, and good bars so I can unwind and have a drink with my good rodeo friends and I don’t mind listening to some music. And, Redding has all those things.

John Balma brought me to Redding first in May of 1988. He was the sheriff there for 30 years, and he stuck his neck out and hired the One Arm Bandit. That was one of the very first rodeos to ever hire me, and it was sure the first rodeo on the west coast that had ever hired me. I even watched Lane Frost ride Red Rock for the first time that year. That gave me cold chills, and that doesn’t happen very often. They asked me to do their 75th this year, and I made sure to fit it into my schedule.

Credit to CLN

Get Ready For the 75th Diamond Anniversary of Redding Rodeo

Running May 17 – 20, the 75th Annual Redding Rodeo is set to bring all the action and excitement to northern California. It is going to be a jam-packed week of fun and rodeo. Check out the full schedule of events below and make sure to purchase your tickets ahead of time at the link below before they sell out! Ticket pricing is as follows, and tickets can be purchased online now!

In addition to all of the bucking action you’re sure to see, the Redding Rodeo is much more than a rodeo! Spectators can enjoy the Steak Feed and Dance, a parade, Xtreme Bulls and Barrels, mutton busting, plus all of the mid-show entertainment from the One Arm Bandit that will go on during the rodeo itself.

  • May 13 | Redding Rodeo Steak Feed and Dance | 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM at the Redding Rodeo Grounds 
    • A Fun Filled evening with good food, good music, and good friends. BBQ Steak, cowboy beans, baked potato, salad, and bread. Add a refreshing beverage and what better way to start Rodeo Week. Tickets are $25.
  • May 16 | Hall of Fame Gala | Tickets are 2 for $75 or 1 for  $40.00
  • May 17 | Redding Rodeo Wednesday Extreme Bulls and Barrels | 7:00 PM at the Redding Rodeo Grounds. Tickets Start at $20.
  • May 18 | Redding Rodeo Thursday Family Night | 7:00 PM at the Redding Rodeo Grounds. Tickets Start at $25.
  • May 19 | Redding Rodeo Friday Tuff Enough to Wear Pink | 7:00 PM at the Redding Rodeo Grounds. Tickets Start at $30.
    • Asphalt Cowboys Pancake Breakfast | 6:00 AM – 10:00 AM in Downtown Redding
  • May 20 | Redding Rodeo Saturday Armed Forces Night | 7:00 PM at the Redding Rodeo Grounds. Tickets Start at $35
    • Redding Rodeo Parade | 10:00 AM in Downtown Redding
Provided by Redding Rodeo Committee

From all of us here at Cowboy Lifestyle Network, we truly can’t wait for the fun to kick off in Redding, California. Make sure to start planning your trip now, because this rodeo and surrounding events are going to be the place to be!

CLN Community & Event Sponsor

Originally from Earth, Texas, a small town in the Texas panhandle, I was raised around rodeo, agriculture, and the western lifestyle. With a degree from Texas A&M University, I have found a passion for promoting the lifestyle that made me who I am today. I am an experienced writer, marketer, and event professional with a strong desire to share the stories of those in our industry. When I’m not busy seeking out ways to promote the western way of life, I enjoy following those I care about around to rodeos, hunting, and going on runs with my blue-eyed, blue-merle Australian Shepherd.

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