Retired rodeo champ talks a lot of bull

Posted on May 4, 2011

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It’s a sight you’re highly unlikely to see over here; but across the pond in America a former Rodeo champion and his team are growing a fan base of thousands.

Tim "Wild Thang" Lepard with one his capuchin monkeys

Tim “Wild Thang” Lepard is a 44-year-old man from Memphis. He decided to hang up his spurs to manage what he calls a “comedy act” made up of  white-throated capuchin monkeys and border collies who herd sheep into a truck. Cheap tricks or blissfully ignorant? One things for sure that there cowboy will go straight in the hoosegow if he sets foot anywhere near animal-loving folk.

The Ghost Riders are a popular attraction and play 150 shows a year around the United States, entertaining…..and I use that term loosely……crowds of up to 65,000 people. These pictures were taken in  Oklahoma City.

Mr Lepard’s website is quite something and boasts: “the only animal act like it in the WORLD!” Well thank f@ck for that. Let’s hope Knot-Head doesn’t give anyone else any bright ideas.

a white-throat capuchin rides a border collie in the act "Ghost Riders"

He said: “After nine major surgeries encountered while fighting bulls, I began to put together the dog and monkey act and concentrated on comedy.  I wanted an act that no one would forget in rodeo and felt performing with three dogs and three monkeys would accomplish my goal.”

Clearly a high achiever. Speaking about the monkeys (and providing a shining example of anthropomorphism) he added: “They know sometimes how to control the dogs, I swear it, Sam, the oldest especially. I think he knows where I want the dogs to go and sometimes I see him steer the dog with his hands.”

Wild Thang Lepard also demonstrates a thorough knowledge about capuchins and their dietary requirements, saying: “To train the monkeys is easy. I did it for each of them in three days, all you need is pop-tarts.”

White throated capuchin monkeys (Cebus capucins) can be found South America (Ecuador to Honduras). They usually eat a diet of various fruit (65 per cent) leaves (15 per cent) and small vertebrates (birds; lizards infant squirrels) as well as spiders and insects. Nowhere in any of my primatology books does it mention pop-tarts.

Ingredients found in pop-tarts: wheat flour, sugar, dextrose, vegetable oil, glucose syrup, milk whey powder, invert sugar syrup, fat reduced cocoa powder, wheat starch, salt, raising agent (sodium hydrogen carbonate, diphosphates), dried egg white, beef gelatin, stabiliser (xanthan gum), vanilla extract, modified wheat starch, colour (caramel E150d, titanium oxide) and emulsifier (soy lecithin).

So a guaranteed nutritional meal which promises to steer them in the direction of diabetes and coronary problems later in life – yeehaw!!

The "Ghost Riders" herd sheep to entertain crowds in Oklahoma

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Posted in: South America