"I started in rodeo in 1987 at the 101 Wild West Rodeo in Ponca City, Oklahoma. I sold Walter Alsbaugh, the stock contractor, some wild bulls that came out of the swamps of Florida.
In those days I gathered wild cattle in several states. My slogan: "If you can turn 'em loose, I can catch 'em.” The foundation of my rodeo career was horsemanship and the use of Blackmouth Cur dogs.
While at the rodeo in Ponca City, I witnessed an act that was low on talent. Of course, I mouthed off to the stock contractor and he said, "We'll just let you be the entertainment next year".
A fading cattle market and high interest had left me flat broke, $100,000 in debt and living with my grandmother. I built my first trailer from scratch and bought my first truck from my brother Bob for $800 (which took a year to pay-off).
My first show was in the same place the next year. I put five Corrientes steers on top of my trailer with the aid of Blackmouth Cur dogs. A few weeks later, Clem McSpadden hired me to go to Bushyhead, Oklahoma to perform in an 80-acre pasture at his steer roping. There is where I received my first paycheck. It seemed like a paid vacation after three decades of working on a ranch.
The first year, I entertained about 90 crowds traveling with the Walt Alsbaugh Rodeo Company and was nominated for PRCA “Specialty Act of the Year”. Though I did not win the award that year, I did win in 1989, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96 and then again 08, 09, 10, and 2011.
Animals in the show consist of Longhorn-Watusi Steers, Mustangs, Mules, Buffalo. Blackmouth Cur dogs are a very important part of the training process. My son Lynn and daughter Amanda hit the road at the
age of 18, which allowed us to take our show in three directions.
It is very fulfilling to have my son, Lynn, and daughter, Amanda, display their talents. They are truly my right hand. Soon, I will have grandkids in the show and may slow down a bit to spend more time with my wife, Judy."
- Written by John Payne
One day, I was sitting at a mule sale in Ada, Oklahoma. I had a bullfight to work that night, and the mule sale was at the same place as the bullfight, or I’d have never been there and I’d have never bought him. He’s a man killer, Moe is. He had six problems: you couldn’t catch him, you couldn’t bridle him, you couldn’t saddle him, you couldn’t get on him, and you couldn’t ride him. And he’d run off with you if you tried, even leading him. But Moe and I, after I’ve pulled a lot of wet saddle blankets off of him, have come to an understanding. I ride him, he does what he’s supposed to, and we both get paid.
Part of my act is driving my trained buffalo or Watusi longhorns to the top of my trailer, following them up, and spinning my mule on the top of the trailer while cracking a bullwhip. All with one arm. I used a horse for twenty years. I was the cowboy who said, when all the horses die, and I get tired of walking then I’ll use a mule.
But after I’ve had Moe, I sure do like how he works. He’s surefooted on the ramp. If it rains and it’s muddy and that ol’ ramp is wet and slick, he is really good at keeping his feet under him.
Moe wasn’t harder to train than buffalo. He was a jerk, pulling back, making it hard on you every darn day, but he was not dangerous all the time. He was not hardheaded. He is very firm in his convictions. He was worth it. Well, I had a lot of nice compliments on him and I’ve been offered $20,000 for him. But nobody could handle him but me. He’s the best-looking mule in the world. He’s built great, stout, strong, durable, sure-footed, and trustworthy. I do parades on him when I jump off the trailer onto asphalt, and he slides on all four. A horse would be straddle-legged. He’ll outwork two horses, but he’ll also outwork two horses trying to get out of work and being a little pillbox. I can walk out there and say, ‘Moe,’ and he’ll come to me. Something else this mule can do, is I can stand on top of my trailer and pop a whip and he jumps out of the trailer and onto the pickup and up the ramp and come right to me.”
He’s the most famous mule in the world.
Written by John Payne
The PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) 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.” While the favorite venue of One Arm Bandit & Company is a rodeo, John and his family have also appeared at horse fairs and other horse related productions across the United States.
Lynn was born January 8, 1976, on cold winter night in Ponca City, Oklahoma. Lynn is the son of John Payne and brother of Amanda.
Lynn’s name was chosen 2 years prior to his birth out of respect for his Great-Grandpa, VL Payne and “The Father of Oklahoma”, Captain
David L Payne.
Lynn learned to be a cowboy early in life. A multitude of horse flesh are in his remuda. A part-time rancher, hunter, and wild cattle puncher, Lynn is an accomplished bronc stomper and horse trainer!
At top speed, Lynn pops a bull whip in each hand while steering
his horse with his legs.
Lynn has been on the run since the early 90’s and has been spotted in Canada and the lower 48 states.
Mandy, daughter of the One Arm Bandit, carries on the family tradition.
Their act is still in such high demand today, that Mandy keeps her own rig on the road, traveling from event to event, while John travels to other shows.