ABILENE, Kan. — The Abilene rodeo will have a new 2019 specialty act, Rider Kiesner, of Ripley, Okla. The 27-year-old cowboy trick ropes, spins guns and cracks whips, while his assistant, Bethany Iles, trick rides.
Kiesner brings back the old western arts in his act, doing tricks with his 40- and 50-foot ropes: the ocean wave, the Texas skip, the 50-foot big loop, all works of art with braided and coiled cotton ropes.
He trick ropes in the arena on a specially designed platform on the top of his RAM truck, and on his palomino horse, Lemonade. The saddle he uses is a 90-year-old parade saddle, a collectable made by Ted Flowers, with beautiful silver on it.
At the end of the performance, after the sun has gone down, Kiesner does his trick roping and whip cracking with the ropes and whips on fire and flames lighting up the sky!
Kiesner is a four-time world champion trick roper, a two-time world champion gun spinner, and has performed at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo seven times. He grew up in a family of western artists and cowboys. His dad, Philip, did mounted shooting and his mom, Julie, rode. Rider and his younger brother, Roper, were trick riding and trick roping before they were teens. The four of them worked together, entertaining at rodeos, until the boys struck out on their own. Nine years ago, Rider continued his work as a specialty act while Roper began a saddle bronc riding career.
Kiesner’s career has taken him around the globe. He’s entertained fans in Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Oman, Dubai, Lebanon, France, Canada, Mexico and across 49 of the 50 states.
He loves the trick riding, trick roping, gun spinning and whip cracking; to him, it’s continuing a tradition. “It’s like keeping a part of the old West alive,” he said. “It’s a lifestyle.”
Kiesner will entertain during each night of the Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo in Abilene July 31-Aug. 3. The rodeo starts at 7:30 p.m. each night. Tickets are $11 in advance ($8 for children ages four through 10) and $14 at the gate. They can be purchased online at www.CKFF.net and at various local retailers. For more information, visit www.WildBillHickokRodeo.com.