John Payne “The One Arm Bandit”

The Dinosaur Roundup Rodeo is honored to have a friend and rodeo legend back in our arena as we celebrate 70 years of ProRodeo. John Payne “The One Arm Bandit” has been through a lot in his lifetime, but brings talent, determination and skill to each rodeo he entertains. Rodeo audiences enjoy his jaw-dropping rodeo act that has led him to be named the PRCA Specialty Act of the year 15 times!

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Notorious as The One Arm Bandit, John was born to a rancher in the oil rich town of Shidler, Oklahoma on April 19, 1953. Ranch life with four brothers taught John to “Get out of the way or get run over”.

 He believes “when the going gets tough, the tough get going and if there is a will, there is a way.”

On June 12, 1973, after grabbing a hot wire of 7,200 volts of electricity ran through his entire body for an unbearable 10 seconds. John was killed. With his fingers nearly burnt off, John fell 25 feet to his death. The doctors reported “not much brain damage” and after five weeks in the Tulsa burn center, John checked himself out.

While still in the hospital, John Payne purchased an untrained horse and began working with it as soon as he was released. This was a strong indication that he had the will to continue the life he loved, and his can-do attitude was key in the formation of One Arm Bandit & Company. John’s attitude had always been that it takes determination, drive and a good amount of sheer nerve to excel in the field of choice. It would seem that considering physical limitations that would have side-lined most men, John Payne was not lacking in any of these attributes.

John Payne and Judy Crabtree were married in 1975, and a son and daughter joined the family within 3 years. Both Lynn and Amanda began riding horses at a very early age and have followed in their fearless father’s footsteps. John and both his children are on the “most wanted list” of performers at rodeos and other venues attended by horse lovers.

The One Arm Bandit will entertain fans all three nights at the Greatest Show on Dirt, thanks to our sponsor: