Get ready to welcome the return of The One Arm Bandit to Sisters Rodeo. The 15-time PRCA Specialty Act of the Year, John Payne is coming back to entertain crowds as the most popular rodeo act in the history of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

Whip in hand, black cur hounds at his bidding, he’s gone exotic this year, herding a zebra stallion and three paint horses from horse- or mule-back around the arena, then onto the bed of a truck. He and his mount follow, coaxing them all to the roof of a stock trailer for the grand finale.

He will also ride in the Sisters Rodeo Parade, sometimes mounted on his horse on the roof of a moving stock trailer.

The display of horsemanship and communication is unsurpassed in this act, which has taken Payne and his longhorn steers and buffalo all over the U.S. and Canada. The act has been seen at some of the top horse shows and rodeos in the nation, always stunning an appreciative crowd. A few years ago, he even shipped his animals to Dubai to entertain royalty.

Payne was born on an Oklahoma ranch, where he spent his life on a horse with dogs alongside. When hired to herd some intractable bulls, John and his cur dogs earned the respect of a ranch owner as the bulls were penned in short order. The ranch owner shared the story, and the result was the beginning of Payne’s career in the rodeo arena.

Many years ago Payne was doing repair on a highline power pole; believing the power was disconnected, he grabbed a line to stabilize himself. As the voltage burned through his arm and hand, he shortly fell to what seemed sure death. He was revived, took a few months off and went back to ranching, shy one arm and hand. Thus, became “The One Arm Bandit.”

Payne is a most compassionate cowboy who loves to interact with children, especially those with disabilities, encouraging them with his story.

During his last visit to Sisters Payne visited Sisters Elementary School along with the rodeo queen and clown, an annual school assembly tradition. The One Arm Bandit rode a mule into the commons to the delight of Sisters students, teachers, and staff.

Sisters Rodeo will begin June 5 with Xtreme Bulls followed by four rodeo performances June 7-9. For tickets, call 541-549-0121 or 1-800-827-7522, or visit the ticket office at 220 W. Cascade Ave. in Sisters. For information visit www.sistersrodeo.com.