Laramie and Ted proudly wear pink to raise awareness of breast cancer.
“In 1962, a little boy was born, and his dream, and his goal, was to own a monkey.”
Thus begins the inspiring tale of Tim “Wild Thang” Lepard and his amazing posse of dog riding monkeys, Team Ghost Riders. Lepard has been on the road with his extraordinary performers since 1989 and has no peer when it comes to teaching a monkey the fine art of riding a dog.
Once clothed in their miniature chaps and ornate costumes, Lepard said the monkeys “climb on, get adjusted and hang on.” He said the monkeys will be tethered to the collies to prevent a bucked Capuchin, known for their “organ-grinding” abilities, from running amuck into the crowd.
Like his hero Elvis Presley, Lepard was destined for big things.
I was born in 1962 in Memphis, TN and hang my hat at home on the outskirts of Tupelo, MS. I guess that is why I feel I have a bit of Elvis in my soul. I have been involved with rodeo for 28 yrs and began my career riding bulls which evolved into bullfighting. In 1988 I won the title of Mesquite Champion Bullfighter. While fighting bulls at Mesquite, mentor, Jimmy Anderson told me “You can go to a rodeo and find twenty macho guys that think they’re bullfighters, but you’re only going to find one funny man and that’s you”. Fellow bullrider Lane Frost was also at Mesquite and asked me if I had ever thought about fighting bulls and clowning for a living. It meant something to me for a Champion like Lane Frost to see my potential and so I seriously began rodeoing and made rodeo my career.
It hasn’t been an easy road for Lepard. He’s paid his dues. But in the end, Tim found his true calling.
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.”
Tim’s website is a celebration of all that is good about man, monkeys and hounds. A hoot and a half. The guy has a vision and he’s living it.
Of all the videos I’ve seen of monkeys riding dogs, this is by far the most epic - the Gone With The Wind or Battleship Potemkin of monkeys riding dogs videos.
If I were younger and smaller and a monkey, I’d run away from home and join Team Ghost Riders.