Want a rodeo but the town you are meeting in doesn't have one? Leland and Katie McMillan's LKC Rodeo Productions brings rodeo entertainment to corporate events, high-end resorts, gated communities, birthday parties and other gatherings looking for a taste of the West.

Now based in Huntley, Montana, near Billings, the McMillans grew up in rodeo families and hatched the idea of a portable rodeo in 2009. Existing rodeofriendly facilities in a community also can be used to make all sorts of pageantry, bull and bronco riding, mutton bustin’, barrel racing and more happen.

During Leland’s growing-up years, his family followed the rodeo circuit, bringing stock to events all over the West before establishing Wild West Yellowstone Rodeo, a summer public rodeo series in West Yellowstone, Montana. He says, “We found out we could make more staying in one spot and doing tourist rodeos 50 nights a year and have done well with it.”

Katie’s dad was a team roper, so the rodeo scene has always been a big part of her life as well. The “C” in the business name stands for their 6-year-old son, Cooper. “Last year was our busiest year, and he has more stamina than we do. Katie’s parents come with us to help out. It’s a family show and Cooper loves it,” says Leland, noting that he and Katie also help with and compete at his parents’ rodeo.

LKC Rodeo Productions is built on portability, so there is no distance the McMillans and their crew will not travel. “Typically, the majority of our business is done in Montana, Idaho, South Dakota and Wyoming. We joined MPI last fall in an effort to branch out to Colorado,” he says.

The couple custom-fits their services to meet a client’s specific needs and offers several standard packages. In addition, they can create large-scale entertainment events that are public functions designed for profit.

“I always thought we would rodeo,” Katie says, “but this brings a new perspective with the entertainment angle.”

Tony Michaels is no stranger to navigating choppy waters. The CEO and executive director of The Parade Company, which puts on traditions like America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Ford Fireworks, took the helm of the Detroit nonprofit during tough times, at the height of the financial crisis. “2008, 2009, are you kidding me?” says Michaels.

 

Originally from Ontario, Heather Odendaal got her start in event planning early, serving as her high school’s head of social events. She ended up on the West Coast, courtesy of her studies at the University of British Columbia, and launched her career in Whistler, working for the resort in marketing and events. Today, she’s CEO of Bluebird Strategy, a boutique event planning firm, and CEO and founder of WNORTH, a global community of women who have their sights set on the C-suite.

 

You may not have seen her name among Chicago’s James Beard award nominees or caught in the buzz of another trendy eatery opening, but the ripples of Rita Dever’s culinary creations have made an impact far and wide. After cooking around the world, the Pacific Northwest native put down roots as Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ (LEYE) associate partner and corporate chef where she collaborates in the company’s test kitchen to innovate new dishes for all LEYE restaurants.