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.”

Denver native Keisha Makonese’s passion for planning events dates way back. Her latest gig as director of sales and corporate events at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum began nine years ago. In this role, Makonese helps oversee an average of 150 private events at Wings Over the Rockies each year, from making meetings for 20 people to annual dinners for 2,000 fun and interactive experiences.

 

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better champion of Amarillo than Hope Stokes, director of brand management for the Amarillo Convention & Visitor Council. Born and raised in the Texas Panhandle city, she graduated from nearby West Texas A&M University and her first job in the tourism industry was as an intern at the council. Stokes shared with us her love of her hometown.

What is your favorite thing about marketing Amarillo?

 

Ken Hayward has spent nearly his entire career serving at one hotel. But when you start your career at one of the most iconic and historic hotels in Michigan— even the nation—it’s hard to see yourself anywhere else. Hayward, executive vice president and managing director of Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, was recently named Hotelier of the Year by Historic Hotels of America. This honor comes decades after Hayward was given an unexpected opportunity.