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.”

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.

 

A lifelon New Yorker, Emily Schmalholz was a TV producer at VH1 before moving into the events industry and landing at Westchester’s The Capitol Theatre. As director of special events at the historic space and its bar, Garcia’s, she says creating events and working in television have lots in common. “The ultimate goal for both is to tell a great story and create memorable moments.” Schmalholz, a self-described “event therapist,” had more to say about her work.

What’s the biggest difference between producing for television and producing events?

 

Wilson Hotel Big Sky Residence Inn opened in mid-2019 and is Big Sky’s first major hotel. With a name inspired by Wilson Peak, one of the most prominent of the Spanish Peaks overlooking Big Sky, the hotel has 129 suites, 3,000 square feet of meeting space and a Town Center location just steps from shops, restaurants and nightlife.