Cowboy Monkey Rodeo draws a big crowd in Reading

Cowboy Monkey Rodeo draws a big crowd in Reading

READING, Pa. - Fans packed FirstEnergy Stadium to see the Fightin Phils at bat, but the players were not the only ones taking the field.

The Cowboy Monkey Rodeo was also a draw for fans.

"I think it is going to be fun. I am really excited," said John Wolf, fan.

"I think it is a pretty interesting way to get people to come out to the ballpark," said Tony Papola, fan.

The Ghost Riders are monkeys that ride border collies and herd sheep.

The man behind the monkeys is Mississippi rodeo man Tim Lepard. He says the cowboy monkey rodeo all started with a dream.

"Growing up as a kid, I always wanted a monkey, always," said Tim Lepard, creator of Ghost Riders.

So 35 years ago, he came up with the idea to involve monkeys in the rodeo and to eventually have them ride dogs. He says it did not take long to become an Internet sensation.

"It was a real rush wave going on there and I thought, well I am just going to ride it and we are going to settle back down. It never settled down," said Tim Lepard.

His most well-known rider, Sam, has been riding dogs for 15 years.

"He is very serious. He rides and he rides well," said Lepard.

Fans just could not wait to monkey around.

"I am sure the game will be pretty good and hopefully the Fightin Phils will win. But I came here to see the monkeys and dogs," said Paul Traviline, fan.

Lepard says he also hopes the cowboy-dressed monkeys are a sign to fans of what you can accomplish when you follow your dreams.

"I have been knocked down, pushed around and told I did not have the ability or the showmanship. Thirty-five years later, 13 world titles and hundreds of ball games, here we are," said Lepard.

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