Team Ghostrider In Town June 22nd
The phenomenon that has been sweeping across minor league baseball is finally arriving at Harry Grove Stadium on June 22nd at 7pm during Fredneck Night. Team Ghostrider, ran by Tim “Wild Thang” Lepard, is better known as the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo. What is it exactly? There are border collies saddled and ridden by white-throated Capuchin monkeys, which herd a group of sheep onto Lepard’s signature “Wild Thang” Dodge truck.
Lepard began his show with the monkeys as far back as 1989, after nine different surgeries kept him from riding bulls. The team is comprised of four monkeys, eight dogs and six rams and now travels in a 36-foot trailer touring to different minor league stadiums and events across the country. The first show that Tim did in a minor league stadium was for the Wilmington Blue Rocks in Delaware and it brought the Minor League promotion to a whole different level. After teams saw what kinds of crowds that the show attracted, they started booking him for shows immediately.
Training monkeys to ride dogs is a tough task but only takes a short amount of time according to Lepard when he was interviewed in an ESPN article. “I can train a monkey to ride a dog in three days,” Lepard says. “It’s just time, patience, love, care, Pop-Tarts.”
Tim has dreamed of having a monkey ever since he was a kid reading Curious George books. Now he is traveling nationwide putting on shows and making people smile, which is as rewarding as it comes for someone like Lepard. It has become more than just a show for him, it is his life.
“You have to care more about those animals than you do yourself,” he says in the ESPN article. “This is family. It’s not a way of life. This is my life.”
Tim treats the monkeys like his own kids. If they don’t want to get dressed in their little outfit, he doesn’t force them. If there is an enviornment that might make the monkeys uncomfortable, he doesn’t book the show. Pop-tarts keep those monkeys doing what they do best.
“Give ‘em a Pop-Tart and they will hop on that dog and ride,” Lepard says. “And when they finish that Pop-Tart they will groom that dog and make sure they get every single crumb.”
Come out and see Team Ghostrider in person on June 22nd at 7pm when the Keys host the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. You can buy tickets online at frederickkeys.com or by calling 877.8.GO.KEYS.