Rodeo royalty

Marion County’s Callie Sue Edwards and Shane Kuhn recently collected pro rodeo awards in saddle bronc riding and for best specialty act.

Shane Kuhn and Callie Sue Edwards, with Banjo and Harley, perform during a professional rodeo. [Photo courtesy Banjo the Water Buffalo and Friends]

Home » Arts & Entertainment
Posted April 2, 2024 | By Susan Smiley-Height,

Have you ever seen a water buffalo or a half horse/half zebra perform at a rodeo?

Well thousands of people have, and that’s thanks to a couple from Shiloh, in northwest Marion County.

Callie Sue Edwards and Shane Kuhn perform together at rodeos as Banjo the Water Buffalo and Friends, and Kuhn also competes in individual categories.

The Southeastern Professional Rodeo Association recently awarded its 2023 Specialty Act of the Year to Banjo and Friends and the 2023 Saddle Bronc Rider award to Kuhn. The honors were extended during the Southeastern Professional Finals Rodeo held March 21-23 in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

Saddle bronc riding is an event in which the contestant attempts to ride a bucking horse for eight seconds. The horse is equipped with a regulation saddle with stirrups and a six-foot braided rein attached to a halter that is held with one hand. The rider is scored by judges, Edwards noted.

Kuhn amassed the highest average of scores overall for 2023. His prize was a custom Corriente roping saddle specially made for the winner of the 2023 Frontier Classic Rodeo Series. He also competed in steer wrestling.

Banjo the Water Buffalo and Friends includes Edwards and Kuhn, along with water buffalo Banjo and Harley, white Andalusian mare Crystal and Zorro, the “zorse,” a cross between a zebra and a horse.

“The Frontier Classic Rodeo hired us for about a dozen rodeos last year throughout Alabama and Mississippi. The rodeo committee voted for the best specialty act that year and we made the cut, which meant we performed at the finals this year in Philadelphia, Mississippi,” Edwards said.

They also received a big, shiny belt buckle.

Edwards said their show involves several components, all geared to entertain the crowds gathered for the rodeo competitions.

“Shane enters the arena, usually wearing a light-up suit, kind of like ‘The Electric Cowboy,’ and galloping on Crystal as he trick ropes and spins and shoots his pistols at balloon targets. The horse takes a bow and Shane continues to trick rope on the ground or on top of the truck. After that, we enter on the water buffalo, with me on Banjo and Shane riding Harley, and go around the arena and go through a fiery jump,” Edwards explained.

She said she also will do the “hippodrome stand,” meaning she stands up on the moving animal and goes through the jump.

At one point, Banjo will walk up a ramp into the bed of a truck. Edwards or Kuhn will stand on top of him and shoot a gun in the air.

“For the final part of the act, Shane rides his white horse, and the zebra horse runs from the other end of the pen. I walk out and mount Zorro and the four of us make a fast lap around the arena while shooting guns and making a final jump over the fire and then we wave as we exit the arena,” Edwards said.

She said they already are set to perform in several SPRA events this year.

When asked why they do it, she replied: We were born and raised cowboys and cowgirls. It’s in our blood I guess.”

To learn more, go to and

The Gazette previously reported on Banjo and Friends and some other local Wild West show performers. Find the article and photos at

Callie Sue Edwards rides Zorro, the “zorse,” during a rodeo. [Photo courtesy Banjo the Water Buffalo and Friends]

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