Rodeo heads to Franklin with mustangs, zebra

john payne one arm bandit (2).jpg
Posted at 2:05 PM, May 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-03 16:25:05-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Franklin Rodeo is back, featuring nights of entertainment from May 19-21. Along with the usual activities, the Franklin Rodeo will feature a zebra, tri-colored mustangs and a one-armed performer.

Animal trainer John Payner — dubbed the One Arm Bandit — will come into Franklin for the performance with tri-colored mustangs from the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Payne got his moniker from an electrocution accident that happened 49 years ago when he was 20. While tearing a house down, he climbed an electric pole to cut down the wires, thinking the power was shut off. He grabbed the wire and 7,200 volts coursed through his body. Payne was dead for a few minutes before his friend resuscitated him. Doctors amputated his right arm below the shoulder.

"I have a great time in life,” he said. “I just live life to the fullest. I think it has a lot to do with me getting killed. I was dead, and by the grace of the Lord, I’m here."

With him, a zebra will make an appearance during his act.

"Their first line of defense is to run, and fast," Payne said. "They live in Africa, where everything is trying to kill them and eat them. They’re also very agile. They are the only equine who can run full steam and jump and kick at the same time. A horse, before he kicks, has to slow down. To defend themselves, zebras run and kick.”

The One Arm Bandit will entertain during each night of the Franklin Rodeo May 19-21 at the Williamson County Ag Expo Park. Performances begin at 7 p.m. nightly.

Tickets can be purchased online and at the gate. All seats are reserved. Adult tickets are $25; children's tickets are $12 for ages 12 and under.