Rolling Stone Rodeo rides into this year’s Montgomery County Fair

By Tim Walker

photo: Barrel racer Jessica Fisher from Oxford, Ohio

It’s that time of year again in Ohio – county fair time. The days are long, the nights are hot, and there are lots of thrilling rides to enjoy and fair food to consume. The 164th Montgomery County Fair will be returning this year from Wednesday, Aug. 31 through Monday, Sept. 5, and it will be held once again – for at least another year – at Dayton’s beloved county fairgrounds, where it was first held way back in 1856.

Some people are drawn to the fair each year for the funnel cakes and the rib-eye sandwiches, some for the animals and the competitions, some for the nausea-inducing Tilt-a-Whirl or the demolition derby. But one popular event returning to the fair promises to draw a big crowd to the grandstand again – the Rolling Stone Rodeo is back for a second time to thrill the local crowds, and Travis Kershner will be right there in the middle of it.

“We do an extreme Bulls, Broncs, and Barrels performance,” says Kershner, the owner and head honcho at Rolling Stone Rodeo. “And we’ll have some other acts to go along with that. We’ll have some trick riding also, and we’ll have a little barrel racing. We’ll also have some guys riding bucking broncs and bull riding, as well. This is our second year at the Montgomery County Fair, and we’d love to keep coming back.” The Rolling Stone Rodeo will be performing at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2, and abundant seating will be available in the Main Grandstand.

More than just a business, the rodeo has been a family tradition of the Kershners for years. “Rolling Stone Rodeo itself has been operating for five years now,” Kershner continues. “But me and my father have 30-plus years of experience in the rodeo business. My dad and I were both actually born and raised in Montgomery County – I’m a graduate of West Carrollton High School, class of 2004. My dad started riding bulls when he was about 12-years-old, and I started when I was about 6-years-old, so it’s always been a tradition. It’s a real family hobby for us, and it’s something I’ve done my whole life.”

When asked what motivated him to start his own rodeo show, Kershner answers with a laugh. “When you start riding that young, and then you get to be a little bit older, you realize your body’s not going to hold out for very long,” he says. “Sometimes you kind of have to find a different approach just to be able to stay involved with it. Producing rodeos has really been a joy for us to do – we really try to keep that old school tradition of rodeo around, but we also try to appeal to a younger audience by having more extreme type of events, and we play a lot of rock and roll music, and it’s lot different than the older type rodeo that people are used to. But it’s definitely something that will appeal to every age group. We’re excited to be performing.”

Many might confine rodeo to Texas or other Western states, but Kershner disagrees: “It’s really crazy, you know. There are actually a lot of people in the rodeo business who are from this area. Our announcer, for example, is named Joe Coalter, and he is from Huber Heights. He announces rodeos and horse shows all around the country. It’s great to be able to have him come back and announce the rodeo.” Coalter performs about 150 days a year, hosts a weekly radio show called Horsin’ Around Ohio, and has received 12 nominations for “Rodeo Announcer of the Year.” When asked how many shows his company puts on each year, Kershner says, “Really it varies. This year, we’re just doing the Butler County Fair and the Montgomery County Fair, so it wasn’t a busy year for us. On a typical year, though, we’ll do anywhere from five to 10 performances.”

“We’re thrilled to have Rolling Stone Rodeo back for their second year,” agrees Greg Wallace, executive director of the Montgomery County Fair. “With their Bulls, Broncs, and Barrels, it should be great. This event had problems with the weather last year, unfortunately – it rained and the inclement weather interfered with their show. It was a real muddy mess, so we’re glad to have them back here again.”

Regardless of the weather or the heat, Kershner and his Rolling Stone Rodeo promise to put on a show of thrills for the whole family.

The Rolling Stone Rodeo will perform starting at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2 at the 164th Montgomery County Fair, 1043 S. Main St. in Dayton. Admission to all Main Grandstand events is included with fair admission. For more information, please visit


Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Walker at


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Tim Walker is 51 and a writer, DJ, and local musician. He lives with his wife and their two children in Dayton, where he enjoys pizza, jazz, and black T-shirts. Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Walker at

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