Nampa native Kenny Petet has taken the road less traveled when choosing a profession. Or, in Kenny's case, sometimes the job chooses you. Kenny is in town this week performing at the Snake River Stampede. No, the long-time PRCA card holder is the sidekick to the world's smallest cowboy, Whiplash the Monkey.

Kenny, Whiplash, and Boogie, the Border Collie mount, travel the country entertaining rodeo crowds from Texas to Idaho. Their act is so successful that Whiplash has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, and ESPN. Kenny has been a professional rodeo cowboy for over twenty-five years. However, he began his career repossessing cars, not riding horses.
"I had long hair rode Harleys and ran into a bunch of cowboys one time," Petet confessed. "We got to arguing on who was tougher, cowboys or bikers, and I thought I can ride a horse; how tough can that be?"

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The cowboys took Kenny to ride a practice horse in Middleton. The horse dumped him, and his rodeo career was born. The Nampa Christian School graduate didn't come from a cowboy family. His dad was a pilot, although Kenny now lives on a big Texas ranch.

"I started out riding bareback horses and broncs. I then moved into rodeo clowning and fighting bulls, which led to the acts side of it." Little did Kenny know that ten years ago, his life was about to change forever by the simple act of helping out a friend.

Photo Courtesy of Kenny Petet
Photo Courtesy of Kenny Petet

Whiplash's previous owner had gotten sick and needed someone to take care of Whip while he recovered. The gentleman passed away, and the act has been rolling ever since. Kenny continues to live for entertaining crowds along with Whiplash.

photo courtesy of Kenny Petet / Whiplash the monkey
photo courtesy of Kenny Petet / Whiplash the monkey

Although he now lives in Texas, the Boise State graduate is happy to be back home in Idaho. "The Snake River Stampede is such an iconic thing here in Nampa; it's part of the fabric of what this thing is. The Stampede is one thing that's always been and will always be."

You can hear the entire interview with Kenny Petet below.


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