Living the life of a cowboy is every young boy’s childhood dream. Cameron King, a 2020 Garfield graduate, has made that dream come true, having dropped out of college to live life and become a full-time cowboy.
“For me it was just a love of horses and every time people ask me after I work for a rodeo company, and they ask me why don’t I rodeo?” King told The Weekly Villager. “When I was learning, I wanted to be the best rider I could be. All I do is try to get closer to horses and I love horses.
Since moving to Montana after his sophomore year at Hiram College, King has followed the cowboy lifestyle quite well, working as an extra on the set of the hit TV series Yellowstone, starring Kevin Costner, and also as a performer on its spinoff, 1923. , starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren.
King now works as a pick-up man for Red Eye Rodeo, a traveling rodeo company specializing in high school and college rodeos. His responsibilities include riding horses during the rodeo and picking up competitors riding horses or bulls, helping them dismount safely.
“We’re all very proud of him,” said King’s father, Aaron, owner of Sky Lane Bowling. “He’s a very focused kid. When he decides he wants to be good at something, he’ll work at it until it’s done. He became an excellent drummer in high school, a very good basketball player and an excellent hitter.”
While in high school, Cameron’s entire schedule revolved around sports, competing in basketball, baseball, golf, and football, and he was also a drummer in the band.
During his senior year, Cameron served as a counselor at Camp Fitch in Springfield, PA for Garfield’s fifth graders, and came home wanting to take riding lessons.
Cameron took a job at Sand Hills Stable, a boarding stable in Shalersville Township, and took riding lessons from Mark Troyer, owner of Garrettsville’s Fox Hill Stables.
“He got roped on the day and I knew that, so I texted him and went over to his place and started learning how to rope and ride,” Cameron noted. “I worked at a boarding stable for a couple of years and pretty much any chance I got, I’d ask him if I could ride.”
After graduating from Garfield, Cameron attended Hiram College for two years before deciding to pursue a full-time career with horses and took a job at Rock Creek Dude Ranch in Phillipsburg, MT.
“It’s crazy that one of the few people who accepted me was the nicest in the world, and to me it shows if you’re motivated, people see that and they’ll give you opportunities,” Cameron said. “Someone could be a lot more capable than me, but if they don’t show up every day, then they’re not worth hiring.”
Most of the people he worked with on the ranch were around his age, having left home for the first time to learn how to live independently.
“I was 2,000 miles away from home and I didn’t know anyone, but then I started to fall in love with the place rather than the people,” Cameron added. “It was the most beautiful place I had ever been in my life.”
Cameron applied to be an extra Yellowstone via Facebook in the summer of 2022 and was accepted. During one day of filming, he was approached by an assistant director and asked to be in a scene with some of the show’s cast members.
King was given a few seconds of exposure during a branding scene in the seventh episode of the show’s fifth season and used that experience to make a fight on set 1923 in Butte, MT.
During filming YellowstoneCameron met Bobby Lovegren, an expert horse trainer who had worked on many famous projects such as Sea biscuit, Django Unbound and Return of the Lonesome Doveand hired him to work at 1923 until November 2022, when he left to become a pick-up man for the Red Eye Rodeo.
“I had worked with a bunch of guys who are from Montana and know the area and the people,” Cameron said. “I told them I want to learn to pack and they gave me a name, Kaehl Berg, who owns Red Eye Rodeo. They gave me his phone number and I called him one day and said, “Hey Kaehl, I want to learn how to lift and how can I do it?”
Cameron is entering his second year as a pick-up man for the company and is enjoying the offseason but still has his hands full. He works with about 200 head of cattle, 80 bulls and 100 horses and is only one of three workers who look after the herd.
Once the rodeo season begins in late March, Cameron will travel extensively with the company through September.