Trigger won’t be there, but Roy Rogers has come back to life for the Equifest of Kansas.
That’s not a true statement, and even more sadly many of those attending have no idea who Trigger and Roy are.
However, one of the most renowned demanded horseshow announcers will be there introducing the special programs.
Wayne Williams of Whitewater, Wisconsin, will serve as master of ceremonies for the Equifest at Salina, March 5-6-7.
“We feel so very fortunate to have Wayne coming to Equifest this year,” appreciated Justine Staten of the Kansas Horse Council, event sponsor.
“Wayne is demanded and has announced most of the largest horse events throughout the country,” Staten said. “His popular and acclaimed Speaking of Horses Shows have the most dedicated nationwide following.”
From his country home, Williams, preferably known as Wayne, talked about his life with horses, broadcasting and announcing.
“I’ve always had a love of horses ever since I got my first pony when I was six-years-old,” Wayne said. “I enjoy owning horses, riding horses and being involved with anything to do with horses.”
Before elaborating further a bit of clarification on Wayne’s tie to Roy Rogers. “He was my hero along with Gene Autry, both silver screen movie cowboys in the early ’50s,” Wayne said. “I’ve always had palomino horses like Roy Rogers’ Trigger. I’ve had a lot fun portraying Roy Rogers in honor of that famous singing cowboy on a number of occasions.
“Of course, I don’t sing or do any shooting stunts and my horse doesn’t know any tricks,” Wayne admitted.
While singing cowboys with world famous horses were popular to Wayne’s generation, it’s a different world nowadays.
“Young people today even those who are middle age don’t have a clue who Roy Rogers is,” Wayne said. “Roy and Trigger were my heroes and to all of my friends, but this is a changed time. Now when I portray Roy most of those who see me ask ‘who was that?’ It makes me so sad.”
However, Wayne still enjoys dressing up like Roy putting his silver saddle on his palomino horse and riding in events.
“My wife Pat has a buckskin gelding she named Buttermilk after Roy’s wife Dale Evans’ horse. So Pat and I ride our palomino and buckskin horses portraying Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.
“We have a skit with short narrative accompanied by Roy and Dale music we have often presented along with riding in parades. Most people may not know who Roy and Dale are, but we’re always having a good time anyway,” Wayne insisted.
Starting out studying music as a trumpet player, Wayne changed his college major to broadcasting early on.
“My original professional career was on the air as a disc jockey as well as a newscaster,” he said. “I also had the opportunity to work behind the scenes both in production and sales.”
Through his radio popularity working for a number of stations, Wayne was called upon to announce local horseshows.
“I am not a horse expert, but with my horse background and broadcasting experience, it worked out well,” he said. “I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to grow and now be asked to announce so many major horse events.”
Since 1985, Wayne has totally dedicated himself to the equine industry. “Announcing horse events evolved from a part time passion to a fulltime career,” he said.
The “Voice” of more than 20 top horse expositions nationwide and in Canada, Wayne has announced from Sacramento to Baltimore.
Among those are the World Equestrian Games, Rose Bowl Pre-Parade Show, the Indy 500 Parade, and Culver Military Academies. He’s been the “Voice of Breyerfest” at the Kentucky Horse Park for more than two decades.
“It’s been a privilege to host the ‘Theater Equus’ during the Horse World Expo every March in Pennsylvania,” Wayne said.
“The Speaking of Horses Show was developed especially for horse enthusiasts,” Wayne said. “This radio and video show features interviews with professionals, celebrities, and people just like you who love horses.
“I’ve had the opportunity to interview many of the best horsemen in the world. I’ve seen some of most outstanding horse athletes perform at their ultimate,” Wayne appreciated.
With his close involvement in all aspects of the horse world, Wayne still gets his greatest personal enjoyment on horseback. “I’m far from a horse trainer, but I enjoy riding my horses on the trail and in parades,” he insisted.
Admitting he doesn’t look much like the real Roy Rogers, Wayne is especially proud of his costumes and saddles.
“Actually Pat looks more like Dale Evans than I do Roy Rogers. But our costumes are quite similar to those of the real stars,” he said. “I have two silver saddles made by Ted Flowers in Indiana. They are in great condition and really set off our beautiful palomino and buckskin horses.
“I won’t have my horse or maybe not even mention Roy Rogers at Equifest,” Wayne clarified. “Still, I’m very excited to be coming to Kansas and looking forward to working with all of the clinicians and entertainment.”
Speaking of Horses will be cooperating with Everything Horses and Livestock and Better Horses Media to bring the Equifest of Kansas to social media, television, radio, podcasts, and more.