Name: Billy Ray Thunder
Marital Status: single
Family/Children: I took in two boys: Andrew Kapala who rides in the bareback event and Jarvis Marshall who is 16 rides bareback and bulls.
Hometown: Ackron OH
Native American Heritage: My Grandfather was a Heron black American.
Horses: I own 2 horses, Quarter horse paint named Lakota and a Quarter horse named Spirit
Pets that you own: Wolf named Tombstone, his father is timber wolf and his mother is grey wolf and Huskey, Snowball who is mixed Aussie and Blue heeler
Events Worked: I rode bulls for the longest time about 19 years and riding in the bareback event since 2003. I served 6 years in the Army and 4 years in the Navy. And I was active in football.
Was sponsored by Huddle House for 10 years.. Billy Ray fist got involved in bareback riding by helping out at a rodeo school. He was challenged to ride, “bull riders don’t always put their hand in a bareback riggin” says Billy Ray, he got bucked off and then decided to try it again, and became hooked on the event.
Association member of: , IPRA. Bill Pickett tour rodeos, PRCA, RCA out of Longview Texas
Rodeo Accomplishments: They Call me Living Legend. I work with a lot of high school kids, won a buckle at a bulls, barrel racing event in 98 for bull riding. I qualified to the Bill Picket Invitational finals. I am a better bareback rider than a bull rider.
When did you start an interest in rodeo? While I was serving in the Army in Florida, I heard about a bull riding series in Georgia. “ I ended up going to the event, and then got on a bull, I was hurt but wanted to ride again” I ended up by going back to Georgia and went to a rodeo school where I learned about riding. Then I joined the IPRA and with the sponsorship from Huddle House I rode bulls for several years.
What other sports other than rodeo do you enjoy? I played Football in the professional league in Germany when I was serving in the Army. I tried out for the Washington Redskins”.
Are there any songs that inspire or pump you up before you ride or rope? Chris Ledioux
What are/is your favorite western movie(s)? Magnificent 7 with Yule Brenner
The Cowboys Quigly Down Under. Last of the Mohicans is his favorite Native movie and the movie, Australia, he said the boy in this movie reminds him of Andrew.
Who is your all time hero? Sylvester Stallone
What Indian Cowboy or Cowgirl has influenced you to rodeo? There is a Indian bull rider from North Carolina, I have to get back to you on his name.