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On June 12, 1973, while tearing a house down
for his dad and thinking the electricity had
been shut off, John climbed an electric pole to
cut some wires.  Problem was, he was dead
wrong about the status of the wires.  7,200
volts of electricity ran through his entire body
for an unbearable 10 seconds. John
remembers the electrocution clearly.  He tried
to release his grip, but could not. It burnt
through his fingers of his right hand, releasing
his grip and fell 25 feet to his

After lying
dead on the ground for
approximately five minutes, he came to with
his sidekick pounding on his chest and giving
him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Gary
Hughes delivered John
back from the dead,
but he was in bad shape. The electricity
grounded to the pole through his abdomen,
leaving his intestines protruding. The voltage
had also burnt his left thigh, as well,
exposing his thighbone from his knee several
inches up.  His flaming clothes had to be put
out upon reaching the ground.  He couldn't
focus his eyes, he thought he was blind.
John S. Payne, the
One Arm Bandit,
was born to a rancher in the
oil rich town of Shidler,
Oklahoma on April 19,
1953. Ranch life with four
brothers taught John to
“Get out of the way or get
run over".  John believes
"When the going gets
tough, the tough get going"
and "If there is a will, there
is a way".
His occupations have included: Rancher, Saloon Owner, Gambler,
Wild Cattle catcher, and Professional Rodeo Entertainer!
In 1975 John took a liking to Judy
Crabtree and they married.  John
and Judy are responsible for what
is now the most sought after gang
in the rodeo world today,
The One
Arm Bandit Gang
What is it like to receive a shock of 7,200 volts?  “Super hot.”  “It felt like my blood was boiling, and that
my brain was going to explode.  It felt like a monster was savagely attacking my body.”  

The doctors wanted to cut off John’s left leg but he told them; “I can’t ride a horse with one leg, and if I
can’t ride a horse I don’t want to live.”  The doctors did, however, cut off his right arm below his shoulder.

Despite the massive electrocution, he survived. What hurt the most afterwards was his chest, which had
been worked over by his rescuer during CPR. After a mad dash to the Ponca City Hospital, an ER nurse
asked John what he was allergic to.  While staring death in the face, John wittingly answered "Electricity
makes me break-out a bit", proving his sense of humor was still in tact.

After 5 weeks in the Tulsa burn center, the doctor reported, “No apparent brain damage, but he will be
short handed.”  So John checked himself out and went home to start breaking a horse he had bought while
in the hospital.
John has headlined the
most wanted list since
Thanks to family and friends, The One Arm
Bandit & Co. has won the prestigious title
of PRCA “Specialty Act of the Year” an
unprecedented 1
2 times.
John Payne aka The One Arm Bandit
More Pictures of John
John believes anything can
be accomplished through
sheer nerve, determination,
and the drive to excel in
one's field.
Another standing ovation in Spokane, WA. for
John and the great horse "Josey".
"Bugsy & Bart" keep an eye on their Master.
Super horse "Tucker", a mustang from Battle
Mountain, NV, proved to be one of the great ones.
"Outlaw", a new prospect.