Pioneer Pepper


Pioneer Pepper Background of a Singing Cowboy like Roy Rogers & Gene Autry PIONEER PEPPER – Background of a Singing Cowboy Keeping the spirit, music, and fun of the Old West alive is Pioneer Pepper. An ex-police officer from Illinois, Pioneer Pepper, traded his policeman’s badge for a guitar, packed up his family and headed west to Arizona to follow his vision and goal of being a singing cowboy. He wanted to get closer to what remained of the cowboy culture, history, and memories of the Old West. He then founded and produced, Pioneer Pepper & The Sunset Pioneers, and has brought them to their current status of international performing artists.

Pioneer Pepper has been playing guitar and singing since 1965 and has tucked away many accomplishments under his gun belt. He held the title of Illinois State Champion Guitarist for many years, took three first place titles in the USA while playing percussion in the International School of Music Orchestra. He performed at many landmark venues during his early career, such as the original Grant Park Band Shell, McCormick Place, Drury Lane Theater and one of his favorites, the historic Civic Opera House in Chicago, with the International Guitar Ensemble, where he was the featured soloist. Pioneer Pepper taught guitar and saxophone at a private music center during his high school years. Even though cowboy songs were in his heart, he loved all kinds of music and played in the musical scores “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Man of La Mancha”, and entertained professionally for six years with the Chicago based band, Catch 5.

Pioneer Pepper has always had a sincere love for the music and the ways of the west. All through his life he kept his dream alive by intertwining the cowboy spirit into reality. As a young boy he listened to his Pa’s cowboy music collection on 78’s, 45’s and 33’s, and by eighth grade he formed his first cowboy band. As years went on, Pioneer Pepper was a pilot, owned his own gas station, and then became a police officer for Kane County Illinois (just west of Chicago). Unable to ignore the call of the cowboy, he formed a cowboy band “The Prairie Sunsets” that performed for six years in the Mid West. This is when he taught himself how to yodel, “A necessity to being a singing cowboy”, he said.

Pioneer Pepper’s present adventure started in 1995 by moving to Arizona with his wife, Tomahawk, (now, that’s a good story) and two daughters, Cassandra, who was two years old, and Calena, who was five months old. Cassandra and Calena both share the stage with their “Pa” and perform with The Sunset Pioneers. Occasionally, his father (Gramps) will join them on stage with the harmonica. “My dream has come true”, he states, “I must be the most blessed Pa in the entire world to be able to have this opportunity together with my family”. Achieving his life long passion of becoming a singing cowboy has been an honor for Pioneer Pepper as he rides tall in the singing cowboy saddle. Taking the steps of faith to follow his vision has been an adventure ever since, and he considers his success a true blessing. The Sunset Pioneers have now entertained tens of thousands of appreciative fans.

In 1998 they released their first album, “Music Memories of the Cowboys”, and in 2005, released “Ballads of the Trails” which are played on radio stations, and used on TV programs, around the globe. They have filmed with the BBC-TV, from London England, are featured on RFD-TV’s Midwest Country TV Show, toured Austria, Canada, and across the United States. They have performed at the “Little House on the Prairie” TV Show reunion, the Western Film Festival, the National Festival of the West, fairs, national festivals, and on stages around the Las Vegas area. They were chosen as “Top Personalities of the Year” by the Arizona Republic Newspaper.

The Sunset Pioneers are an incredible gathering of musical talent. Pioneer Pepper sings the lead vocals, with his rich baritone voice. Pioneer Pepper also yodels, plays the guitar, harmonica, and even tap dances! He is an entertainer extraordinaire! Doc Bellows is the accordion player and sings those amazing high harmonies. He has been with Pioneer Pepper since 1998 and is his right hand man. Dusty Cartride plays the big upright buckboard bass, sings background vocals, and does some cowboy poetry. Dusty was classically trained from New York City.

Perfesser Rolland is the fiddle player, and not just one of them ordinary cowboy fiddlers. Perfesser is 14 time Arizona state fiddle champion and is also the 3 time certified division United States fiddle champion. Perfesser also sings the low harmonies in the group. Private Lee is the newest member of the Sunset Pioneers and has added his vast array of musical versatility to the group. Private Lee plays 21 different instruments, but focuses on the banjo, mandolin, trumpet, and guitar on stage and also sings some of the background vocals. Cassandra and Calena, Pioneer Pepper’s two daughters, have been performing with the Sunset Pioneers “Since the day they were born!” You’ll see their variety of talents throughout the show. Cassandra is the “Cowgirl Nightingale”, plays fiddle, and dances the Opera House pointe ballet. Calena lights up the stage with her horse shoe tap dancing, trick roping, and guitar playing.

Their Wild West Musical Stage Show is a thrilling cowboy extravaganza right out of the old west. Pioneer Pepper loads up both barrels full of dazzling entertainment with the “Greatest, Funniest, Bestest, Cowboy Stage Show Around!” with astounding vocal harmonies, yodeling, cowboy poetry, opera house pointe ballet, horse shoe tap dancing, trick roping, western memories and fun for all ages! Se ya there pardners!

You see it all in his attitude, his work, his walk, and his attire. The practicality, depth, and cowboy music are a way of life for Pioneer Pepper and his family. His true love has always been the Old West and, since forming The Sunset Pioneers has become one if it’s foremost musical advocates and an international ambassador of the singing cowboy. He is definitely keeping the music, memories, and the fun from the exciting era of the singing cowboy alive, with his Wild West Musical Stage Show! Pioneer Pepper is riding your way!

You can send eMail to Pioneer Pepper at He would love to hear from ya!