RodeoChat Interview: The Floating Horses – The Life Of Casey Tibbs


A couple of weeks ago I was introduced to the film crew/Family of the movie The Floating Horses – The Life of Casey Tibbs! During the introduction I was asked if I would be willing to help spread the word and maybe do an interview with the crew! This was one AMAZING opportunity that I could not pass up!! With that being said – I did my research on the film, and took some time to get too know the crew, and the family of Casey Tibbs! Here are the questions I came up with, and the answers they came back with:

RodeoChat: How did the movie Floating Horses – The Life of Casey Tibbs come about?

Justin Koehler: I was nearing completion of my previous documentary film, The Buffalo King, when I began tossing around ideas for a succeeding project. As a South Dakota native, Casey Tibbs was always at the top of my production wish-list. I was familiar with his legendary status and contribution to the sport of rodeo, but what I didn’t realize, was that his life outside of rodeo was just as compelling. I began some initial research on Casey, and within a short time I knew that Casey’s story was destined to be told on the big screen. 

RodeoChat: You guy’s have an AMAZING advertising video for the movie “Floating Horses” . How did you come up with the idea to make an advertising video, and how did you get some big name country stars like Charley Daniels involved?

Justin Koehler: Aaron Pendergast and I put a lot of thought, time, and effort into editing the Floating Horses sneak peek. The saying goes, “You get one chance to make a good first impression”, and that’s what we hope to accomplish with this sneak peek. We wanted audiences to see that Casey’s story is an in-depth, thoughtful, and candid look into who he was as a person and how he became one of the most famous cowboys in American history. 

Getting big name stars involved and excited about interviewing for Floating Horses is made a whole lot easier when you have Casey Tibbs as your subject matter. Everyone I spoke with, man or woman, said the same thing, “I loved Casey Tibbs.” He made a lasting impression on everyone he met and people were eager to share their memories of Casey.
RodeoChat: The great thing about Floating Horses – The Life Of Casey Tibbs movie is all brought together by a fund called Kickstar. So – It’s like everyone that chipped in a couple of bucks helped make the movie happen. What made you decide to get the company Kickstarter involved?
Justin Koehler: Kickstarter is a tremendous platform for independent artists, and it’s a simple concept described as “crowd funding”. For example, if you can inspire 1,000 people to donate just $5.00, then you can raise $5,000 toward your project. As a contributor, you also receive exclusive perks in return, so you walk away with some cool and rare items related to Casey’s film. You can view our Kickstarter fundraising campaign for Casey here
RodeoChat: Social Media has been an important role in the making of Floating Horses – The Life Of Casey Tibbs. Kind of give us an insight to how important social media is to the movie, and how much it has helped get the word out about the movie.
Justin Koehler: For an independent filmmaker, social media is an incredible way to interact with fans and ever so important in spreading the word that a film is being produced about Casey Tibbs. It also gives a person a look into how passionate, motivated, and committed we are to Casey’s project. If you started searching through our Facebook page for Floating Horses, it might take a week to view all of the articles, photographs, and updates we’ve posted about Casey and the film 🙂 (
RodeoChat: On Facebook – I have seen a few of your clips that will be featured in the Casey Tibbs movie. What was your favorite part to film that will be featured in the Casey Tibbs movie?
Justin Koehler: Casey’s early life struggles are interesting to me. He was born about 7 months before Black Tuesday, so the effort and determination to dig himself out of the hardships and poverty of the Great Depression is fascinating. It’s the literal meaning of a “rags to riches” story.
RodeoChat: When I talked to you on the phone earlier. You had mentioned that Floating Horse – The Life Of Casey Tibbs will start off at film festivals? Why film festivals? Also – Do you think that film festivals will help expand the rodeo/western lifestyle more?
Justin Koehler: When you have no major studio financial backing, film festivals are a way to open doors toward recognition and visibility with investors and distribution companies. Every filmmaker wants their film to be viewed by the masses, but the majority of us don’t have the luxury of being released into movie theaters throughout the country like the multimillion dollar films you see at your hometown theater. If Floating Horses is fortunate to be selected into film festivals across the country, then I think Casey’s story will interest countless people and will shed light on the sport of rodeo and the Western lifestyle. 
RodeoChat: Casey Tibbs – Rodeo event he competed in was Saddle Bronc Riding. I hear a lot of people tell me that the Bronc Riding industry is dieing. Do you think that Casey Tibbs riding bucking horses and this movie of Casey Tibbs will help shine the light on the bucking horse industry, and maybe get more people involved in bareback riding and saddle bronc riding?
Justin Koehler: Many people believe that Casey Tibbs brought the sport of rodeo to national attention, and to be honest, it would be tough to argue with that statement. Casey captured the attention of rodeo fans, but more important, he captured the attention of non-rodeo people. He lured those curious people into the rodeo arena, and they arrived to watch a young, handsome, charismatic, flamboyant and talented cowboy ride a bronc for a few seconds then dismount. Casey mesmerized people before, and I believe he can be that kind of magnetic figure again within this film.  
RodeoChat: Let’s say that the Floating Horses – The Life Of Casey Tibbs breaks headlines and sells out everywhere.. Would you think about making a part 2?
Justin Koehler: Having that kind of success with this documentary film would be a blessing, but there will not be a sequel to Floating Horses. We hope to tell Casey’s life story to the best of our ability within this feature documentary film. 
RodeoChat: How many hours, days, weeks did it take you to film the movie Floating Horses – The Life Of Casey Tibbs?
Justin Koehler: Once the film is completed, it’s easy to say that I will have logged over 3,000 hours toward the production of Floating Horses: The Life of Casey Tibbs.
RodeoChat: What’s one thing that you learned from Casey Tibbs from filming the Floating Horses – The Life Of Casey Tibbs story?
Justin Koehler: Casey Tibbs once said, “Never leave home for 2nd.” What I learned from Casey is that if you’re going to step out of your front door and venture into the world, then you better give it your #1 effort.
Paige Gregory
RodeoChat Owner And Founder

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