53rd Annual Montana
State Square & Round Dance Festival
May 24 - 27, 2024
Cedar Hall at MetraPark
308 6th Avenue North
Scootback to Billings
2511 1st Ave N, Billings, MT 59101 East side of downtown.
or phone (406) 259-5511 and ask for the Square Dance State Festival 2024 block.
Callers & Cuers
One of the most popular and sought after callers in the world, Tony was introduced to square dancing in 1972 through a teenage square dance program sponsored by the local Parks and Recreation Department.
With his musical background (singing professionally with a band for many years), and with his young analytical mind (majoring in both math and computer science at the University of South Carolina), he was quickly drawn into calling.
Trying to balance his time between school, his band, and his fledgling calling career quickly proved to be too much. Since he found calling so much fun, he quit the band in order to be able to devote more time to school and calling. He very quickly became very popular and soon found himself calling and teaching for five South Carolina clubs.
In 1974 Tony attended Promenade Hall Callers College in Indiana. There he first met his idol in the business - Dick Jones. Tony was so impressed with Dick that he "borrowed" much of his style and started using this new style in his own calling. Success quickly followed. Tony found himself calling all over the southeast. In 1980 Tony made the decision to go full-time with his calling. The rest, as they say, is history.
Now Tony travels almost 300 days annually doing festivals and dances all over the world. He routinely calls in over 30 states each year, and has called in almost all fifty states. Tony has also called in Canada, Saudi Arabia, England, Sweden, Germany, Japan, Holland, Denmark, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Taiwan, Australia, and Norway.
Tony, along with his partner Jerry Story, are co-owners of one of the most popular square dance record labels - Royal Records. Tony is an Accredited Caller Coach and an accredited member of CALLERLAB. He has served on CALLERLAB's Board, its Executive Board of Governors, and two terms as Chairman of the Board. In 2000, Tony received CALLERLAB's highest award - The Milestone.
In 2002, Tony branched out into the publications world. He is Editor of square dancing’s largest worldwide magazine – Square Dancing Today. Square Dancing Today is the activity’s first full-color, full size magazine. In the spring of 2002, Tony, along with his lifetime buddies Jerry Story and Larry Letson opened Pride RV Resort and Maggie Valley Square Dance Vacations in Maggie Valley, NC.
If you want to see him bubble with pride, just ask him about his three children - Ricky, Kayla, and T.J.
Hunter had been around square dancing all of his life, having been dragged from dance to dance by his grandparents and parents. His grandfather passed in 2002, and Hunter decided to start taking square dance lessons in 2004, after a little push from his grandmother. A mere six months later, he picked up a microphone and began calling. He eventually would become the caller various Billings clubs. In 2008, Hunter revived the club his grandparents formed, the Checkerboard Squares.
Hunter called his first festival in July of 2007 in California. He has called in 46 states while also traveling to Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden and Taiwan to call. Hunter has also been staff on square dance land and cruise vacations to various locations around the world.
In 2006, he became a member of CALLERLAB and is a member CALLERLAB Ways and Means Committee and the CALLERLAB Marketing Committee. Hunter is also past CALLERLAB Liaison for the State of Montana and is the past Chairman of the CALLERLAB Youth Committee.
In 2007, Hunter attended his first Caller’s School with instructor, Scot Byars. In 2008, he attended his second school with instructors, Tony Oxendine and Jerry Jestin. Both of these trainings were made possible by the Bob Mace Memorial Fund. Bob Mace was a caller that Hunter grew up around when his parents and grandparents danced. In 2009, Hunter was blessed to have an opportunity to have a week-long, one-on-one training with Jerry Story and Tony Oxendine at Pride RV Resort in Maggie Valley, North Carolina.
In August of 2008, Hunter was invited to become a recording artist for Royal Records. He recorded his first song, Wild Horses by Garth Brooks (Hunter's biggest musical influence), in October of that year and has since gone on to record over 30 square dance records. In 2010, with the guidance of Larry and Susan Sperry, Hunter began to cue round dancing and released his first choreographed dance in December of 2019. Hunter cues through Phase V.
Hunter resides in Billings, Montana where he works as a Funeral Director after getting his Mortuary Science Degree in 2022. He is a ten-year 4-H alumni, a former 4-H leader, and a former Jaycees Member.
Larry & Susan Sperry
Larry and Susan have been dancing together since their high school years. They began cueing and teaching round dancing in the l980's and continue to be passionate about the program. They particularly enjoy teaching new dancers. They have been featured leaders for many state and regional conventions, including Canada and Hawaii. Their original choreography has been popular around the country as well. They belong to Round-A-Lab and have received the 40 year service award. They offer many varied programs throughout the dance season including social dance classes. The Sperry’s are Resident Round Dance Leaders at Towerpoint Resort in Mesa AZ . The teach and cue six sessions weekly for beginners through phase 5 from November through April. They also teach and cue at Sun City, AZ in the Fall and Winter months. They travel to dance, teach and cue at Festivals and events around the Western US during the summer. The Sperry’s retired from an automotive repair business. They have two grown sons and 2 grandchildren and 1 great granddaughter. Dancing has been a huge part of Larry and Susan's life for many years and has given them much pleasure through their travels around the country. They hope to continue to bring new dancers into the activity for years to come