Kevin Holten launches new Wild Rides TV channel
Mar. 16—DICKINSON — Kevin Holten recently launched his cowboy themed media channel called Wild Rides TV. It's a pay-per-view television network created for the purpose of gathering rich western history for generations to share. And to tell real stories about real cowboys and cowgirls in real life. In other words, its purpose is to tell the cowboy and cowgirl stories accurately.
Holten said there used to be widespread stereotypes in the 1990s about cowboys being illiterate hicks and he's sought to dispel some of those by interviewing real people. The popularization of country music that decade also helped crush many of those negative cliches, he said.
"There's still kind of an aura around the cowboy as this hard drinking, fast flipping person. But a lot of the current rodeo cowboys are very concerned about their (health). It's become so competitive, they're very much into working out and eating properly," Holten said in a phone interview with The Dickinson Press.
He also argued that the 'cowboy way' entails a lifestyle of chivalry, and that this way of life has evolved somewhat over the years but the fundamentals are still the same.
"The cowboy lives by the cowboy code. And that is, tip your hat to a lady when you're walking down the sidewalk, open the door for people. Your word is your word, you know, your word is as good as a contract... Hard work, show courage, be independent," he said. "It's a lot of features the world likes because the cowboy also represents freedom."
Holten feels compelled to fight back against certain cultural trends and promulgate the rugged virtues he believes in so strongly.
"Rural America, the Western lifestyle and commonsense are all under attack; primarily because those Western and rural entities, in their own way, represent and stand up for freedom. And what we are doing for the Western industry is telling the truth. And the truth is not only a good story, but it's also the best story," he stated in an email to The Press.
Relatedly, one Wild Rides show is called Western Justice. According to their website, "This series is committed to upholding the rights and liberties of horse breeders, owners, trainers, and exhibitors while ensuring the welfare of livestock and the western way of life. In the process it explores those entities who are, for whatever reason, determined to destroy the way of life for ranchers, farmers, and rural America."
He said one of the most inspiring people he's met conducting interviews and working in media is
a barrel racer who survived a life changing accident. Snyder hosts one of the budding network's 13 shows. It's called Pure Grit and explores the journeys of other resilient individuals who've powered through adversity.
"Few people know more about perseverance than her, she was really impressive," he said. "She doesn't live with any excuses. She still battles on."
Holten grew up in Wild Rose, N.D. His ties to agriculture in the Roughrider State run deep.
"My grandfathers were farmer-ranchers. I began working on my uncle's ranch when I was like 10 years old, was on ranches all through college and rode in rodeo until I was 40 in saddle bronc," he said.
He earned a journalism degree from the University of North Dakota before taking a newspaper job in Boulder, CO, eventually moving into magazine publishing and now television. He said it's been an amazing ride that's enabled him to live all over the country and travel the world. He loves gleaning the wisdom of so many people and learning their stories.
"We can interview anybody in this world and they'll make a good episode. Because everybody has value... Like fingerprints, they're all different. Everybody has a special story," he said. "Of the 600 or 700 shows that we've done in the past years there's probably only two people who I thought were hard to interview... So it's been a real interesting ride. And it just gets more interesting all the time."
He noted there's been a lot of deeply emotional moments with subjects discussing family bonds, cherished memories and things they're grateful for; and that's what makes the show powerful. He also emphasized that all Wild Rides content is family friendly and uniquely authentic.
"If you interview people for an hour, you learn a lot about 'em. And you kind of get pretty close to them... You make a lot of friends that way if they trust you and open up to you, which, for some reason they do to me. I don't know why. But the thing about the network is, anyone in the family of any age can watch any program," he said. "People (we interview) are being open and honest when telling their story. And that's important. The stories are as compelling and will rival any story, any script that Hollywood writes. Except they're true, and that's powerful."
is a livestock range manager who lives in the Richardton area. He helps Holten with the musical element of producing his show.
"I was a former professional bull rider. And Kevin was a professional saddle bronc rider so that really helps us to tell the stories of the cowboy and cowboy life," Paulson said. "That's what I do with my music, try to tell stories about the Western way of life, rodeo and ranching."
Paulson is the lead singer of a local band called
and has played many times at Dickinson's decades long running music festival
First on First.
He said the band will be releasing their newest album soon.
Learn more about Wild Rides by visiting
The channel is available for $6.99 per month on most popular streaming platforms such as Roku and Amazon Fire TV among others.