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Announcer-turned-pastor in Oklahoma finds when one door closes, another opens

Oklahoman Justin McKee hosts ‘Inside the WNFR' during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
by Bryan Painter Modified: December 7, 2013 at 10:00 pm •  Published: December 7, 2013

— Justin McKee's life might seem real complicated to some.

In past or present, McKee's life includes being a rancher, rodeo and bull riding announcer, television personality, steer roper and pastor.

But keeping the latter in mind, the 45-year-old from Lenapah says his life is real simple. It's not about the microphone or rope he holds, or the cattle he tends to on his and wife Jeannie's ranch in northeastern Oklahoma.

One way he keeps life simple is by leading a cowboy church of 200 to 300 people each Monday night at the old rock gym in Lenapah.

“Most of our ministry is outside of the building,” McKee said of also meeting at a rodeo arena in that area for ranch and cowboy events.

“I believe you've got to take the church to the people, not just meet in a building and hope they show up.

“It's really about building friendships and letting people see God is real by watching how we live and where our strength comes from.”

Rodeo circuit

McKee grew up south of Edna, Kan., near the Kansas and Oklahoma state line. Now, Justin, Jeannie and 13-year-old daughter Kassidy live on the place near where Jeannie grew up. They have cattle, bluestem and Bermuda on this ranch and also have pastures in Craig County, Latimer County and in east Texas.

But in December, McKee leaves the ranch and heads west to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

In addition to December's live coverage of the WNFR, the Great American Country television network presents the nightly series “Inside the WNFR,” co-anchored by McKee, a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association announcer, and Suzanne Alexander, host of Great American Country's music series “Great American Playlist.”

“Inside the WNFR” features recaps of the events, standings reports, athlete profiles and more, and runs through Dec. 14.

“Every day on ‘Inside the WNFR' is a blast,” McKee said. “Suzanne is one of the most talented people I have ever worked with. It feels a little like hosting College Football GameDay. Every guest we have on the show I think, ‘Wow, I'm talking to them.'

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by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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I just thought my life was great before, but helping people find the light has been the most fulfilling thing I've ever done.”

Justin McKee,


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