square dancing all of his life, having been dragged from dance to dance by his
grandparents and parents. He met and become friends with many national callers
with whom he is still friends today. After the death of his grandfather – his
hero – in 2002, Hunter decided that he wanted to do something that would always
remind him of his grandfather, and decided to start taking square dance lessons
in 2004. A mere four months later he picked up a microphone and began calling.
He is now
for two clubs, the 59ers and, in 2008, revived his
grandparent's old club, the Checkerboard Squares. Hunter called his
first festival in July of 2007 in California and has also traveled to
Japan, Germany and Australia to call and has been staff on land and cruise
trips as well.
Hunter is a member of
Callerlab and is a member Ways and Means Committee, past Callerlab Liaison for
the State of Montana and is the past Chairman of the Youth Committee.
Hunter attended the 4Dance Caller’s Academy in Napa, California with
Scot Byars as the instructor. In June of 2008, he also attended the Yellowstone
Callers College in West Yellowstone, Montana with Tony Oxendine and Jerry
Jestin as the instructors. Both of these callers colleges 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. Thank you to that fund for bettering
After the death of his
grandmother, Shirley, in January of 2014, Hunter, along with the help of Grand
Square Inc. (GSI), formed the Frank & Shirley Leenknecht Caller's
Scholarship Fund. Hunter believes that this fund will not only help preserve
the memory of his grandparents, but also help callers, which is what Frank
& Shirley loved to do. Whether it was putting them up at the house, setting
up a dance, or cooking for them, Frank & Shirley believed callers deserved
the best treatment possible. This fund will continue to honor their memory and
In 2008, Hunter was
honored with a chance to become a recording artist for Royal Records. He
recorded his first song, Wild Horses, in October of 2008.
include, first and foremost, his grandparents, Frank & Shirley Leenknecht,
plus renowned callers Joe Saltel, Tony Oxendine, Jerry Story, Ken
Bower, Gary Shoemake, and too many more to name.
Hunter is a ten-year 4-H
alumni and a past 4-H leader. Hunter credits almost everything he has learned
throughout the past 15 years to 4-H and says that, if it were not for that
program, he would not be where he is today.