Hunter had been around 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 six months later he picked up a microphone and began calling. He eventually would become the caller for four Billings clubs: the Magic Diamonds, the 59ers, the Hoedowners, and, in 2008, after reviving the club his grandparents formed, the Checkerboard Squares.
Hunter called his first festival in July of 2007 in California. He has also called in over 35 states while also travelling to Japan, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Belgium, Sweden and Taiwan to call. Hunter has been staff on square dance land and cruise vacations to various locations around the world as well.
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 October of 2007, 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 callers.
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 their wishes.
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 and has since gone on to record over 25 square dance records.
Hunter’s influences include, first and foremost, his grandparents, Frank & Shirley Leenknecht, his father and mother, Dave and Tina Keller, plus many renowned callers from around the world.
Hunter currently resides in Billings, Montana. He is a ten-year 4-H alumni, a past 4-H leader, and a Jaycees Member. Hunter credits many life skills that 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.
Copyright Hunter Keller. All rights reserved.