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 four months later he picked up a
microphone and began calling.
He is now the caller 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
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.
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.
Hunter’s influences 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.