When I was Younger, I Would not Have Made a Good Rodeo Clown
Please Allow me to Introduce
Flint Rasmussen (born January 25, 1968) perhaps the most famous "rodeo clown" or "rodeo barrel man" in the sport of bull riding. Rasmussen and his wife, Katie, have two daughters, Shelby and Paige. Flint and his family currently reside in Choteau, Montana in the United States.
A former high school math and history teacher, Rasmussen signed a contract with Professional Bull Riders and currently provides entertainment at their events. Long associated with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Rasmussen earned the title of PRCA Clown of the Year for eight consecutive years and won the Coors Man in the Can honors seven times.
The Truth About Working as a Rodeo Clown
may sound like all fun and games, but this is a challenging career. The rodeo clown's main job is to distract the angry, dangerous bull so a fallen rider can get out of the ring before the bull charges and I ain't talking about him using a MasterCard, folks.
But before you start feeling sorry for these guys in baggy pants, huge straw hats and weird make-up, consider for a moment that rodeo clowns make money. Big money. Some rodeo clowns make from $100.00 to $500.00 per bull gig (distracting a bull) or as high as $51,000.00 per year depending on the clown's experience.
Is Proper Training Required
to work as a rodeo clown? Yes. This is a serious business that requires remarkable skills. Rodeo schools teach aspiring rodeo clowns the physical and mental techniques needed for bullfighting and the dramatic skills to entertain. This includes the process of being a barrel man, techniques for handling animals safely and mental skills to calm nerves. Specific moves in bullfighting, such as where to properly position oneself in relation to the bull, when to feign a move and when to run, may also be part of the rodeo school’s curriculum. One of the most well-known rodeo schools is Sankey Rodeo Schools, named after rodeo veteran Lyle Sankey, which includes locations throughout the United States. Rodeo clowns may also develop their skills through apprenticeships under established bullfighters.
So there you have it. Rodeo Clowns 101, to speak. Okay. You must have know that this next part was coming (if you have followed my HubPages career). Yes, at one time in my younger, much more awkward years, I seriously entertained the idea of working as a rodeo clown.
Here are my reasons (then) why?
- I would get to travel the country and see places that I would never see working the nine to five jobs.
- I would get to make important, powerful friends in the Bullriding Circuit that is swiftly becoming as popular as soccer in the U.S.A.
- I could make people from six to sixty-six laugh at my clown antics as I diverted another angry bull away from a fallen rider.
- I would be able to stash away most of my pay as a rodeo clown since I only had myself (then) to support.
Such were the dreams of an idiot. Me. Of course my dream of working as a rodeo clown never came close of becoming a reality. I suppose that reality itself took pity on me for having such dangerous dreams and moved on my life to work for 23 + years in the weekly newspaper business.
Now that time and years have teamed up to keep me at this slow pace that I am living these days, I have discovered 12 reasons why I would not have made a good rodeo clown.
- Wearing baggy jeans and the weird wardrobe could get to be a burden for me quickly. And that part about making kids and old people laugh is not always possible--for in some cities where the Professional Bullriding Association holds their competitions, "that" crowd would probably throw rocks at me for having poor people skills and to make things even more unbearable, the bull would throw bull chips at me for not having good bull skills.
- I would have to deal with the sudden attacks of home sickness. Why? My dad would not allow me to get out of our hometown, so he would have had a cardiac arrest when I laid my news on him about wanting to be a rodeo clown for a living. But people who get that once in a lifetime opportunity to travel after being kept at home do suffer depression and home sickness as a result of the sudden change in lifestyles.
- I found out that the brotherhood or rather clownhood of rodeo clowns is a close-knit fraternity who have no time to babysit green hands like myself and so there again, I would be suffering from home sickness and now group rejection from not being accepted into this special union of professionals.
- Getting dirty as part of your job is not as much fun as just getting dirty for fun and from all of the films that I have seen on rodeo clowning, these guys and gals spend some time in the dust and dirt, but for me, this would be a drag.
- Being chewed out by a rodeo clown foreman who has yellow hair, green lipstick and ragged overalls is something that I know that I could never take seriously and then comes the ultimate emotional crash of being fired by that same guy dressed in such a weird manner. What tales to share with my therapist.
- In my late teen years throughout my twenties, I was a big ol' boy (Ron White, stand up comedian plug) and I would be the one who always got himself stuck in the barrel that I was using to get the angry bull's attention to keep him from stomping the injured bullrider laying on the ground and then get hit by that same angry bull who would send me and my barrel rolling wildly out of control from the bullriding area all the way into the audience.
- Truth be known, I confess that I am afraid of certain terms and names especially when given to 2800-pounds of furious, pent-up anger in the form of a bull snorting smoke from its nostrils. When the PBR names bulls, "Devil," "Dagger," and "Doom of Death," I instantly get the shakes when standing face-to-face to an animal out to kill me. No bullrider would respect a shaking, crying rodeo clown who is curled up in the fetal position on the arena ground begging (a) bull "Devil's Dagger" for mercy.
- And facts are being facts, when one of those gorgeous bullriding groupies shows up waving at me with their long blond hair caressing their shoulders, I would be so taken by the girl that the bull would make short work of me and its rider. Then I would be called on "the barrel" and fired by "Momo" the rodeo clown foreman followed by a good butt whipping by the rider (and other bullriding friends) of (that) bull who went wild and stomped me and threw the rider into the parking lot.
- Grace under pressure is one key to being a successful rodeo clown. In my case I am very clumsy so when I would try to get an angry bull to chase me rather than stomp a poor cowboy he has thrown off, I would stumble in the dirt and get hooves in my back. Plus a trip via ambulance to the E.R. where I am laughed at by the team of highly-trained E.R. nurses and doctors.
- "If" I did perform a successful gig (getting the bull to chase me), I would hear the applause of the rodeo fans and then by simple reflex, stop to acknowledge how thankful that I am to have a few fans who love me. Then by the time I come up from my bowing at the waist, I am headed to Phoenix from a severe hit by a bull named "Hades Hank" and I do not ask anyone to explain his name.
- Being a man I would give in to my male ego and try to wrestle a chargin bull down by his neck. When I wake up I would hooked up to an I.V. with an oxygen tube up my nose and my hospital bed surrounded by angry bullriders (threatening my life) whose good buddy was not only thrown from the bull who I didn't successfully wrestle to the ground, but stomped repeatedly until being shot with a powerful animal tranquilizer.
- Then it happens. The one night in Norman, Oklahoma where the P.B.R. is holding one of its semi-final competitions with the winners going to the finals held in Houston, Texas. For some mysterious reason, I perform with the expertise of a 20-year rodeo clown vet. I cause one angry bull after the other to chase me instead of their rider and wouldn't you know it? "Chuckles Bobo," a Norman favorite (since he grew up in that town) grows jealous, beats me to a pulp after the rodeo is over, and tells "Mickey L.L. Mayonnaise," the clown rodeo foreman that I am a troublemaker and "glory hog" causing me to get fired.
No more rodeo clowning for me.
I guess, looking back, it was all for the best. I could never get a fitting rodeo clown name. All I was ever billed as was: "Log," "Toilet Seat,' and "Tommy Trash." Not a career for the thin of skin.
Good night, Fresno, California.
NOTE: no bulls were harmed in the writing of this hub.
Lots of fun Goes With Being a Rodeo Clown
Naval Academy Cheerleader Midshipman 4th Class Jaime Bradley picks up a cow chip in a bag held by rodeo clown for cow chip tossing contest
© 2017 Kenneth Avery