Behind the Scenes of the Rodeo
My name is Richard Waters, but my friends call me Whiskey Dick cause I love the booze. Thanks to the internet, any idiot can find out who's looking for rodeo clown help. My search took 6 months but I finally landed with Extreme Rodeo. My experience taught me that rodeo clowns are selfless people who put themselves in harms way to save their co-workers. It is absolutely one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet. Buckle up Bronco, you're about to get a behind the scenes look at the life of a rodeo clown.
Welcome to Extreme Rodeo
Get in your barrel rookie!
My first day on the job, my boss pulled me aside and said, "You're here because hiring a bunch of chimps would be too expensive!" That was my introduction to the rodeo. The job is quit simple: Distract the bull so the rider can escape without getting injured.
A rodeo clown does not carry many tools. We were armed with a cattle prod, clown make-up and occasionally a T-Shirt gun that we would use to pump up the crowd.
During the day, the cowboys and rodeo clowns would practice. As a rookie, what I was supposed to do and what I actually did were two seperate things.
My first actual rodeo was in Tulsa. The outdoor stadium was filled to capacity with adoring fans. I can still remember jogging out to my barrel and noticing how peaceful the night sky looked.
The announcer's voice booms over the speakers as he announces the rider's name. The gate violently swings open and it becomes painfully obvious that the bull is not happy about having a passenger on his back. The cowboy tried his best but was thrown after 3 seconds.
It all happened so fast!
I jumped out of my barrel and ran as fast as I could trying to remember what I was taught in training.
"Boogie Boogie Boogie," I yelled at the bull.
He set his eyes on me and suddenly I was running as fast as I could in my clown costume. I was so scared that I lost my bearings and instead of running in a z formation back to my barrel, I freaked and just started running all over the ring like a crazy man.
Tragically, I ran full speed into the cowboy, knocking him directly into the bull's path. He was absolutely leveled!
From the crowd's perspective it must have looked like I pushed him, but I swear it was accidental.
Panicked, I hopped over the gate to save myself while our helpless cowboy was pummeled by the massive animal. That poor man suffered two cracked ribs, a concussion, crushed testicles and sever internal bleeding.
The only reason I didn't get fired was because the media picked up on the story and the owner thought people might come to see me at the next night's rodeo.
Whew! I was relieved, yet I still felt somewhat guilty about the injured cowboy.
Rodeo Clown Essentials
Booze & Bulls Don't Mix
The only way I was going to climb back in my barrel was through the help of some strong alcohol. I polished off half a bottle of whiskey and stumbled out to my spot on the field. The promoters gave me the T-Shirt gun, which I was supposed to shoot out to the crowd in between riders.
It's important that you remember that I was drunk when you hear about what I ended up doing that night. Let me put it another way, I was fearless drunk and very eager to do whatever it took to put on a good show.
In a matter of minutes the buzzer rang, the crowd went nuts and a very angry bull charged out with our most popular rider, Boo Jenkins trying to hang on. Boo lasted 7 seconds, which is a big deal in the rodeo world. The crowd was fired up!
I was drunk and very jealous that Boo was getting all of the attention. Since the crowd seemed to like it when the other cowboy got injured, I decided to kick things up a bit.
I ran out of my barrel, grasping the cattle prod firmly in my right hand. I was racing all over the place to avoid the bull, but my real goal was to get to Jenkins. I was running full speed towards him, like a linebacker after a quarterback. Once I got close enough, I drove the cattle prod into his back, instantly dropping him to his knees.
The crowd was more horrified than pleased. Jenkins, in great pain, looked up at me and said, "Why? What the hell did I ever do to you?"
I felt horrible and the once loving crowd had suddenly turned against me. It was time for me to go to plan B. Sprinting back to my barrel, I took out the t-shirt gun as other rodeo clowns flooded the ring to chase me down. I was firing the T-Shirt gun at the rodeo clowns to keep them away. Suddenly I remember the other clowns clearing out and jumping the wall. I cautiously turned around and saw the bull charging at me full speed from the opposite end of the ring.
Bam! I felt myself floating through the air. For a moment everything was so peaceful. Then the pain flooded my body. I remember being violently slammed to the ground, then speared by the bull's horn. I passed out a few seconds later from the pain.
I don't remember the next 3 months.
When I got out of the coma, I assumed that I would still have a job and that Extreme Rodeo would pay for all my medical bills, plus a little extra for all my pain and suffering. Believe it or not, they had fired me the night of the incident and refused to pay my medical bills!
I've been trying to get new work with a different rodeo but it's like the industry black-balled me.
My message to aspiring rodeo clowns: THE RODEO IS ALL ABOUT POLITICS AND KISSING BUTT TO GET UP THE LADDER!