The rodeo clown

Rodeo traditions: Send in the clowns

Sometimes unrecognized for their efforts, raise your hats to the honorable rodeo clown

  • May. 19, 2016 7:00 p.m.

Traditionally, the rodeo clown is an entertainer who is tasked with providing comic relief during the intense bullfights.

Dating back to the early 1900s, clowns have been hired to be fillers in a rodeo. At times of fallen riders, clowns would be sent in to distract the bull. However, they would also entertain between events and at times helped with the agricultural part of the events and manage the livestock.

Rodeo clowns wore baggy clothes, flamboyant in color and oversized. At times, you may see them with a rubber chickens, balloons, noise makers or confetti barrels and garbage cans.

Aside from mocking the announcer, the rodeo clown’s role is quite important. The official rules of being a rodeo clown consists of knowing the technique of the bull ride such as: shouting, running in different tangents, or throwing clothing items such as their hats. They must enter the event on foot, work as a team to distract the bull when the rider is gearing up or if he has fallen. If the rider falls, the clown must wedge himself between the bull and the rider.

There have been serious injuries, and sometimes even fatalities, in the role of a rodeo clown. Sometimes unrecognized for their efforts in the event, take a moment this weekend to raise your hats to the honorable rodeo clown.

– Shana Vanderark is an author and mother. Follow her on Instagram @ShanaMamaa


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