How Do I Become a Rodeo Clown?

If you enjoy making people laugh, the thrill of a good performance and an element of danger, you might wonder how to become a rodeo clown. Rodeo clowns perform in the rodeo ring in front of an audience. Like other clowns, rodeo clowns entertain people with comedy. Unlike other clowns, rodeo clowns participate in the bullfighting action of a rodeo. Part of their job is to distract the bull, which can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds, and help keep fallen riders safe. This can be a dangerous and physically demanding job, but it can also be a rewarding one.

As a comedian and entertainer, a rodeo clown must be comfortable performing in front of an audience. Rodeo clowns’ comedy routines might include slapstick stunts, trained animal demonstrations, acrobatics, pyrotechnics, skits and standup routines. Successful clowns have charisma and a knack for making audiences laugh. A rodeo clown’s attire, usually baggy pants and outlandish face paint, adds to the humor.

Due to their responsibilities during the rodeo show, rodeo clowns are also known as bullfighters. These bullfighters protect riders, or cowboys, that fall from the bull. When rodeo clowns distract the animal so that a fallen cowboy can escape to safety, they put their own safety on the line. Though they wear clown makeup, their jobs require serious courage and superior physical fitness. Some rodeo clowns participate in a routine in which they hide from a bull in a barrel. The barrel, which typically consists of approximately 175 pounds of heavy gauge steel and a foam rubber lining, is specifically designed to withstand damage. However, rodeo clowns are still taking great physical risk when they get inside the barrel. For that reason, rodeo clowns must keep themselves in excellent physical shape to be able to withstand the strong impact of being struck by a bull and recover from any injuries that they sustain.

Work as a rodeo clown is serious business that requires remarkable skills. Rodeo schools teach aspiring rodeo clowns the physical and mental techniques required 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.

Rodeo clowns typically get paid per gig. Wages depend heavily on reputation. Though the career path promises neither job security nor exceptionally lucrative earnings, it provides personal satisfaction to those who love to make others laugh and thrive on risk-taking. Knowing how to become a rodeo clown can get you on your way to an exciting, fast-paced career.

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