Contrary to popular belief, being a rodeo clown is no joke. While the face paint, wig and mismatched plaid overalls might throw you off, rodeo clowns were introduced to bull riding as a means to protect thrown riders from being trampled or maimed.
In honour of this misunderstood profession, we thought we’d go over some of the quintessential skills required to be a rodeo clown. Here are a few things that you might find on their CV.
- Good with people, better with animals
When you’re put in a ring with 2,000 pounds of raw fury – that will far exceed your worst day in anger management training – you should probably have some understanding of how bulls work. Waving red in their face will do little. Many rodeo clowns are former rodeo stars who’ve spent years working alongside these giants.
- A dedicated and hardworking employee who received specialized training….
Further to point 1, this isn’t a profession you just walk into. It actually takes special training and working on the rodeo circuit beforehand is preferred. Many rodeo clowns attend rodeo clown school (YES such a thing exists) where students learn the art of face paint, comedy routines and two stepping with bovines.
- Someone who works well under pressure
This should be self-explanatory
- A former member of the varsity track team
When you have a bull charging you, it’s generally considered a good thing to be physically fit. To stay in one piece, you’ll need to be quick on your feet, capable of jumping out of the way and taking the odd hit. This is real tough guy stuff. Think ‘Die Hard’ with a bolo tie.
- Has an engaging personality
Besides risking your neck, you’re also supposed to be funny, like really funny. If the crowd isn’t entertained or laughing then you won’t last long. This is Russell Peters meets Roman gladiator kind of expectations.
- Considered to be excellent at multi-tasking
Think of it this way; working as a rodeo clown is like being an account manager where your clients depend on you in life and death situations, tensions run high all the time and there’s no such thing as having an ‘off’ day.