Rodeo Clowns Are Surprisingly Badass

“Of course you wish you were me.  My name is fucking Slim Pickens.”

~Fucking Slim Pickens


Badass American professions tend to look appropriately badass.  Firefighter outfits are the envy of every five year old on the block, cops get to wear uniforms that make them 30% more attractive, and people in the Army don’t have to wear those stupid berets anymore.  Superheroes get super costumes, and porn stars wear nothing, usually you can get a good idea of what line of work someone is in by what they wear.  However, every once in a while, incredibly American professions are given somewhat demeaning appearances, and the sheer degree of don’t-give-a-fuck emanated by these professionals only goes to prove their American values.

When thinking of the most American, badass profession that requires the most demeaning, confusing costumes, there is only one group of people who fit the bill.

That’s right.  We’re talking about Rodeo Clowns.

Seen here giggling and skipping away from the Grim Reaper (in bull form)

Rodeo Clowns get to put on face makeup to pretend to be the one thing that Bart Simpson is afraid of so they can go around and play one prolonged game of “Got your nose” with two thousand pounds of pissed off muscle.  While Rodeo riders have the admittedly terrifying and American job of trying to sit on a raging bull for as long as possible, it’s the Rodeo Clowns that make sure that no one, you know, dies.  Rodeo Clowns have become increasingly more important since the 1930’s, when America realized, “Hey, this is America,” and started using Brahman bulls, which are more aggressive, for rodeos (possibly while suggestively gesturing towards their junk with raised eyebrows).

To be a Rodeo Clown, you need to be agile, fast, able to determine how a bull will behave in any situation, and also be able to entertain people during the boring parts of the event that don’t involve giant bulls kicking around (seriously, Rodeos have more dead time where nothing happens than a baseball game pitched by Jamie Moyer).  The only difference between a Rodeo Clown and Dane Cook is that Rodeo Clowns can be funny sometimes, and they are actually athletes (We’re trying to goad Dane Cook into trying to revive his career by putting his life on the line doing a promotional Rodeo Clown stint.  We don’t like Dane Cook very much).

The man who tried to invent a new way to flick people off. 

Rodeo Clowns have a ridiculous name, which is why professionally they’re now referred to as “bullfighters,” which is more badass sounding, and more accurate.  Unfortunately, tradition has decided to shrug and keep the whole “making yourself look silly while putting your life in danger numerous times a day” thing, because the most famous Rodeo Clown in the world, Flint Rasmussen, looks like this when he goes to work.

Rodeo Clowns typically work in tandem, with two or three Clowns making sure to distract the bull from the Rider or other Clowns.  One of these Clowns is known as the “Barrel Man,” who acts “goofier” and draws more attention than the other clowns, who will then go inside a giant padded barrel that the bull will try to gorge.  It’s a combination of the crazy Spanish people that run with the bulls in Pamplona and the crazy Canadians who try to escape to America by going in a barrel over Niagara Falls.  They literally prefer to be thrown into the air while in a tiny, enclosed space, because they insulted a giant bull’s mom (we are assuming).

Additionally, if the American nature of Rodeo Clowns were in doubt, look at the image in the top of this picture.  That’s right, Slim Pickens, the actor who dropped the bomb on the Russians in Dr. Strangelove, got his start as a Rodeo Clown.

We know.  Holy shit, you guys.  Holy shit.

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2 responses to “Rodeo Clowns Are Surprisingly Badass

  1. Like the article; I met Slim about 1948 at the Cow Palace when I was a small boy; saw him at Salinas also; big guy with a lot of heart; it takes a lot of ‘heart’ to get in there with a 2000 lb. bull —admire all those that did! Enjoyed Slim in the movies as well.

  2. WOW. more that a year late so I’m sorry… BUT.. Niagara Falls (Horseshoe Falls and American Falls) both spill in towards Canada and the current would take you towards the Canadian shoreline.. Sorry man. Maybe you meant those CRAZY ‘Mercans trying to escape to Canada. 😀

    Also Love the article keep it up!

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