COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Rodeo clowns from across the country are in Colorado for a series of community events this weekend. The 23rd rodeo reunion is bringing together more than 40 professional rodeo clowns. The group spent Friday at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame & Museum in Colorado Springs.
People in the community were clowning around with the rodeo entertainers Friday, from watching their trick roping skills to watching them perform vintage clown acts.
“This has been my childhood dream since watching my dad at rodeos. My father is involved in this. My twin brother. His dad. All our families have been involved in this and we’ve been in rodeos all our lives. It’s a common bond for us and it’s a big family,” said Pat Ariaz.
Many of the rodeo clowns at the reunion have family ties and are part of several generations of rodeoing. Most of these guys grew up on the road with the rodeo performers you’ve probably seen over the years.
“I’m a second generation. I was born into this. These guys would take care of me. That is why I love doing this is coming together, being with my second family, seeing these guys that I grew up with, that I got to perform with when I got old enough,” said Devlin Fields.
They aren’t just at rodeos to clown around and entertain, these performers have been around since the start of rodeos to keep cowboys safe from the bulls. It’s a job dragging a lot of danger with it.
“The bull fighter part of it is to safe the cowboy that’s coming off the bull. Distract the bull away from the cowboy.”
“Your job is to protect the cowboy so a lot of times that means you put yourself between the cowboy and the bull. Putting yourself in danger to protect the athlete. And that’s a sacrifice,” said Kent Sturman, Director of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Museum.
“It happens. I’ve had a busted neck, broken sternum, dislocated shoulders, busted ribs. But that’s all the territory that comes with it.”
Outside protecting cowboys, rodeo clowns have another important job too, keeping the crowd engaged and excited!
“The second big thing is to entertain the crowd and to make the crowd part of the rodeo. We’re here for the people and we’re here for the kids. Without them, we wouldn’t have a rodeo.”
“It’s a very important part of our sport and so it’s a piece of our history. And it’s important to tell those stories,” said Sturman.
The fun doesn’t stop in Colorado Springs. The clowns will travel to the Douglas County Fair and Rodeo in Castle Rock this weekend with events happening Saturday and Sunday. Click here for the weekend schedule here.