Clowning proves big business

Next time you’re told to “stop clowning around”, maybe you should ignore the advice and possibly consider doing it as a career. They wear painted-on smiles and baggy britches and they actually like it when people laugh at them, even as they risk their lives to protect others… they are the valuable rodeo clowns that have descended on Australia’s Rodeo Capital this week to take on the annual Isa Rodeo.

The clowns at the 2007 Xstrata Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo are employed to make their place in the arena look like fun and games to the people in the stands, but this is serious business!

Between rides, the barrelman clown’s job is to keep the crowd amused by bantering with the announcers and performing comedic skits that can include props, explosions, fireworks, clown cars, and sometimes (un)lucky members of the audience. This part requires charisma, creativity, comic timing, and boundless energy.

The real work and always dangerous role is cowboy protection which begins the minute a rider enters the arena, hanging on for dear life. Requiring nerves of steel, lightning reflexes, and a selfless devotion to the competitor’s well-being and safety, it falls to the rodeo clown to distract the angry beast from its toppled rider so the competitor has the opportunity to get to their feet and make it to the fence.

It’s scary, dirty and potentially humiliating, it is however not without reward. Whilst not being classified as “danger money” rates, a rodeo clown can make a healthy living from a career filled with painted on smiles. An exclusively contracted clown in the US (where rodeo is common) secures approximately $200,000 from a rodeo season – and then takes home sponsorship on top of this. Many of the most well known rodeo clowns have secured their own sponsorship deals with major corporations who want their brand viewed by the thousands of eyes that follow every move the rodeo clown makes.

In addition to the financial return, a rodeo clown garners immense respect from competitors and often they become well known celebrities within rodeo circles and receive adoration and applause from spectators.  Whilst the return is there with boasting rights matching the ego rewards, the cost is the broken bones, stitches and bruising to the body and sometimes dignity that also are risked each ride.

The 2007 Xstrata Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo will utilise three of Australia’s most famous clowns to go against the beasts.

The largest rodeo event in the Southern Hemisphere, the 2007 Xstrata Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo will run from Friday 10th to Sunday 12th August 2007. With a record bounty on offer to competitors, the event is preparing for what will be its biggest year.

For further information about the 2007 Xstrata Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo please contact the Media Unit at RODEO HQ on 07 47432706.