Rodeo clown could never have been our profession.
However, those funny fellows with big red noses, green hats, pink shirts, short baggy jeans with calico suspenders and often track shoes instead of cowboy boots have always been a highlight of our favorite sport. Nowadays, those painted-faced, big-grin
ornery ones have changed.
Used to be a clown did it all: involve the crowd, tell jokes, do skits, jump in and out of the roundish, heavily-padded barrel with his broom and, most importantly, protect
cowboys from mean bulls after they had been thrown in the last event of the rodeo.
Today, in many rodeos, there are two completely different jobs. Our traditional clown dresses the old time way and has fun while making everybody happy throughout the show. Then, there’s also a bullfighter, who may not even have any grease paint on, but he is completely in charge of protecting fallen bull riders from harm.
Although we admire them all for their bravery and skills, complete realization that rodeo arena footwork could never have been our business came last week. We were assigned the broom to keep a distressed cow away from the herd manager as she was trying to grab a tail or leg, maneuver and tag ole biddy’s wild two-day-old baby. A video of the action would probably make us all smile now, but it was no funny deal
Despite what we thought were valiant attempts with the banging broom, loud threatening hollers, and what may have appeared as dancing around (mostly away), rambunctious mad momma was the hands-down winner. No referee needed for that decision. The unmarked calf paraded across the pasture tail in air, with drooling, bellowing mom directly in tow. Our broom was no better for wear either, as it’ll likely never sweep another snow-filled feed bunk, let alone a kitchen floor.
Of course, this isn’t really a new story. Cattle have often won out when we’ve attempted even the slightest threat on their territory. Ropes, whips, hoes, pitchforks, shovels, hats, blankets, coats, even cans and buckets, have all been our chosen weapons during past campaigns. Yet, if nasty bovines are set on being boss, they go about their way as we quickly bow our chin in defeat.
It doesn’t help that we aren’t very brave, either. Like the old rodeo joke goes: “To be a successful clown, one has to spit out all his marbles, scrape the yellow streak off his
back, and fill up with guts.” We’ve tried to match those requirements, but we’re still always way too cautious; “scared” would actually be more correct.
Whenever bulls, cows, steers, even baby calves, roll their eyes, shake their head, bellow or paw at us, we just let them go about doing anything they so desire. We’ll never have too much pride or be too embarrassed to admit they defeated us. That may not be the cowboy way, but it’s sure a whole bunch safer.
Certainly, we would never be like First Chronicles 5:24: “Mighty men of strength, mind and spirit enabling them to encounter danger with firmness and personal bravery.” Actually, we fit Job 11:18: “Thou shalt take thy rest in safety.” Thus, Proverbs 13:10: “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.”