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How do I Become a Rodeo Clown?

Susan Grindstaff
Susan Grindstaff

If you want to become a rodeo clown, you may want to attend a bullfighting school or take classes in bullfighting. You should try to learn everything you can about rodeos before you begin training. You can do this by attending rodeos and talking to people within this industry. Another way to become a rodeo clown is to enter contests, because contestants who place well usually find it easier to get full-time work in rodeo.

Before you make a firm decision to become a rodeo clown, it is important that you fully understand the risks involved in this type of work. Rodeo clowns are considered a type of bullfighter, though in the rodeo ring, in most cases there are both clowns and more traditional bullfighters. They both work to distract the bull, which generally makes it less dangerous for the rider. In the event the rider is bucked off the bull, the clown is expected to entice the bull away from the rider, making themselves the prime target. In many cases, this can result in serious injury or even death.

Prospective rodeo clowns should attend rodeos.
Prospective rodeo clowns should attend rodeos.

There are schools that offer training in all areas of rodeo work, including how to become a rodeo clown. You can take classes in a group setting, or arrange for individualized instruction. Most of these academies offer weekend courses if you are unable to attend full time. These schools will not only teach you the art of bullfighting, but will instruct you on safety while in the ring. Some bullfighting schools place emphasis on bullfighting technique, while others offer a curriculum that blends the entertainment aspects of clowning with traditional bullfighting.

Once you have completed your training, it is important to develop some connections within the rodeo industry. In many cases, rodeo clown jobs are obtained through referral or word of mouth, so you will likely need a few friends within the rodeo circuit in order to secure a position. It may be necessary for you to work your way up by starting your rodeo career in a more menial position.

Some rodeo clowns get themselves noticed by entering contests. Not only do the contests often offer lucrative cash awards, but they are also an excellent venue for showing off your skills. Rodeo clown contests are held each year, most of them taking place in the western part of the United States. Some contests may require that you audition before being allowed entry.

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Discussion Comments


Animandel - Rodeo clowns originally came on the scene at the beginning of the 1900s, and their job was to entertain the crowd that came to see the rodeo during breaks.

It would be a couple decades before rodeo clowns were asked to distract angry bulls. I imagine that was an interesting conversation between the clowns and management at the various rodeos.


How did the rodeo clowns get to be cowboy protectors? If I were going to set up a job in which the person in this position had to be in charge of keeping bulls from injuring riders, I don't think I would have decided to call this person a clown of any kind.

How disappointing would it be for someone trying to find work to answer an ad for a clown and find out he had to work with angry bulls? Sounds like a case of bait and switch to me.

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    • Prospective rodeo clowns should attend rodeos.
      Prospective rodeo clowns should attend rodeos.