What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Rodeo clownin' around with a pro

Posted January 18, 2013
Updated January 20, 2013

— Justin Rumford actually holds a business degree but makes his living as one of the biggest hype men in the rodeo business - a clown.

The clowns are the equivalent of Flava Flav at a Public Enemy show - they pump up the crowd and make sure everyone is having a great time in between bull riding and other events. 

Being a rodeo clown is actually a very lucrative profession. 

Rumford, a 2005 graduate of Northwestern Oklahoma State University, remembers making $1,000 for his first gig as a rodeo clown. He was soon hooked on the excitement of the show and making people laugh. 

World's Toughest Rodeo World's Toughest Rodeo in Raleigh

And sponsors don't just support the riders. Rumford has several big name sponsors, including Wrangler, that help him pay for travel to shows like Saturday's World's Toughest Rodeo at the PNC Arena. 

Rumford said you can expect comedy, including a little "gorilla hunting" during Saturday's show. But you won't see him distracting any bulls. He tries to stay away from them. 

He is also looking for an N.C. State cheerleader willing to face-off with him in a cheer-off during the show. Rumford is actually pretty skilled at acrobats. He can do back handsprings and toe-touches.

We wanted to find out a little more about what it takes to be a rodeo clown, so we spent some time with Rumford on Friday. It is all about having fun, talking to the crowd and not being afraid to get a little silly. And the makeup - he said less is really more! 

You can see Rumford and the rest of the World's Toughest Rodeo crew Saturday night. Tickets are still available and children 12 and under will receive half-price tickets on regularly priced seats (excluding $75 seats) courtesy of WRAL-TV and FOX 50. They must be accompanied by an adult ticket.

Patrons who purchase $75 "Gold Buckle" seats will be allowed on the arena floor after the rodeo for autographs. Ticketholders must have their stubs to reenter.

Watch our video to see more about rodeo clownin' and find out why Rumford travels with a gorilla suit. 

rodeo clown Rodeo Clownin' around

rodeo clown Rodeo clown travels with gorilla suit


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