Wiki Wednesday #27

4 10 2007

Boot
1.) Go to Wikipedia.
2.) Click on “Random article.”
3.) Report on the outcome.

Flint Rasmussen

Flint Rasmussen is perhaps the most famous “rodeo clown” or “rodeo barrelman” in the sport of bullriding.

Long associated with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Rasmussen earned the title of PRCA Clown of the Year for eight consecutive years and won the Coors Man in the Can honors seven times.

Hey, this is someone I know. Well, not personally. But I’ve seen him in the flesh. And if I’d wanted to, I’m sure I could’ve shaken his hand or gotten his autograph. Hmm, why didn’t I? Suddenly, for probably the first time, I sort of regret not being an autograph hound….

Anyway, as you may know, I’m a rodeo fan. Each December, I head off to Las Vegas for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association‘s National Finals Rodeo. And that’s where I’ve seen Rasmussen (you can find his official website here). Now, as I understand it, Rasmussen works Professional Bull Riders (PBR) events instead, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him at some off-the-field event in Vegas this December.

Actually—and, yes, I’m getting a little far afield now—I don’t think the PBR has been particularly good for rodeo. The PBR fetishizes its single event, bull riding, at the expense of the seven other cool rodeo events. (Random “fun” fact: Steer wrestling, a/k/a bulldogging, is my favorite rodeo event.) It may be good for bull riding, but I don’t think it’s good for rodeo.

I also just don’t think all that bull riding provides particularly good spectating. I probably haven’t mentioned this, but about 20 years ago, and for about 20 minutes, I did some sports writing. During that time, I covered a pre-PBR event that consisted solely of bull riding, and there just wasn’t enough variety to sustain my interest. It was a long night (actually two long nights), punctuated only the briefest of moments—seconds, literally—of excitement. I yearned for some variety.

You get variety at an actual rodeo. You get bareback and saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, calf roping (euphemistically known these days as “tie-down roping,” so you’ll forget a calf’s involved), barrel racing, and bull riding. (And maybe steer roping, too.) That’s a night of entertainment.

But, um, back to Rasmussen. He’s one of the premier rodeo clowns. In modern rodeo, that means he entertains the audience from the barrel (that only occasionally gets used to interfere with a grumpy bull). It’s the bullfighters who typically do more of the nasty business of getting between bulls and the cowboys who find themselves in the dirt.

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