This is an interview a Bull-fighter/Rodeo Clown. i don’t know if you’ve ever seen a rodeo, but these are the guys who get out there during the Bull Ride and generally keep the rider safe once he’s fallen off. These bulls don’t like people riding them and when the rider is eventually thrown, the bull likes to try and get his own back. The clowns distract the bull and help the rider get to his feet and back to safety. They literally stand in the bulls way when he’s charging.
You need to have balls of steel to do this job and literally risk life and limb in the process. Not long after this interview Jason (not his real name) saved one riders life by literally covering the unconscious man with his own body while the bull tried to horn him. Both men were thrown around violently until the other clown managed to distract the bull enough to get him away. It was an awesome sight and a good demonstration of what these guys are willing to do to save someone’s life.
Brad: Ok, an easy one to start with…Would you call yourself a Clown or a Bull Fighter? I’ve heard both terms used. I prefer Bull-fighter just because I have an aversion to clowns in general.
Jason: I mostly get called an idiot for doing it, but I dress like a clown, but without the make up and I fight bulls, so you could call me a bull fightin’ clown. When I’m out at the pub and trying to pick up I usually tell them I’m a bull fighter. Sounds more….you know…special. Never works though. Most of the chicks I try to pull hang around the rodeo circuit any way so they know I’m a clown. [he laughs]
Brad: So what’s a Clown actually do?
Jason: Basically, our job is to protect the riders once they’ve come off the bull. Sometimes a rider will get hooked up and isn’t able to pull his hand free of the rope and so we have to get him off before he gets hurt.
Brad: But isn’t there a good chance you’ll get hurt in the process?
Jason: For sure! It’s a dangerous job and some of these bulls are the meanest, nastiest sons-a-bitches who’d kill ya as quick as look at ya. But you can’t think like that when your in there. If a riders in trouble or if the bulls particularly nasty, all we think about is getting in there and getting the rider out.
Brad: You ever been hurt doing it?
Jason: Shit yeah. I’ve nearly been killed once. It was a silly mistake. I took my eyes off the bull for a moment to check where the cowboy was and when I turned around the bull was right on top of me. He pounded me into the ground and Dave [the other clown] couldn?t get him away from me. He did it in the end, but by that stage I was unconscious and badly hurt. I spent the next week in hospital. It could have been worse though.
Brad: How so?
Jason: We have to wear these vests. They look like bullet proof vests, I think they’re made of the same stuff actually. But if I wasn’t wearing it I would have been crushed to death. As it was I broke a couple of ribs and had a bit of internal bleeding and what not, but if I didn’t have the vest it coulda been much worse.
Brad: And that didn’t deter you from getting back in here?
Jason: Hell no! I love the job. That was just a stupid mistake which I don’t think I want to make again. [He laughs]
Brad: How long have you been doing this for?
Jason: All up ’bout 3 years. I was a bull rider before that though.
Brad: Why the change?
Jason: Believe it or not, doing this is a lot less painful! [He laughs]. When your riding you get thrown around pretty badly. Just sitting on the damned thing knocks you about. Even if you make to the 8 seconds you still have to get off the fucking thing and that can be painful. The amount of times I’ve landed on my head it’s a wonder I’m not brain damaged [he laughs]
The MC of the Rodeo comes up and tells Jason to get ready, the open Bull Ride will be starting soon. He also jokes that Jason is already brain damaged. Jason laughs.
Brad: One last thing before you go, I’ve been to a few Rodeos where the clowns do stuff to entertain the crowd. I saw one guy charge at a bull and the bull charged at him and at the last minute he put his foot on the bulls head and somersaulted over the bull! Do you do anything like that?
Jason: I have in the past. I’ve never somersaulted over a bull though, but I know the guy your talking about. He’s famous for it, he’s also insane. But yeah, I’ve done shit like that. It really depends on the bull. Some bulls are just interested in getting the rider off and getting back to his mates while others want to kill. It’s these one’s that want to kill that the crowd loves. Basically when we get one of these we just act stupid around it. Get it to chase us, hide in barrels while the bull throws the barrel around the arena. That sort of thing.
So there you have it, the first in, hopefully, a long running series of Interesting People.