Rural Missouri - August 2013 - (Page 40)

N E I G H B O R S Life is Kinda Funny Bob Courtney has been getting laughs as a rodeo clown for nearly four decades various shows in Branson as an animal trainer or a comedian. He and his wife, Alta, met in the entertainment mecca when she was singing at a show. They’ve now been ob Courtney faces a 1,700-pound bull with a smile married 17 years. on his face. His job may look His tireless dedication and abilities as a rodeo clown haven’t gone unnolike fun and games, but not • Sparta ticed. He’s been voted Rodeo Clown everyone has a knack for his particular of the Year 16 times by various rodeo line of work. Bob takes his job seriously — for the most part associations during his 37-year career. Bob says — as he enjoys entertaining crowds as a profesthe fact he works so hard sional rodeo clown. at being unique and Thirty-seven years ago, the Kansas native keeping his act fresh was calf roping and steer wrestling at a rodeo in is what makes him a Strong City, Kan., and found himself in need of crowd favorite. a ride to the next event in Prescott, Ariz. A stock contractor said he’d get Bob to the rodeo if he drove a truck for him. During their journey, stock contractor Harry Vold received a call and found out the clown he’d booked for the year couldn’t fulfill his contract. So for hours, Harry tried to talk Bob into giving the job a try. “Little did I know that by the end of that trip, I’d have taken on being a rodeo clown,” says Bob, now 57. “Honestly, it just ended up being something I did well,” Bob adds. “From Arizona, I went on to Wyoming, Colorado, then Nebraska, all the big rodeos. That’s how I backed into being a rodeo clown. “I was painfully shy back then,” he adds. “So Harry really had to do some talking to get me to say ‘yes.’ But I found that when I put the makeup and costume on, I could talk to anyone. Being funny just came naturally.” Bob eventually joined the Navy and while serving, worked for the Flying U Rodeo Co. in California whenever he got the chance. After the Navy, Bob moved back to Kansas and hit the rodeo circuit full time, adding bullfighting to his repertoire. He also got a white yearling colt and started training him to do tricks for his act. By the time his horse, Oxidol, was 3, he started performing with Bob. “Really, he is probably more famous than me in rodeo circles. He was in several movies, including ‘Frank & Jesse’ with Rob Lowe and Randy Travis, and ‘Rhinestone’ with Dolly Parton,” says the horse trainer. “He had fans at every rodeo. He passed away in 2006 at age 30.” During the last years of Oxidol’s life, Bob began training a young paint horse he named Houdini. Bob says the 12-year-old is a great fire jumper and does magic tricks, too. As the years went by, Bob hit the road for an average of 110 performances a year as a rodeo entertainer, pretty much living out of a horse trailer. “I’ve performed at more than 4,000 rodeos,” Bob says. “But it’s not been all fun and games. I had a family that I should have stayed home with more and that suffered. I regret that.” In 1990, Bob moved to Sparta and worked at B 40 by Heather Berry hberry@ruralmissouri.coop Bob’s reluctant to talk about the times he’s been injured while saving riders from an angry bull. A few bulls have gored him and a few bones were broken, but it was “nothing that kept me in the hospital,” he says. The performer says there’s probably been hundreds of times he’s helped get a bull away from a tossed rider, but it was just part of the job. Although clowns are entertainers, sometimes they find themselves in danger, too. At a Nebraska rodeo this summer, Bob was entertaining in the arena when suddenly the crowd gasped. “I turned around and a bull had gotten loose from the guys and was running full blast toward me — and it was about 15 feet away,” says Bob. “To survive, you’ve got to stay calm, then stand still until the bull nearly gets to you, then move to the side. I did that and he ran right past me. They key is trying to stay calm while the bull runs toward you.” While the rodeo life has been good to him, Bob says it’s time to switch gears. His rodeo schedule hasn’t slowed down much as the years have rolled by. “I’ve been in this business 30 years, and that’s a long time for a rodeo man.” About a year ago, Bob began a new, humorous chapter in his life as a Christian comedian, portraying a character he dubbed “Pastor Pudge.” Alta joins him as he takes his comedic ministry to churches, youth groups and various events around the Midwest. Through funny stories, jokes and gospel music, Bob says he and Alta “minister and motivate” those they meet. Why the character Pastor Pudge? “Well, you should talk about what you know,” says the clown who jokingly says he’s been “fighting anorexia all his life.” Bob credits this career change to divine intervention, which gave him the boldness to speak in public. “Looking back, I believe the path my life has taken is God’s way of getting me to where I could minister to others,” Bob says. “Most of my life I’ve been paid good money to have people laugh at me, so why change now?” You may contact Bob via e-mail at bobcourtney@centurylink.net or 417-8494170. Professional rodeo clown Bob Courtney of Sparta uses animals in many of his entertaining acts. Here he poses with one of his trusty sidekicks, Pepe.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - August 2013

Rural Missouri - August 2013
Table of Contents
Comments
Columns
Hideout heaven
Mining a lead-lined history
Adrenaline adventures
Outdoors
Out of the Way Eats
High-flying fun
Hearth and Home
Blood-stained dawn
Swarm chasers
Around Missouri
Marketplace
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - August 2013

http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202003
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202002
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202001
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201912
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201911
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201909
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201908
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201907
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201906
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201905
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201904
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201903
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201902
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201901
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201812
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201811
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201810
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201809
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201808
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201807
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201806
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201805
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201804
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201803
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201802
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201801
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201712
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201711
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201710
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201709
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201707
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201706
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201705
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201704
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201703
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201702
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201701
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201612
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201611
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201610
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201609
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201608
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201607
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201606
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201605
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201604
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201603
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201602
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201601
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201512
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201511
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201510
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201509
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201508
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201507
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201506
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201505
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201504
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201503
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201502
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201501
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201412
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201411
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201410
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201409
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201408
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201407
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201406
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201405
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201404
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201403
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201402
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201401
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201312
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201311
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201310
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201309
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201308
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201307
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201306
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201305
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201304
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201303
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201302
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201301
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201212
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201211
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201210
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201209
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201208
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201207
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201206
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201205
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201204
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201203
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201202
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201201
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201111
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201110
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201109
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201108
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201107
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201106
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201105
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201104
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/videotest
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201103
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201102
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201101
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201012
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201011
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201010
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com