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

https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202007
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202006
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202005
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202004
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202003
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202002
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202001
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201912
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201911
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201909
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201908
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201907
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201906
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201905
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201904
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201903
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201902
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201901
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201812
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201811
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201810
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201809
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201808
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201807
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201806
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201805
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201804
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201803
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201802
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201801
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201712
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201711
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201710
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201709
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201707
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201706
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201705
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201704
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201703
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201702
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201701
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201612
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201611
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201610
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201609
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201608
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201607
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201606
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201605
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201604
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201603
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201602
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201601
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201512
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201511
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201510
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201509
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201508
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201507
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201505
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201504
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201503
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201502
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201501
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201412
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201411
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201410
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201409
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201408
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201407
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201406
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201405
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201404
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201403
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201402
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201401
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201312
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201311
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201310
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201309
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201308
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201307
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201306
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201305
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201303
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201302
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201301
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201212
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201211
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201210
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201209
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201208
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201207
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201206
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201205
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201204
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201203
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201202
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201201
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201111
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201110
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201109
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201108
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201107
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201106
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201105
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201104
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/videotest
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201103
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201101
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201010
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com