Professional Rodeo Clown Dusty Myers, of Corinth, Mississippi, has been clowning around for 10 years, so it’s not his first rodeo. He not only entertains the crowd, but keeps the bull riders safe.
Myers, 34, was in Sedalia the past two weekends with the National Federation of Professional Bullriders and the International Professional Rodeo Association. He is on the board of directors for the IPRA and a seven-time Rodeo Clown of the Year.
“This is one of my favorite rodeos,” Myers said. “The atmosphere of this rodeo is so great. The fans here, they come for all four performances from last weekend to this weekend. You’ll see some people here, that’s here every night.”
He added while in Sedalia people will recognize him when he’s out in town and wave and tell him they are glad to see him.
Myers’s job was to entertain the crowd this weekend and last weekend but also to protect the bull riders. He worked alongside professional bullfighters John Roberts, 25, of Parish, Tennessee, and Mark Weber, 29, of East Peoria, Illinois.
On Friday before the 21st annual Sedalia Championship Pro Rodeo began, Myers spoke with the Democrat about his journey into the rodeo business.
“I’ve always loved this,” Myers said. “It’s something I wanted to do since I was a little kid. It’s been a dream of mine. I saw a man, Lecile Harris, and ever since I saw Lecile as a small child that’s all I pretty much wanted to do.
“He was my role model, still to this day,” he added. “He’s 80-years-old and still performing. He hasn’t missed a beat in my opinion. Most kids they see something on TV they want to be, but when I saw Lecile Harris, that was exactly what I wanted to do.”
Harris, from Collierville Tennessee, is a four-time Rodeo Clown of the Year and in the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.
“He was one of my heroes,” Myers added. “Everybody has got their own hero they look up to and he was mine.”
Myers was a bullfighter, years before becoming a rodeo clown.
“My first paid job was when I was 13-years-old, as a bullfighter,” he said. “So, this is 21 years in the business. I transitioned over into the clowning and the comedy and entertainment part of it, and I loved it.”
Myers’s father, Cary Myers, was a bull rider and rodeo clown.
“I never did get to witness my dad as a clown,” Myers said. “He retired before I was born. I grew up around rodeo, I grew up riding sheep, then I went to riding calves, steers and then I rode bulls for a little while.”
He added that when he got into high school, and could drive, he began working rodeos year-round.
“It’s been a career up to this day,” he said.
Myers gave 115 performances in 2015 and plans to make that many this year also.
“Luckily over the last 10 years I’ve got to travel all over the world and I’ve got to go to pretty much every part of the United States,” he added. “I love it and my family loves it. They don’t get to travel with me a whole lot. I do miss my family.”
Myers’s wife, Brittney, works for the state of Mississippi, and he has a son Hayden, 11.
The rodeo clown is important to not only entertain but protect by diversion.
“We fill in the dead spots of the rodeo, when they’re transitioning from one event to another,” Myers said. “Here we have eight events, and there is a small amount of dead time in between the events as they are getting the cattle or horses ready. I fill in and entertain the crowd so it goes smoothly.
“Rodeo clowns are kind of bullfighters also,” he added. “You have your rodeo clowns and your bullfighters, we are also there to protect the bull riders during the bull riding event.”
Myers went on to say Roberts and Weber were excellent bullfighters. They make sure when the bull rider gets off the bull, he gets away safely.
“Mark Weber has actually fought bulls at the international finals four times,” Myers said. “John has been in all kinds of major competitions. This is what they do for a living.”
Myers said he’s usually in the barrel during the bull riding event and Weber and Roberts look out for him also.
“They are there also to protect me,” he noted. “I’m kind of like a safety island. If the bull gets after them, I’m in the barrel. So the barrel’s a protection spot for them or for the bull riders who might happen to land out that way. They also protect me. Because them bulls, I don’t want one of them with his head in the end of (the barrel).”
“Our main job is to protect the cowboys,” Weber said Friday evening. “Me and John both, that’s what we do for a living. We travel across the U.S. This year I’ll be (traveling) from Los Angeles, California to Portland, Maine. I’ll be on both coasts this year.”
Weber said, just like Myers, he’s been involved in rodeo all his life.
“I’ve been fighting bulls professionally for nine years,” he added. “I hope I’ve got another 10 years in me.”
“I’ve rode bulls for almost eight years,” Roberts said. “The reason I started fighting bulls, one was because I’m taller. I’m 6-foot-six, it was a disadvantage for me to ride. Number two, in the practice pen I couldn’t stand it when one of my buddies would get run over. So, I would jump out there, I had a natural instinct to protect people …”
He added as he went to college he began to focus on fighting bulls and it became second nature.
“I knew I could make a career out of it,” Roberts noted.
Roberts added that as long as he was “able to walk and run” he planned to continue with his career.
Myers added that he hoped he could continue on as a rodeo clown for several more years.
“You can’t never tell what tomorrow will bring,” he said. “This is one thing I’ve always loved to do. Rodeo is family … they are some of my closest friends.”
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss; Photos by Faith Bemiss Democrat.