THE thought of standing in front of a one-tonne bull and encouraging it to run after you would make most people terrified, but for Big Al the rodeo clown it is all in a day’s work.
In the lead-up to the Orange Rodeo on Saturday October 19, Big Al said he wanted to encourage people to come along and have a look.
Big Al’s job at the upcoming rodeo would scare the hardiest of souls.
Often there can be a “stubborn bull” that will not leave the ring after it has bucked off the bullrider. That is where Big Al comes in.
“The idea is to cut across in front of the bull to take the attention off the bull rider ... he [the rodeo clown] has to assist in any way he can,” he said.
“He gets the bull to chase you out of the arena. It’s not hard to get them to chase you.”
The role of the rodeo clown is just as important as the bulls, broncs and cowboys, according to Big Al.
“It’s just part of having a rodeo,” he said.
“Rodeos are the only sport in the world where it’s an outdoor theatre. A rodeo clown is one of the best things a rodeo can have.”
Big Al has been involved in rodeos for 30 years and will work alongside two “protection clowns” at the Orange Rodeo to ensure the safety of the bullriders.
“The animals are unpredictable,” Big Al said.
“You’ve get to know your bulls so you can put on a show and not get killed.
“There’s a lot more to this job than people know. You have to know the event back-to-front.”
Big Al has been voted rodeo clown of the year 12 times and will be at the Orange Rodeo on Saturday, October 19.