(Editor’s note: Regulars at the Cody Nite Rodeo this summer will be featured every Thursday.)
Some characters stay the same, others cycle through the Cody Nite Rodeo.
There is none harder to miss than the rodeo clown, and the turquoise-and-orange clad Preston Broxson, 35, a Louisiana native, may be the brightest character – literally – so far this season.
Cody Enterprise: What part of Louisiana are you from?
Preston Broxson: I’m from DeRidder, La. ... That’s going to be southwest Louisiana. If you go down about another hundred miles, you’ll be wet.
CE: Why Cody? Why not somewhere else?
PB: I was invited to come up here. I couldn’t do the whole thing due to prior commitments, so I said 10 days or two weeks. Really, who wouldn’t want to come up here? This is the oldest rodeo there is. This is kind of where it all got started.
And the scenery. The pictures have always been beautiful, but once I got up here I see the pictures don’t really do it justice. We’re going to try to do the Yellowstone thing a couple mornings while we’re up here.
CE: Talk to me a little bit about your outfit.
PB: When you’re a rodeo clown, you want to stand out, to have flashy colors. A lot of guys will develop a signature look. So, I actually to went to one of y’all guys local places today, the Cowboy Palace, and I found shirts that were already in the colors I use, turquoise and orange.
My make-up scheme – that sounds odd to say sometimes, “My make-up scheme” – it matches the look well, so I felt like it must have been meant to be. I bought all they had in my size.
Traditionally, it will be suspenders, baggy long pants, that’s the traditional rodeo clown, the way they’ve done it since it all began. Then, like I said, a loud shirt. You want to draw attention, you want to be funny. You want to look funny. You want people to look at you and just shake their heads.
CE: What’s your favorite rodeo memory?
PB: I think my favorite rodeo memory was my first time in a barrel. I used to fight bulls and now I’m in the barrel. I feel like I’m in my element out there. I’m relaxed, I’m calm, it’s all in slow motion when it’s going on.
The first time I got hit in that barrel – I’d never been hit before – and you’re always wondering if you can handle it. It’s like a car wreck every time it happens.
The chute gate opens in Buna, Texas, and this bull blows out, bucks the rider off immediately and turns and just freight-trains me. Hits me as hard as he possibly can. Bent my barrel, he hit me so hard.
The guys come running over and they’re like, “You okay? You okay?” I was looking around, and I’m like, “I think I am. I think I’m okay.” and I said, “I think I can do this. I don’t think I’ll ever get hit harder than that.” And so far that has proven true.
I think that’s my favorite memory. That’s where I came into my own, as far as I knew then that I could handle it.
CE: Do you feel like an alter ego comes out when you’re all dressed up?
PB: You do. My adrenaline gets pumping, and tingly is maybe not the right feeling, but I just get giddy almost. Because I’m excited. You’re pumped up, you’re ready to make people laugh, you’re ready to see all the kids.
The closer you get to the bull riding, it gets violent. When they hit that barrel, it’s like a rollover car crash with no seat belt.
I do feel like it’s almost an alter ego. I’m professional there and when I get here I’m a professional, but now I’m professional at trying to be funny. I feel like I gotta get my mind right, because it doesn’t matter what I got going on earlier in the day. Now I’m on the clock. Now is my time to make people feel good about being alive.
CE: Can you talk a little about the relationship you have to have with the announcer?
PB: The relationship with the announcer is super, super important. The announcer is the heartbeat of the rodeo. He is the one that is relaying all the factual information, letting people know what they’re seeing.
The announcer here this year (Ty Rhodes), we’ve actually worked together in Texas many times. So this is a treat to come this far from home and work with a buddy. I know him on a personal level, so we can cut up and we can have fun.
A lot of times the clown and the announcer, we make fun of each other a little bit, and it’s important to know that this is all a show. We’re entertaining. It’s nothing personal. If I call him short, tall, fat, ugly, it doesn’t matter. He says the same thing to me.
We are picking on insecurities that everyone has, but we’re picking on ourselves. Everyone has insecurities and we’re playing them up on ourselves to where it makes us a little more human. We’re trying to carry all the human traits and make everyone else feel like they’re free from it for a little while.