International Professional Rodeo Entertainer
Are you someone who lives in the moment? Perhaps you have plans but you expect unforeseen detours. Are you comfortable discovering your future one choice at a time? You may be someone with the talent of Adaptability. Someone with an Adaptability talent may avoid roles that demand structure and predictability because they are a flexible person that is able to remain productive even while being pulled in many directions at once. This person treasures their independence, spontaneity, and is able to produce when the pressure is on.
When speaking with Jason, his vibrant personality is immediately disarming. His humor and warm heart makes you feel like you’re with an old friend. Jason doesn’t fear being the entertainer and happily puts himself out there to make others feel welcomed. He holds strong convictions from lessons he has learned in life and is eager to pass them on to others to lend a helping hand. Jason genuinely cares for others well-being and is willing to let go of his inhibitions to show them that he cares.
I was fortunate to interview Jason over the phone and transcribe that conversation to bring you the life of an International Professional Rodeo Entertainer, as told by Jason.
What does the phrase “Dream Job” mean to you?
A dream job is something that you’re happy and comfortable doing and it never wears out. It’s what you would do in your spare time… but you do it full time. It’s something that you’re in control of enough that it doesn’t become politics to where all the sudden it becomes a job.
It is something that you can continually have pride in to where you don’t let the politics over take you. People always tell me I need to stay in the arena more. “Stay in your barrel!” they say. That’s not my idea of all that rodeo clowns do. I was a bull rider. When I became a rodeo clown I knew what I didn’t like in the clowns so I removed all of it. I got a lot of opposition in the beginning for it from a lot of contractors, but I just stayed true to what I wanted to do and to the outcome I wanted for the rodeo.
A dream job is when you have fun at your job and you sleep good at night because you’re doing right by everybody that’s in the whole field and you still want to wake up and do it again. You know, that’s total freedom. If you’re constantly wishing you had things that other people have, you can’t focus on what you’re doing.
What’s your title? What do you do? How long have you done this?
International Professional Rodeo Entertainer.
In the rodeo you have a guy in face paint and baggies. He’s got suspenders, handkerchiefs, wild colors, and is around the arena the whole time. He’s there during the bull riding and he intertwines with the crowd. That’s what I do. I don’t bull fight and I’m not the two guys that come out that try to protect the bull rider while he’s riding. I mean, I have to protect the cowboy and I have to be trained in bull fighting to do that, but as back-up. I’m there specifically for the crowd. I get to go into the crowd. I get to talk with the announcer. Ask ‘em questions. If someone in the crowd has a question, I can go over there and use my mic and let their voice be heard. It kind of marries the crowd to the rodeo.
What jobs or past experiences have led you to the current thing that pays you money (your job)?
I was a bull rider for 12 years. And I mean I loved it! I love everything about rodeo. I trained horses. I have a bull that I broke to ride that’s part of my show and my act. I live on a farm. I raise horses. It’s just something that’s kind of in me. When I quit riding bulls, I didn’t want to quit rodeo and I didn’t want to rope. I didn’t want to be a roper, but I wanted to continue something in the rodeo. I was always in the speech classes, drama classes, the school plays, and the community plays. And one of my contractors asked, “Why don’t you be my clown?”
And I thought, “Hmm. I spent a lot of time being a bad ass bull rider.”Having that image, I didn’t want to go out there and act like a jackass and ruin it all. And he’s like “Oh, I’ll pay ya” and I thought, “Well, I guess I’ll give it a try.”
It turns out I was like a duck in water and I felt like, dude I should’ve been doing this my whole life.
…how did you initially get into bull riding?
I was really into horses. Nobody did it where I grew up. Nobody in my family. My grandpa showed a lot of cattle. He was a cowboy and I always thought my grandpa was bad ass. My brother rode some bulls for a while when he was in college and had a bunch of buddies that were rodeo guys. He’s ten years older than me so he’d let me go with him every once in a while. He just did it for a short period of time but I got to experience a couple of those with him and it just never left me.
What occupation did you imagine having when you were 5? What about at 25?
I always wanted to be a veterinarian. But I don’t like people who don’t have actual experience trying to tell me how to learn and what to do. There’s these professors that write books and they know a lot of stuff but they’ve never actually done it. So I used to want to be a veterinarian until I got to the spot where it needed to happen and I just thought, “Man, I can’t stand these people telling me, that have no idea.” I’ve been around this stuff my whole life and it just really got under my skin. I always wanted to be a vet as it turns out, I’m just a cowboy.
At 25, I was still riding bulls, bar fighting, and just being a complete rebel. I was just a rebel outlaw. In my twenties I was thinking about dying. I thought when I’m dead, I want everyone to be like, “That’s a crazy-bad-mother-bull-riding-machine.” And my theory, I don’t know why, for some reason I got on this deal of making decade goals. The goal for the decade of my twenties was that I wanted to be a bad ass cowboy, that was it.
I didn’t know what I was doing, I just knew what I wanted people to say about me. So, I acted that way and I would write letters to Kevin Costner, and send letters to Hollywood. I would send videos to all of the reality TV shows, trying to get on all the shows. In my 20’s, I was just like, I’m going to be a bad ass and hope somebody is going to pick me up. They never did. I got a lot of opposition from everybody within my family, like “God, bull riding is dumb. All you’re doing is wasting money. You lose your license all the time. You’re always in jail.” It was never malice. It was what I wanted to do. I was making those choices so that people would think that I’m a bull riding machine. In my mind that’s what I was doing even though it was costing me. When I turned 30, it was all about making money and knocking down opportunities.
The Best: Tell us, what’s the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is knowing the impact that I have on young people. Yeah, the money’s awesome, the interviews, the TV, and all that. The celebrity type part of that is awesome. But I will guarantee you, for me it’s knowing the impact I’m having on the people that are there watching. You never ever know the full depth of what you’re doing but it is doing it.
There are old people and young people alike that are impacted by something that I did. They are impacted by something that I’ve done and I love hearing about it. I know that’s happening even if I feel like I did a bad job. There will be 1 or 2 percent of the people that say that it’s the coolest thing they ever did. And I’m a hugger -touchy feely, smiley. I would put myself in harm just to help somebody else. I don’t give a shit if I’m having a bad day. I don’t breed it into other people. A lot of times men and women alike will be like “Hey, that was awesome,” and I’ll give em a big ol’ hug. They say, “Man I guess I’ve never really been hugged before and but I really felt like you meant it.” And I think, “Weird – I did mean it”.
I’m very genuine because I know the impact that I have on people. It is a big deal. Some kid out there from the city had no idea what the rodeo was, what clowning was, or anything. Now he wants to be a rodeo clown, to be funny, to touch people, and do what I did. And I like it.
The Stink: Tell us, what’s part of the job that you really wish were different?
That’s a tough one. I don’t like politics at all. It hasn’t really affected me, but once you hit being an international professional, it gets to the point where they’ll try to dictate some of my act, and I’m not going to allow it to happen. You start making the big bucks and they think they have power over you because they’re paying you lot of money. I think I’m going to struggle with that.
Outside of your job, how do you spend your time?
I weld metal art, I auctioneer, and I raise live stock on a farm. Corn and cattle and horses and soy beans.
Who is someone you look up to for career inspiration?
There is a rodeo entertainer by the name of J.J Harrison. He’s just real level headed and whenever I call him and ask him for advice or whatever, he gives it to me. He’s always trying to help me. I don’t know the guy very well, I just know it’s alright when you don’t have a relationship with somebody and they still try to help you AND you’re in the same field as them. That to me is unheard of. I’m competing for the same jobs that he’s doing, and he’s still trying to help me be good – great, really.
What is your advice to people who are interested in a similar career?
The 4 C’s. Character, Charisma, Confidence, and Courage. It’s not having what you want, but wanting what you have – that’s what the 4 C’s are. Those four things are written on my wall, everywhere, because that’s what keeps me level.
If you could read these questions about someone else, who would you want to see answer them? (can give a job title or name a specific person).
Don Wagner, he’s an auctioneer.
Any other passing words of advice or anything neat you have going on that you would like to share with us?
I want everybody to like my page on Facebook. I want it to get so many likes that you can’t like it anymore. I don’t know what that number is, but my goal for 2016 is to have 60,000 likes on my Facebook page. I want 60,000 likes on my first full year of being an international rodeo entertainer.
I’ll be in Des Moines, Iowa at the Wells Fargo arena January 8th and 9th. Then we go to Moline, Illinois, January 22 and 23, for the World’s Toughest, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa on the 29th and 30th of January.
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