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Rodeo clown rides in early to kick off Western Week
by Jason Collins
Oct 17, 2012 | 2151 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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“Backflip” Johnny Dudley talks to Meagan Retzloff during his visit to St. Mary’s Academy Charter School Tuesday morning. Dudley was at the school promoting both the rodeo and the “Little Britches Buckout” Saturday.
Jason Collins photo “Backflip” Johnny Dudley talks to Meagan Retzloff during his visit to St. Mary’s Academy Charter School Tuesday morning. Dudley was at the school promoting both the rodeo and the “Little Britches Buckout” Saturday.
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Jason Collins photo
Sofia Alaniz cheers as ‘Backflip’ Johnny Dudley performs for her and the other students at St. Mary’s Academy Charter School Tuesday morning. Dudley is one of the clowns who will be in the arena during Saturday’s PBR rodeo.
Jason Collins photo Sofia Alaniz cheers as ‘Backflip’ Johnny Dudley performs for her and the other students at St. Mary’s Academy Charter School Tuesday morning. Dudley is one of the clowns who will be in the arena during Saturday’s PBR rodeo.
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It’s OK to call this former Marine a clown. It’s what he does for a living.

“Backflip” Johnny Dudley was at St. Mary’s Academy Charter School Tuesday morning entertaining the students and promoting some of the upcoming events that tie in with Western Week.

There will be a “Little Britches Buckout” at Tractor Supply at 1:30 p.m. Saturday after the Western Week Parade for all of the little guys and girls ages 3 to 8 to buck their bulls – or more accurately stick horses.

“You will get your eight seconds in the round pen to show us what you got and how hard you spur that bull,” said Kries Vaughan, who is helping promote the rodeo. “We are picking 10 (youngsters) to go to the PBR Saturday night to meet all the bull riders coming in from all over the world.”

The main event though will be the PBR rodeo at the Expo Center.

Dudey will be one of the rodeo clowns in the arena keeping the estimated 50 bull riders safe.

He has been a profession rodeo clown about 10 years now.

His transition to clowning occurred when he saw a rodeo while still in the military and stationed in South Carolina.

After receiving an honorable discharge, he went to college and earned a degree in international business.

He got a regular job and did a little rodeo clowning on the side.

“I just found a local rodeo that let me try it out,” he said.

He was a natural.

And, well, the rest is history.

Now, he tours the country performing in rodeos like the one coming to Beeville this weekend.

“For the last 40 years, Jack Simmons of Oklahoma and JK Rodeo Company out of Pecos, Texas, has become famous for the quality of stock it provides for PRCA Rodeos, including the NFR and the PBR Tours,” Vaughan said.

“The same amazing stock athletes who won in San Antonio, Houston, San Angelo and Cheyenne will be just feet in front of the viewing audience at the Bee County Expo Center in Beeville.”

The rodeo starts at 7 p.m. with tickets at $15 on sale now at all of the Pantry locations, The Wicker Basket and Cavender’s of Corpus Christi.

Of course, this is just one of the many events coming to the Expo Center this weekend.

There is a magician, a reptile show and a variety of musicians performing. Concho Cowboys are also returning to town to showcase their Old West gunfighting performance.

With so many acts, and a host of popular musicians including Ray Wylie Hubbard, coming to town, county officials assure the Expo Center grounds will be ready. Recent complaints about cleanliness and the restrooms, they say, should be cleared up.

Commissioner Eloy Rodriguez has taken on the dirty task of cleaning up the restrooms, because he was the first of the commissioners to be approached about the problem.

“What the Western Week Committee is planning to do is put about 18 portable restrooms out,” Rodriguez said.

“That is a temporary fix.

“Eventually, what we will try to do is rework the contracts, where the party who is leasing the grounds is responsible for ensuring the grounds are kept clean during the event they are hosting.

“Right now, we don’t have any language that talks about that.”

Eventually, he said, he would like to see the restrooms improved and even expanded. He plans to get numbers together for the next county budget to see if these could be done with the finances available.

The county has seen a lot of growth recently as bigger names come to perform, drawing people from throughout the area.

“Unfortunately, especially in the pavilion area, we haven’t kept up with the growth.”

Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.
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