Home Australia Rodeo clown Dennis Halstead is all smiles, even as he risks yet more broken bones

Rodeo clown Dennis Halstead is all smiles, even as he risks yet more broken bones

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Man dressed in clown costume and makeup appearing from a barrel in a rodeo ring.

Behind the makeup and big shoes, being a rodeo clown is serious business.

Canadian Dennis Halstead returns home after performing alongside rodeo riders at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

He said the job can be a lot of fun.

“I like the crowd to sing Sweet Caroline or Take Me Home, Country Road and maybe a Mexican wave and I even tell some jokes.”

Dennis is no stranger to danger(Supplied: Royal Agricultural Society)

But when the rodeo events begin, things get serious and quickly.

Dennis is in the ring to distract the bulls if the riders get out, and he has a barrel that he and the other cowboys can retreat to if things get hairy.

Bull charging into a barrel in the rodeo arena

If a bull hits you in the safety barrel, “it’s like being in a dryer that has been pushed down the stairs.”(Supplied: Royal Agricultural Society)

“The barrel is an island of safety if the riders need it… and if the bull chases them, then I’m the one who has to take the hit,” he said.

Needless to say, it is a risky business.

“I’ve broken every bone in my body… if the bull comes after me in the barrel, then it’s like being in a dryer that’s been pushed down the stairs.”

“I’ve even been knocked out several times in the barrel.”


Committed to the job

Dennis said he has to be 100 percent focused on the job.

“These riders are my friends… I’m on the track with them all the time… they’re like family, so we look out for each other.”

Man wearing clown costume and makeup giving a thumbs up with his hands.

Dennis says he has long been a fan of bringing joy to audiences. (Supplied: Dennis Halstead)

Dennis clowns at rodeos around the world for 10 months of the year.

“I love it…and when you love what you do, you never work a day in your life!”

“There’s so much negativity in the world that I just like to make people laugh and put a smile on their faces.”

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