Posted 10 months ago
By Robert Lovell
North Platte, Neb. (June 9, 2014) – The only difference between a stand-up comedian and Justin Rumford, is that he does his “schtick” in the middle of a rodeo arena.
Rumford, who lives in Ponca City, Okla., will be the rodeo clown and barrelman for the 2014 Buffalo Bill Rodeo in North Platte June 18-21.
The 34 year old cowboy grew up in the rodeo business, the third generation of Rumfords in the family’s stock contracting company. He competed in junior high, high school, and college rodeo and became a full time steer wrestler. But after blowing out his knee, he had other ideas. He coached a college rodeo team and worked for Bennie Beutler, the stock contractor for North Platte, driving truck, and loading, sorting and feeding livestock.
He was a natural at making people laugh, but being a clown never occurred to him. It was only after he worked as clown at a couple of events that he changed his mind. “I worked a bull riding in Pretty Prairie (Kan.), and they gave me a thousand bucks. And I thought, why the heck am I working so hard for $800 a week, when I can make $1000 a weekend? So I jumped ship. I love rodeo,” he cracks, “but the one thing I love more than that is making money.”
And lucky for rodeo fans, Rumford became a full time rodeo clown.
Now he entertains at rodeos across the nation, from the East Coast to the West Coast, Texas to the Canada border. He’s even been selected –twice – as the Clown of the Year for the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association. The humble man was honored. “I don’t know if I deserve it, but I’m fortunate to accept it.”
Justin and his wife Ashley were blessed with triplet children, born in September of last year. Daughters Livi and Lola and son Bandy were born prematurely but are healthy and well now, and Justin already has plans for his kids in his clown acts. He’s planning on building a horse racing starting gate for three, and when the babies are three or four, they’ll ride into the arena on Shetland ponies, dressed in jockey outfits, and they’ll have a pony race.
And they’re providing him material for writing a book for expectant fathers of multiple children. When he and Ashley were waiting for their babies to be born, Justin read up on having multiples. “I went on Amazon and bought all these books, and they’re a bunch of lies,” he joked. “I’m writing a book: The Truth About Triplets – A Rodeo Clown’s Confession. I’m writing about everything from four years of infertility treatments to bed rest, to me rodeoing when Ashley was in the hospital. I think it’ll be a great book, and I hope it helps fathers of multiples. I put real life experiences about what it’s like, and I didn’t sugar coat anything. I guarantee, I didn’t sleep the whole month of December,” (when the babies came home from the neonatal ICU.)
And he’s planning on bringing the babies to North Platte with him. His wife and kids were with him for rodeos in March and April, and he misses them when he’s gone and they’re at home. “I have a 44 foot (travel) trailer, and I can bring the whole family with me. I’d rather be miserable on the road (with them) than happy by myself.”
Justin will entertain with his comedy and acts during each night of the Buffalo Bill Rodeo June 18-21. General admission tickets are $7 for children and $13 for adults. Reserved seats are $20. For more information, visit NebraskaLandDays.com or call the NebraskalandDays office at 308.532.7939.