Nationally Known Rodeo Clown at Rodeo of the Ozarks

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Rodeo clowns are like no other entertainer.

They'll make you laugh but they also play another very important role and that's protecting cowboys, something Rudy Burns has been doing for the last forty years.

"I started fighting bulls and now I'm in the barrel. I call it a retirement plan for old bull riders," says Burns.

Being a rodeo clown is something  Burns never thought he'd do.

"I was riding bulls one day and the clown didn't show up. I was always playing jokes on these guys; I'd fill up their boots with sand, hide their bull ropes and stuff. A Guy told me to get out there and do something funny while he loads the bulls so I got out there and had a yelling contest. It’s been 40 years of this. "

Entertain the crowd and protect bull riders, burns gets in the barrel when he sees those horns headed his way.

"The barrel takes the beating. I still see them birdies when those bulls but no broken bones, lacerations or nothing like that."

Except for one time which left a scar on his face but didn't scare him away from a rodeo.

"And the bull came around with s horn and when He did he stuck a horn right here took a mouthful of teeth out. But it beats working," explains Burns.

Burns has been named top barrel man in 1995 and 2000 and has been in rodeos all over in the country.

But Burns says performing in the Rodeo of the Ozarks is an honor.

"Out of all the rodeos in the country and Canada, Springdale was rated top five. Now that's a feather in a hatch."

Burns turns 63 in September and says he has no plans on ever quitting.