SPRINGDALE (KFSM) — There's a new clown in town, and he's bringing the laughs at the annual Rodeo of the Ozarks.
Rodeo of the Ozarks is one of the country's most popular outdoor rodeos, and it starts today (June 26) at Parsons Stadium in Springdale. This year, it includes a veteran rodeo clown sure to entertain the audiences each of the rodeo's four nights.
Ronald Burton has been involved in rodeos for more than 30 years, but he knew he was meant to be a rodeo clown.
"I started out as a bull rider," Burton said. "I rode bulls for six years but quit for two reasons. I was not any good, and number two, I wasn’t getting any better. I was always athletic and was always the class clown, so being a rodeo clown just came natural to me."
He says that participating in a rodeo as popular as Rodeo of the Ozarks is an honor.
"It means a whole lot to me, because I’ve heard lots of good things about this rodeo, and some of my rodeo heroes have worked this rodeo, so me being able to come here and fill their shoes, it’s kind of surreal," he said.
The rodeo runs from Wednesday to Saturday, with plenty of exciting events planned, such as bull riding and Mutton Bustin'. Board director Sach Oliver says what makes this rodeo special is how everyone in the community comes together.
"I think what sets it apart is the community involvement and all of the volunteers that come together and the businesses and sponsors who come together to put this on is what makes it so special," Oliver said.
This is the 75th year for the Rodeo of the Ozarks and while it may be Burton's first year to bring the laughs, he says he is up to the challenge. There's no guarantee what he may pull out of his sleeves, but he says it is guaranteed to bring a smile and laugh to everyone watching.
"Rodeo fans are the best fans in the whole wide world, so if they’re willing to spend their hard earned money to come out to this rodeo, then for those two hours I’m going to do everything I can to take their minds off of work, school or whatever is going on at home," Burton said. "So it’ll be nonstop action from start to stop, and I’m just looking forward to it."
The doors open at 6 p.m. and Mutton Bustin' starts at 6:30 p.m. See the full schedule here.