Get ready for the funny, Abilene, because it’s headed your way. Rodeo clown Dusty Myers will be on hand during the 75th annual Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo, to entertain fans with his crazy antics.
According to rodeo officials, Dusty is the second generation in his family to be rodeo clowns. His dad, Cary Myers, rodeoed in the International Pro Rodeo Association (IPRA), but by the time Dusty was born, in 1982, he had semi-retired.
Dusty grew up loving everything about rodeo. “I just fell in love with it,” he said. “I saw (rodeo clowns) Lecile Harris and Rudy Burns, and automatically, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
He has always been a fan of Harris, who worked the Abilene rodeo twelve times and passed away in 2020. “I don’t think there was anybody better.”
Dusty was part of his dad’s acts as a youngster, and by the time he was thirteen, he was a bullfighter. He had tried riding steers, but he didn’t like it. He wanted to be in front of them, not on them. For a while, he was the youngest bullfighter ever to work the IPRA’s finals, the International Finals Rodeo, at age eighteen, till Cody Webster took that record at age seventeen. His transition from bullfighting to rodeo clowning came about due to an injury. He suffered a knee injury and came back too early from it; his knee didn’t heal.
A fellow cowboy asked him if he’d ever considered being a clown. He hadn’t, but he thought he’d give it a try. It was 2006, at Muldrow, Oklahoma, and when the weekend was over, he had booked eight more rodeos. His clowning career had begun.
It’s the makeup and clothes that create his character, Dusty believes. “When I put on my makeup and character, it’s easy for me to be in the arena,” he said. “It’s almost like Superman. He doesn’t have any powers till he goes into the phone booth and changes his clothes.”
Abilene rodeo fans will see his “Moo-cedes,” his 2,400 lb. Brahma bull who is decked out like a vehicle. He has a steering wheel, lights on his halter and feet and wears a rearview mirror on his horns. Moo-cedes lays down, kneels, and gives Dusty kisses. “He’s impressive because he’s so big,” he said. “He’s the laziest animal on the face of the earth, but he’s a big baby,” Dusty said. “I crawl all over him in the arena. I sit between his horns. He just stands there and lets me do what I want to do.”
Dusty considers himself one of rodeo’s biggest fans. He loves to watch it, even when he’s not working. “If I was sitting at home and there was a rodeo down the road, I’d go and watch.” He loves everything about it. “I still have familiar smells (at rodeos) from when I was a kid. I especially love the summertime fairs, the smell of cotton candy and kettle corn and corn dogs.”
His job gives him the best seat in the house, he thinks. “I get to watch cowboys and cowgirls compete on a nightly basis, and I get to see some really good hands compete.”
Dusty is married to Brittney; they have a sixteen-year-old son, Hayden; the family lives in Jumpertown, Miss.
The Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo takes place August 4-7 in Abilene, Kan. at the Central Kansas Free Fairgrounds. Performances start at 7:30 pm each night. Tickets are $13 for adults and $5 for kids ages 6-12. They can be purchased at various locations around Abilene and the area, online at www.ckff.net, and at the gate.
For more information, visit the website at WildBillHickokRodeo.com.
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Photo Courtesy Dusty Myers