PROFESSIONAL BULL RIDERS
PUEBLO, Colorado — Legendary Montana bull riding and rodeo clown Flint Rasmussen will soon take a different look at the arena.
Rasmussen, the official entertainer of Professional Bull Riders since 2006, has announced that he will be retiring from his role on the dirt at the end of the 2023 Unleash The Beast season. Rasmussen will join the sport’s televised coverage as a commentator for the PBR Team Series season, which begins later this year.
Rasmussen, one of the most recognizable and enduring figures in professional sports even when he doesn’t compete in the events, is credited with reinventing and modernizing the role of the “rodeo clown” into a multi-hyphenated entertainer who combined song, dance, Fan interactions, off-the-cuff commentary and spontaneous comedy.
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After going on a farewell tour during the remaining 14 events of Unleash The Beast’s regular season, Rasmussen’s final appearances in the Elite Series will be May 12-21 at the PBR World Finals in Fort Worth, Texas.
Treasure State fans will have a chance to catch Rasmussen fooling around in Montana again when the Cooper Tires presented PBR Wrangler Invitational takes place April 14-16 at MetraPark’s First Interstate Arena.
A special “retirement party” will be held for Rasmussen in conjunction with PBR’s “Dirty 30 Anniversary Celebration” on May 17th in Fort Worth during the PBR World Finals.
Fans can then see him in roles both in front of and behind the camera, including coverage of the PBR Team Series on CBS Television Network, CBS Sports Network and Pluto TV later this year.
“I’m a blessed man,” Rasmussen said. “I’ve had an amazing career in rodeo and continued to find my identity with the opportunities that the PBR offered me. I competed in my first World Finals in 1997, so I don’t take that decision lightly, nor do I make it without being absolutely sure. But physically and emotionally, it’s time to move on. Making the decision now gives me time to consider all of my future career options, including participating in televising the PBR Team Series later this year. My goal is to continue to have a powerful impact on the growth and maintenance of our Western lifestyle.”
With a number of markets important to Rasmussen’s career lined up on PBR’s Unleash The Beast schedule, including Sacramento in Northern California this weekend, the award-winning entertainer wanted to announce his plans now, to thank fans for their supporting role in his to recognize and thank their legendary careers.
“More than anything, on behalf of the entire Western esports industry, I want to thank Flint for bringing joy to millions of fans, always being a thoughtful advocate for our PBR brand, and for his countless contributions to our sport both inside and outside the arena,” said PBR Commissioner and CEO Sean Gleason. “He leaves the dirt, but not our sport. We are all fortunate to continue to see Flint’s love of our sport, his passion for entertaining fans, and his inimitable perspective that is part of the soul of PBR on future CBS shows.”
In addition to his role on PBR, Flint is an eight-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Clown of the Year and an eight-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Barrel Man.
Since 2006, Rasmussen has been the master of ceremonies, on-dirt quarterback, sultan of sarcasm, and prime instigator of both the mischief and unfiltered thoughts that unfold at PBR events. The former schoolteacher in clown makeup patrols the dirt like it’s Carnegie Hall’s maple stage floor, cracking jokes that sound like Eddie Murphy crossed paths with Larry the Cable Guy.
Before he joined the gold standard of western entertainment, Flint had always been funny, but unlike so many bull riders who knew exactly what they wanted to be as soon as they could walk, he didn’t grow up planning his life as a Clown to shape the rodeo, let alone reinvent the role.
In his hometown of Choteau, he was neither a show-off nor a class clown. But he liked having fun and getting a reaction. A collection of old Christmas letters from his mother, Tootie, sent annually in the late 1970s has a recurring theme: “Flint still entertains us.”
He regularly took part in school plays and sang in the choir, getting a taste of the admiration of an appreciative audience and feeling a constant “pull” to perform in front of audiences. Growing up in western culture, there was always one place that drew crowds eager to be entertained – rodeo.
When Flint was 19, he started working with amateur rodeos in Montana that summer when he first took on a challenge, getting nervous like he did as an all-state high school football player, but he had absolutely ball at making people smile and laugh. He wasn’t an athlete anymore. But performing in front of people during a rodeo competition was an itch. It feels good. It was fun.
Flint treated rodeo like a summer job; The plan was to graduate from college and then teach. After graduating from the University of Montana Western, he got a job as a high school math and history teacher. But he kept getting calls. Rodeo organizers who caught his act saw potential. Promoters know their crowds, and he broke them. This Flint Rasmussen character could make a name for himself if he gave it a chance, they said. He left teacher’s school at 25 and began performing in professional rodeos.
During a quiet spell in the fall, a rodeo called in Hibbing, Minnesota. Her regular rodeo clown was unable to attend the event because his trailer caught fire on the highway. Could Rasmussen come?
Flint did his thing and impressed one of the stock suppliers, who recommended him to legendary rodeo promoter Jerome Robinson, who happened to be planning a couple of winter shows. Robinson produced PBR’s first events in the 1990s and also used Rasmussen there. One man’s very unfortunate caravan fire lit the fuse for Rasmussen’s rise, so to speak. But to be honest, with the sizzling powder already in place, it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t have been ‘discovered’ to play on much bigger stages.
Rasmussen’s next stage will be the television cameras, broadcasting an international coverage of a sport he continues to love, for fans he will continue to entertain.