SAN ANGELO, Texas – San Angelo Police Chief Frank Carter braved some bulls during the third performance of the San Angelo Rodeo on Saturday, April 10, 2021.
“To say the least, it was exciting, yet a little nerve-racking,” Carter said.
Carter’s participation in the rodeo came as a shock to the crowd and even some of the rodeo staff and volunteers. Executive Director of the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo, Justin Jonas, set up the surprise appearance and kept it under wraps.
“It’s not everyday a 53-year-old guy, not in the best shape, gets to suit up like a clown and get in a barrel at the local rodeo,” Carter said.
“I took the challenge head on although my nerves didn’t allow me to sleep well for a day or so before the event. My only barrel clown experience came from goggle searches the day before and I think it made things worse as I saw bulls sticking their horns in the barrel and trainees like me falling out of the barrel,” Carter said.
But professional Rodeo Clown and Barrelman Justin Rumford who has worked the San Angelo Rodeo many times before was there to calm Carter’s nerves.
“At one point I told the professional barrelman I didn’t want to fall out the barrel and if I did, ‘you will be there to help me back in right?'” Carter said.
Carter did end up falling out but, as Rumford said, it’s all part of the job.
“Justin Rumford told me, ‘As a clown you make people laugh. If you fall out, it will be fine.'” Carter said.
After his appearance, Carter has been asked several questions but states these are by far the top two he’s gotten.
“Number 1, ‘Are you sore?’ I was little sore the next day, not from the barrel, but from the 6 hours of stretches I did Saturday so I could prepare my body to fold up like a pretzel in the bottom of the barrel. And number 2, ‘Would you do it again?’ It’s a toss up between being the barrelman or taking a few snaps at a professional football game,” Carter said.
Overall, he shared that he was grateful for the experience and has a newfound respect for those who make a career out of entertaining crowds all while dodging danger.