Stutzman rodeo clown

Shawn Stutzman, a rodeo clown from Staplehurst, gets the crowd cheering before bull riding at the Hoot Gibson Memorial Rodeo May 31. Stutzman has been a clown for 23 years.

Not everyone can do their job from the inside of a Coors beer barrel.

Shawn Stutzman does.

The Staplehurst resident is Nebraska’s only rodeo clown with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association—a group he was accepted into just this year.

“Stutzy,” as he’s known, has been a clown since 1996.


“My whole family’s been in rodeo,” he said. “I’m the only clown. My grandpa rode rough stock events. Dad rode bulls and broncs.”

So did other relatives and Stutzman himself for several years.

Though he’s a transplant from Iowa living in Staplehurst with his wife, Heather, Stutzman said he doesn’t clown for many rodeos in Nebraska.

He was in Tekamah last weekend, May 31 and June 1, for the 60th annual Hoot Gibson Memorial Rodeo.

Next, he’ll head to rodeos in Kansas, South Dakota and other parts of the Midwest.

To become a part of the PRCA, Stutzman had to go through a sort of audition process.

“You have to do five rodeos. They come and watch you, you get judged,” he said.

The staff working each rodeo gets a survey to complete on their experience with the clown.

“Once you get approved for that, you’re in for life,” he said.

Stutzman performed at his first official event as a PRCA member at the beginning of May in Haysville, Kansas.

He said he performs at 60 to 70 rodeos a year— though it’s not his fulltime job.

By day, he works at Tempte in David City, manufacturing grain trailers.

At his most recent show, Stutzman fought bulls and entertained the crowd between divisions, both with a fireworks show (for the rodeo’s 60th anniversary), and a nunchuck routine, among other antics.

“I learned that when I was a little kid. My neighbor knew karate, so he taught me,” Stutzman said.

More from his acts can be found on Facebook and YouTube.

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