10/02/12 — Ride 'em, cowboys: Wicked Bulls take the arena

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Ride 'em, cowboys: Wicked Bulls take the arena

By John Joyce
Published in News on October 2, 2012 1:46 PM

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Rodeo clown Austin Stewart twirls his lariat during a routine Monday night at the Wicked Bulls riding competition. With pink hair, dancing skills and antics, he was a crowd favorite.

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Charlie Tolbull rides high on the back of a leaping bull during the Wicked Bulls competition at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair on Monday night. The bullriding will continue tonight at 7 at the fair grandstand.

More than 300 spectators were on hand to see the hats and horns fly Monday as Wicked Bulls Productions returned to the Wayne County Agricultural Fair for a hoot and a holler, or, more simply put, a bull riding competition.

Nobody noticed until it was over, however, not even the Wayne County sheriff's deputies posted nearby, that it was Austin the Clown who stole the show.

At 7 p.m., a cascade of sparks set the tone.

A line of fire arose from the dirt and one by one the riders and bullfighters, men with names like Reed Hair and Brandon Chambers, tipped their hats to the crowd as they were introduced.

The final name called was Austin Stewart, the Rodeo Clown.

"I liked the Mexican bullfighters, but Austin was the best," said an 8-year-old future bullfighter named Tyler.

Austin brought a pink barrel of laughs, literally, to a rough and tumble rodeo show. His barrel was painted and his hair was dyed the color that signifies support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is October.

The crowd was wowed by the power of the bulls and the bravery of the strapping men in plaid shirts and big hats who were spitting tobacco and slapping backs, climbing over railings and tying their ropes.

But when the announcer challenged Austin to a $50 dance competition the audience fell to pieces.

"I bet I can play any song, and you can't dance to it," the announcer challenged.

The clown was game.

He did a decent Elvis and a not so decent Michael Jackson.

He pop 'n locked to an upbeat Canadian hit called "Beaver Fever," and he even pulled off a dead-on Wham rendition of the jitterbug.

But what sealed the one-man dance off was the "Titanic" finale when Austin climbed to the top rung of one of the side railings and did the king-of-the-world pose from the film to the crooning of Celine Dion.

This clown is no show business newbie.

Austin has performed with Cirque du Soleil and appeared on America's Got Talent.

In the end only three of the riders stayed on their bulls longer than the qualifying eight seconds. Chad Van Amberg, on the back of a bull called Juke Box, won the event with 88 and a half points.