KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Cody Sosebee knows his silhouette better resembles Alfred Hitchcock than most rodeo clowns.
“Some people see me weigh about 150 pounds more than the guy next to me, but that’s OK,” said Sosebee, who will work his entertaining magic during the American Royal Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, and Saturday, Sept. 29, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, at Hale Arena in the American Royal complex.
“I think a rodeo clown is supposed to be a court jester and is supposed to do things you don’t expect. They’ll get to see me do a front flip or do something acrobatic and high energy, and it surprises the crowd, but it’s my job to keep moving for a solid two hours of a performance.”
He gets that opportunity at some of the biggest rodeos in the country, which is why he’s so excited to be part of this year’s Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association event in Kansas City.
“To me, the American Royal is one of the most prestigious events we have and it’s one of the top rodeos in the country,” said Sosebee, 40, of Charleston, Ark. “It seems to get a little more attention because it’s one of the most important rodeos near the end of the season, so it’s one of the rodeos everybody’s talked about for a long time.
“Plus, I get to work with the announcer of the year in Randy Corley and the stock contractor of the year in Stace Smith. When you get to work with the top guys in the field, it helps you raise your game. It’s like getting to play basketball with Michael Jordan.”
While modest, Sosebee is already in that category. He’s been in the running for the PRCA’s Clown of the Year and has been recognized as one of the top five barrelmen/funnymen in rodeo.
“I think I bring a sense of energy to an event, and I try to bring a new level of energy,” he said. “I try to bring a high level of energy to your show. I think rodeo competes with other extreme sports, and I think we’re in a class of entertainment like those.
“When people come to an event, they want to see the level of high energy for the entire two hours they’re there, and that’s what I want to give them.”
What Sosebee provides actually goes beyond high energy. His job as a barrelman is to be a safety valve for others who are in the arena during the bull riding competition, but he’s also a big part of the overall production of the show. He provides a flair for comedy, and he’s pretty good at it.
Rodeo is nothing new to Sosebee. In fact, he grew up in the sport. His father was a pickup man, and his mother was a barrel racer. He admits to living with an alter-ego, where one day he’s on his place in northwest Arkansas and another he is working his “stage” show in front of thousands of fans.
“I just love this,” he said. “I’m just a small town country kid from Arkansas, and I get to come to Kansas City and perform for three days. That’s the cool factor. I get to see a lot of things and do a lot of things I wouldn’t get to do if I were just at home all the time doing what I do.
“I enjoy making the crowd laugh. The times area hard and the economy’s rough, and we’ve got people who are paying a price for the ticket; I want them to come and be entertained, and I want them to forget whatever troubles they’re having for that two hours.”