Steamboat Springs Friday’s iteration of the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series will feature an athlete, a daredevil and a comedian. And he’s all the same person.
His name is Timber Tuckness, and he is a rodeo clown.
“When they hear rodeo clown, they think circus clown; they don’t realize the athleticism that goes into fighting bulls and protecting cowboys,” Tuckness said. “You know, you have be quick witted, you have to stay in shape and you have to be able to understand livestock.”
It’s easy to be skeptical of the athleticism of men and women with painted faces who tell jokes and act as a bull’s glorified punching bag. However, that criticism is muffled with one look at the YouTube video of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Bullfighter of the Year, Timber Tuckness’ son, Dusty, doing a backflip over a 2,000-pound bull charging at his back.
At 53 years old, Timber Tuckness doesn’t have the backflip in his bag of tricks. What he does have is a quick wit and the savvy of a man who has spent his life in the rodeo business.
“What I like to do is I like to keep the crowd involved. I’ve got some comedy acts that nobody has ever done. I bring a lot of new stuff to the table,” Tuckness said.
Tuckness will be in town for this weekend’s Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series performances, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. He will return to the Yampa Valley July 19 and 20 as well as Aug. 9 and 10. The rodeos are held at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena at Fifth Street and Howelsen Parkway in downtown Steamboat. Tickets are $16 for adults and $9 for children ages 7 to 15.
“I know a lot of the people up in Steamboat,” Tuckness said. “They’re like family.”
Joining Tuckness in the festivities this weekend at the rodeo is the Pendleton Posse, a group of authentic Western young women who travel the country promoting Pendleton Whisky.
There also will be a Chute-Out at Friday’s rodeo, where fans can purchase discs for $5 and try to throw them at banners in the middle of the arena. Prizes for landing the disc include, among other things, free rounds of golf at Haymaker Golf Course, restaurant gift certificates and a grand prize of an $1,800 Steamboat ski and stay vacation.
Jake Miller, a 2012 graduate of Steamboat Springs High School, is working as a summer intern for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. He recently completed his freshman year at Nebraska Wesleyan University.