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A rodeo clown to monster truck MC

As soon as he learned how to walk, Joe Scully was given a lasso, and practised roping a bale of hay.

As soon as he learned how to walk, Joe Scully was given a lasso, and practised roping a bale of hay.

When he got older, he started roping real calves in rodeos.

The cowboy-oriented competitions are a passion of his father’s, so Scully grew up around bulls, broncos and steers.

At 15, his dad landed him an unusual summer job: Rodeo clown. “You’ve got to be joking!” Scully responded.

But he did it anyway: Dressed up in loose cowboy clothes and a grease-painted face, Scully would perform some high jinks in the ring and banter with the MC between acts. He worked for a company that toured around Ontario doing performances on weekends.

He got pretty good at it. His summer job until age 20, Scully developed numerous skits and props — pretending to be a paramedic, driving a clown car — and adored talking over the mic to the crowd.

Thinking he’d like to make this his long-term career, Scully looked for a college program that suited his goal. He found radio broadcasting at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ont., which was not far from his family’s farm.

School led to DJ work and eventually a job in radio sales. The rodeo company called sometimes, asking him to clown, but he kept turning them down. “But if you need an announcer, I might be interested in that.”

Finally, six years ago, he was asked to MC for the spring-to-fall rodeo season. The first two shows did not go well. The rodeo clown refused to banter with Scully — a key part of the job. “I thought I’d be cut.” Nope: The rodeo fired the clown and Scully went on to have a great first season calling rodeos on weekends and selling ads for radio during the week.

Now Scully, who’s 30 and lives in Erin, Ont., has his MC routine perfected and does about 30 shows a year.

Thanks to word-of-mouth, plus a few awards, Scully now gets works in the United States and Canada, plus he’s started calling for Monster Jam (which runs monster truck shows).

 
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