The Way I See Things # 3

- July 6, 2011

Too Much Monkey Business...

“Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right….”  Gerry Rafferty (Thanks Ray and George)

Last month I did something very few people in this town actually do.  I attended the Rodeo de Santa Fe.  It was not my first rodeo (laugh here), and although I’ve lived in town about nine years, this is the first time I went to our local version.  In fact I was there all four nights.  (It was a great time, and I strongly recommend that you go next year.) 

For those of you who have bothered to read my first blog  “How I See Things #1”, (click on my name to check it out), you’ll understand that I’m an event person -- I was actually working at the Rodeo, assisting with Ticketing and Logistics.  But that’s not really the point of this blog.  But because I was there helping out, I ended up performing as part of the show.

Let’s go back to beginning.  Through a mutual friend, I met Dynamite Dave Copher the Chairman of the Rodeo Board (not his exact title), who told me that he had been a rodeo clown for many years.  There’s a picture somewhere of us together at the party where we met a few years ago where I was (ironically enough) in clown make-up (a story too long to tell here) and he was in civilian clothes.  When he told me that he was a rodeo clown I was awed.   I mean, next to team mascot (Phillie Phanatic), being a rodeo clown had to be one of the coolest things to do in front of an audience that I could think of – bulls or no bulls (insert Rim Shot here).  Anyway, we kept in touch and I told him I’d help out with this year’s rodeo any way that I could. 

During the rodeo, as part of the activities, there was a reunion of rodeo clowns from all over the country.  I was literally surrounded a bunch of guys (some retired) in clown make-up and silly clothes for four nights.  I knew none of them -- yet some part of me would have traded a chunk of my past for a chunk of theirs.  Hands down.

So because they were all together, the clowns decided to do a few special performances as a group between rodeo competitions.  I saw some bits and pieces as they worked out their routines.  Dynamite Dave (in the pith helmet in above photos) was going to be directing the action, and he let me know that for one of the acts that they wanted to do, they needed a gorilla.  Not a real one, (enough livestock in the house already, I guess), but a guy in a gorilla suit.  And that’s where I came in.  See, as a screaming extrovert, (you remembered!), the opportunity to perform in front of a few thousand people is one I cannot pass up.  So in 100-degree weather I climbed into a (very realistic looking – and sweltering) gorilla suit, roamed through the audience, climbed a fence, and let a gang of clowns do their worst in the center of the rodeo.  (See video). 

The moral of this story is that the Rodeo de Santa Fe is one more really fun thing in Santa Fe that you should get off your couch and go see.  And while you’re there, think about how you’d feel in a gorilla suit, being chased by clowns in 100-degree heat through a dirt arena.  I know that to some people this might sound like a childhood nightmare -- but I promise that it was a blast.  A special thanks to Cathy Scholl for the Rodeo Photos and to Kelly Davis for the Grotto Photo and Rodeo Video.


To answer the question from my last blog – What I believe is the world’s most famous grotto is on the grounds of the Playboy Mansion.  And as the above picture shows, I did get a chance to go in it – alas without any Playmates.  As a side note – what I see as the world’s second most famous grotto, the Blue Grotto off the isle of Capri, also received a visit from yours truly.  As did the grotto in the Pitti Palace in Florence.  I guess I’m just a grotto-y kind of guy. 

Next time:  Was that really Paris Hilton?