DODGE CITY, Kan. – There are only a handful of accomplishments funnyman Cody Sosebee hasn’t achieved in a strong rodeo career.
He’s been nominated five times as the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Clown of the Year, including each of the past four seasons. He’s worked many of the top events in the sport’s history and has been recognized as a premier entertainer. But he’s never worked the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo.
That changes in 2015. For the first time in the event’s ProRodeo-Hall-of-Fame history, the Arkansas man will be a featured player in the six nights of world-class rodeo action, with the Xtreme Bulls planned for 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, July 28, and five incredible rodeo performances set for 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, July 29-Sunday, Aug. 2, at Roundup Arena.
“I’m excited about going there as I’ve ever been about working any rodeo,” Sosebee said. “I’ve passed that rodeo arena every year when I leave my home for Cheyenne (Wyo.), and I’ve always wanted to be there.
“It’s one of the most historic Western towns and one of the most recognized rodeos in the country. It’s a tradition rich place, and I’ve been a lot of great places in my career. This is like a feather in your hat when you work an event like Dodge City.”
It’s an honor to work the elite events in the sport. Not only has he worked Cheyenne, Sosebee also has been a primary entertainer at the River City Rodeo in Omaha, Neb., and the Calgary (Alberta) Stampede.
“When a committee of the stature of Dodge City asks you to come work their rodeo, it’s like Michael Jordan asking if you want to play a game of basketball,” he said. “You get to work with an A team of personnel and an A team list of stock. Anytime you get to work with people who excel in their field, it only makes me that much better.”
In addition to his clowning nomination, the former competitor also has been nominated for the PRCA Comedy Act of the Year two of the past three seasons. But there’s much more to Sosebee than meets the eye. Over his lifetime, he’s competed in nearly every rodeo event possible and was at the top of his game in bareback riding.
It’s part of the life growing up in a family that was heavily involved in rodeo. His father was a pickup man, so Sosebee has been part of the sport as long as he can remember.
“I got into clowning by accident by filling in for guys,” said Sosebee, who also owns a barbecue restaurant in his hometown of Charleston, Ark., just 25 miles east of Fort Smith, Ark. “I didn’t know where I was going to go with my rodeo career when I quit riding barebacks, and it turned into a good living. I get to see the world.
“I live in a community with one four-way stop, and I get to go to Dodge City, Kansas, and a lot of other great places where as soon as you pull into town, you are considered a rock star for a week.”
A born competitor, the clown has made the adjustments he needed to get the true fix after a lifetime of being part of the contest.
“I’ve always been a competitor in anything I did, from football to basketball to when I was in freestyle bullfighting,” he said. “I miss putting my hand in the riggin’ and nodding my head to be 80 points to win the rodeo, but I’m a realist. I’m 43 years old. While most of the guys I rodeoed with have slowed down and have found jobs, I get to be in the arena and get to make a living in rodeo doing something I love.”
Sosebee also plays to his strengths. Bigger than many in the game, he showcases a true athleticism that is rarely seen among men of his stature. It’s comedy at the purest level.
“Having the ability to laugh at myself is probably my biggest strength,” he said. “I don’t take anything too serious. When I’m watching a comedian, the funniest thing I see is when they’re honestly open and having a good time. I want the fans to see that I’m a real person and I’m having fun, and they can have fun with me.”
That’s why Sosebee has excelled as one of the premier rodeo clowns in the game. That’s why the volunteer committee is bringing him to town. It’s another key reason Dodge City Roundup Rodeo is always at the top of the game.