When Troy Lerwill was a fledgling clown/barrelman/bullfighter, he worked a rodeo in San Demas, Calif., just outside of Los Angeles.
That’s where he kick-started “The Wild Child” act that has made him a household name in rodeo.
You see, Lerwill was fighting bulls and clowing at the rodeo there for Diamond G Rodeos, where his act was a motorcycle with training wheels. He and announcer Cheyenne Pipkin were working promotion at a feed store when they noticed a small semi that was being used as a display. That’s when the idea of jumping the miniature semi came to be.
That night at the rodeo, the committee had built a wooden ramp for the act. The stock truck pulled up to the arena gate, and Pipkin made a big deal out of Lerwill being able to jump this big rig when, all of the sudden, this miniature semi tractor-trailer appears alongside and cruises into the arena. Lerwill jumps the mini-truck and trailer, and the development of one of rodeo’s greatest acts was set in motion.
“If I count all the things I’d done in the five years before that night, nothing made people laugh this much,” Lerwill said. “So I thought, ‘I’m on to something.’ It went from that point.”
“The Wild Child” has been a major figure in ProRodeo ever since.
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty thankful that the feed store had that semi display, because it was a great gift to rodeo.