LOVINGTON, N.M. – When Cody Sosebee talks, people listen.
It’s not that he’s that big of a deal. No, Sosebee is a clown and entertainer, and when it talks during each of the five nights of rodeo action during the Lea County Fair and Rodeo, something comedic usually happens.
He returns to this year’s event, set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 4-Saturday, Aug. 7, at Jake McClure Arena; that also includes Lea County Xtreme Bulls, which is Tuesday, Aug. 3.
“After the last year we’ve all experienced around here, Cody is going to be the perfect remedy for this community,” said Trey Kerby, chairman of the rodeo committee and the vice chairman of the Lea County Fair Board. “The crowd really likes him and engages with him. He’s been here several times, and he’s always a crowd favorite.”
Sosebee has been a hit just about everywhere he goes. It’s the reason he’s a regular nominee for the Coors Man in the Can and the PRCA’s Clown of the Year. He’s also been selected to work the barrel at the National Finals Rodeo. In 2018, he was named the PRCA’s Comedy Act of the Year.
“He definitely has the kind of pedigree our rodeo crowd likes, but that’s not why we like him coming back,” Kerby said. “He’s about as normal a person as you can get and has a heck of a sense of humor.”
It comes naturally to Sosebee, 49, of Charleston, Arkansas. He has a true comic’s sense of timing, but he also understands the intricacies that come with rodeo. He was a champion bareback rider before turning his fancy to the comedy and the barrel. He also likes returning to an event like the rodeo in this southeastern New Mexico community.
“There are a lot of cowboys that come to that rodeo from the ranches and the farms,” Sosebee said.
He knows cowboy. He’s been one all his life. He may not wear the hat as often, but he understands the Western lifestyle and what rodeo means to a region. Sosebee has been around rodeo as long as he can remember. He also is good friends with longtime Lovington rodeo announcer Andy Stewart, and their rapport is evident.
“I like how well Cody works with Andy,” Kerby said. “They’re pretty flawless together.”
Much of his humor comes from his size: Sosebee is bigger than most rodeo clowns, and his raw athleticism shows through the extra cushions his body allows. His acts just accentuate it all into one funny package.
“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 am very humbled by it, because I automatically thought of the guys who had come before me who had never been selected to work the finals,” he said. “There’s no way to describe it, because the guys voted for it. I can take that with me forever.”