Tuff Hedeman announced that the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) 2019 award-winning “Man in the Can” Johnny Backflip Dudley, a retired US Marine sergeant turned rodeo clown, will debut as the barrel man in the one night only performance of the annual Hobbs Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, at the Lea County Event Center.
“Johnny’s probably one of the hottest talents in time-honored western entertainment, his quick wit and off the cuff banter is headed to Huron, he always has enough time to visit with every kid and fan,” said 4-time World Champion and Pro Rodeo Hall of Famer Tuff Hedeman.
In December, at the 2019 National Finals Rodeo PRCA Banquet, Dudley was awarded the highest honor for his profession, the PRCA Coors Man in the Can. Dudley, a highly decorated clown, has been chosen twice for the Turquoise Circuit Finals rodeo, five times for the PRCA’s All American Finals, and nominated twice for the PRCA Comedy Act of the Year, joined the Tuff Hedeman Tour last August when he performed in Huron, South Dakota.
“From the first time that I put makeup on, to the day that I received my PRCA card in 2003, to the many times that I watched others win this buckle, to the miles driven and so many nights away from home, this buckle is one that I’ve had dreams about,” he said.
“It’s the one that every rodeo clown dreams about. It’s a gold buckle. The same gold buckle that is given to the world champion cowboys,” he said.
But as impressive as what Dudley has done in the rodeo arena, is what he did before finding the rodeo world.
Dudley, a professional clown on the rodeo and bull riding circuits since 2000, spent eight years as a United State Marine. While Johnny’s path was unconventional, it was Johnny’s mom that guided him to his eight years as a United States Marine. After reaching Sargent status and serving in Kosovo, he received an honorable discharge to pursue his advanced degree in International Business.
“I saw a rodeo clown act while serving as a United States Marine and thought he was funny and cool. I went up to him and asked about it. I wanted to try it, and when I got out of the Marines I moved back to Dayton I found a local practice rodeo arena where I could learn the craft, and next thing you know, here we are 19 years later, and I’m still doing it,” said Dudley about getting his start in pro rodeo.
Hands down the favorite part of being a rodeo clown for former U.S. Marine is putting smiles on people’s faces.
“Everyone in this world has problems going on in their life. Whether its money, loss of family, cancer, and at a rodeo, that person might be sitting next to someone with no problems, if I can make both of them seem like the same person for just that two hours, it makes it worth it,” said Dudley.
Athletic ability separates Dudley from the field of clowns. Nicknamed Johnny Backflip Dudley that specific skill divided the newcomer into the established, generational, and crowded field of clowns and specialty acts.
“The athletic ability to do backflips while fighting bulls and jumping over bulls is what makes me unique, I guess, no one expected that from the barrel man,” continued Dudley.
According to Dudley, in addition to athletics, Dudley has improved in other areas as well. Honing his skills on the road over the previous 19 years, Dudley says his timing has improved.
“In rodeo, you have to learn to work both ends…I know when to say what and I understand production, so I am not in the way,” laughed the Dayton, Texas native.
Dudley’s claims his knowledge of production stems from moonlighting as a rodeo announcer.
“When I started rodeoing for a living I worked some as a clown, and I announced some too, I really did not know which way I wanted to go. I believe that announcing experience helps me be a better clown. If the announcer is struggling, I can jump in…or out.”
Looking forward to working in Huron for the first time, Dudley explains how he got the job.
“I am looking forward to working with the production team at his events this season. He has the reputation of good money, great bull riders, announcers, and the top people of their field – which makes a very nice environment to work in, his productions are well respected within the industry and the fans,” said Dudley.
Dudley invites you to his debut performance in Hobbs, where Tuff and the team of great bull riders and crew guarantee they will help you forget about your problems and laugh and have fun for two hours.
“If I can accomplish that, it’s absolutely my favorite part.”
For more information, contact Leigh Ann Schroeder at 940.902.1112,. Follow us on Face-book (Tuff Hedeman) and Instagram Gram @TuffHedemanOfficial, and Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Website.