DODGE CITY, Kan. â€“ There are only a handful of accomplishments funnyman Cody Sosebee hasnâ€™t achieved in a strong rodeo career.
Heâ€™s been nominated five times as the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Clown of the Year, including each of the past four seasons. Heâ€™s worked many of the top events in the sportâ€™s history and has been recognized as a premier entertainer. But heâ€™s never worked the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo.
That changes in 2015. For the first time in the eventâ€™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.
â€śIâ€™m excited about going there as Iâ€™ve ever been about working any rodeo,â€ť Sosebee said. â€śIâ€™ve passed that rodeo arena every year when I leave my home for Cheyenne (Wyo.), and Iâ€™ve always wanted to be there.
â€śItâ€™s one of the most historic Western towns and one of the most recognized rodeos in the country. Itâ€™s a tradition rich place, and Iâ€™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.â€ť
Itâ€™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.
â€śWhen a committee of the stature of Dodge City asks you to come work their rodeo, itâ€™s like Michael Jordan asking if you want to play a game of basketball,â€ť he said. â€śYou 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.â€ť
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 thereâ€™s much more to Sosebee than meets the eye. Over his lifetime, heâ€™s competed in nearly every rodeo event possible and was at the top of his game in bareback riding.
Itâ€™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.
â€śI got into clowning by accident by filling in for guys,â€ť said Sosebee, who also owns a barbecue restaurant in his hometown of Charleston, Ark., just 25 miles east of Fort Smith, Ark. â€śI didnâ€™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.
â€śI 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.â€ť
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.
â€śIâ€™ve always been a competitor in anything I did, from football to basketball to when I was in freestyle bullfighting,â€ť he said. â€śI miss putting my hand in the rigginâ€™ and nodding my head to be 80 points to win the rodeo, but Iâ€™m a realist. Iâ€™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.â€ť
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. Itâ€™s comedy at the purest level.
â€śHaving the ability to laugh at myself is probably my biggest strength,â€ť he said. â€śI donâ€™t take anything too serious. When Iâ€™m watching a comedian, the funniest thing I see is when theyâ€™re honestly open and having a good time. I want the fans to see that Iâ€™m a real person and Iâ€™m having fun, and they can have fun with me.â€ť
Thatâ€™s why Sosebee has excelled as one of the premier rodeo clowns in the game. Thatâ€™s why the volunteer committee is bringing him to town. Itâ€™s another key reason Dodge City Roundup Rodeo is always at the top of the game.