LAS VEGAS – Justin Rumford was twice as happy as the rest of the winners at the PRCA’s annual awards banquet after winning the 2018 Coors Man in the Can award and the Clown of the Year award at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa’s Grand Ballroom in Las Vegas, Dec. 5.
“People like chubby guys like me, we’re funny,” Rumford laughed. “I think people like my comedy because I don’t make fun of anyone or do anything controversial, I just am myself.”
The 38-year-old entertainer has won Clown of the Year every year since 2012, making this his seventh in a row. He also won the Coors Man in the Can award in 2013 and 2015.
“I wasn’t expecting anything, but I was very thankful for my friends who were part of this,” Rumford said. “It’s pretty cool is all I can say.”
Rumford is no stranger to the big stage, having worked the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2014 and serving as an alternate in 2012 and 2013.
Rumford is known for catching gorillas, jumping motorcycles, being a cheerleader and showing audiences some “self-defense” between events.
Rumford wasn’t sure why he’s been so successful at his craft, but he was quick to share the credit.
“I just try hard every time, and so many good rodeos put me in a position to do well with great committees and soundmen who set me up for success,” Rumford said. “The people who hire me take care of me. I’m thankful to ProRodeo for taking care of me, one of the proudest things for me is to be part of this association.”
Before he hit the barrel, Rumford was behind the scenes at rodeos working as a semi driver for ProRodeo Hall of Famer Bennie Beutler. Then in 2011, Binion Cervi hired Rumford for his first rodeo. Seven years and countless rodeos later he’s a household name when it comes to rodeo entertainment.
“I just got in the right situation when the guy didn’t show up, so I was put in at the Greensburg, Kan., rodeo and it’s been one of the biggest blessings of my life,” Rumford said.
But it’s not all fun and games for this rodeo funnyman. Comedy is serious business, so he does his homework.
“I watch a lot of ‘Saturday Night Live’ and movies and Google stuff to find things that people will enjoy,” Rumford said. “The more rodeos I get, the more I want to do good.”
Rumford’s fans stretch across the country as he’s hit rodeos from Florida to Arizona and on in the Northwest. But his biggest fans are right at home in Ponca City, Okla., his wife, Ashley, and their triplets Livi, Lola and Bandy.
“We have triplets who are 5 years old, so it’s been a little wild having them at home,” Rumford laughed.
• John Justin Standard of the West Committeeman of the Year – Jerry Shepherd, Ute Stampede
• PRCA Media Awards, Rodeo Photographer of the Year – Dan Hubbell
• PRCA Media Awards Excellence in Rodeo Broadcast Journalism – Patrick Gottsch, RFD-TV
• Polaris RANGER Remuda Awards – Gooding, Idaho, PRCA Rodeo Committee; and Sankey Pro Rodeo and Robinson Bulls
• Hesston Sowing Good Deeds Committee – Sikeston, Mo.
• PRCA Veterinarian of the Year – Dr. Charles Graham
• Coors Man in the Can – Justin Rumford
• Clown of the Year – Justin Rumford
• Secretary of the Year – Sandy Gwatney
• Timer of the Year – Kim Sutton
• Dress Act of the Year – Tomas Garcilazo
• Comedy Act of the Year – Cody Sosebee
• Small Rodeo of the Year – Claremore, Okla.
• Medium Rodeo of the Year – Belle Fourche, S.D.
• Large Indoor Rodeo of the Year – San Antonio, Texas
• Large Outdoor Rodeo of the Year – Pendleton, Ore.
• Music Director of the Year – Jill Franzen Loden
• Pickup Man of the Year – Chase Cervi
• Bullfighter of the Year – Dusty Tuckness
• Announcer of the Year – Bob Tallman
• Stock Contractor of the Year – Frontier Rodeo
• PRCA Donita Barnes Contract Personnel Lifetime Achievement – Hadley Barrett
• PRCA | AQHA Horses of the year – Little Smart Leo “Big Time,” owned by Tyler Milligan (tie-down roping); Canted Plan “Scooter,” owned by Tyler Pearson and Kyle Irwin (steer wrestling); RK Tuff Trinket “Bob,” owned by Riley Minor (team roping heading); Zans Colonel Shine “Colonel,” owned by Jake and Tasha Long (team roping heeling); Cooperslittletoy “Cooper,” owned by Chris Glover (steer roping); DM Sissy Hayday “Sister,” owned by Dan and Leslie Kinsel (barrel racing)
• Pendleton Whisky Let ‘er Buck Bucking Stock of the Year – Virgl, C5 Rodeo (Bareback); Lunatic From Hell, Burch Rodeo (Saddle Bronc); Spotted Demon, Big Stone Rodeo, Inc. (Bull)