By: Justin Felisko August 22, 2014@ 03:00:00 PM
PUEBLO, Colo. — Flint Rasmussen isn’t sure how it all started, but at some point during his 10-year career as the PBR’s exclusive entertainer, he began to start tossing his palm leaf straw cowboy hat toward 2,000-pound bulls during lulls in action.
It wasn’t scripted. It wasn’t planned out. It just happened.
The same could be said last week in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when Rasmussen fired his trusty hat toward Splatter Kat during Round 1 of the Express Employment Professionals Classic after the bull had bucked off Valdiron de Oliveira. With the hat floating at him, Splatter Kat proceeded to kick the hat out of the way inside the BOK Center.
“That is classic,” Rasmussen said. “You can’t script that.”
It is one challenge that Rasmussen, who performed at his first pro rodeo in 1993 at 25 years old, believes entrants in Flint’s: Up Next (F:UN) contest will have to overcome – finding that balance of improv comedy and not relying on a certain script.
“It’s got to be more than talking,” he said. “You can’t just tell me jokes. If you want to get my attention, it is a big stage out there so show some physical comedy, relate to real life or something you have seen on TV. Imitations are good, but it has to be big.
“Everything has to be big. I talk on a microphone, but usually it isn’t what I say that is the best. It is what I say with what I am doing.”
One example is when Rasmussen fought the “dreaded” Australian bull snake during the 2013 Built Ford Tough World Finals. He didn’t just turn on an Australian accent and call it a day. Instead, he dove off the shark cage in the middle of the arena and onto the dirt and began crawling his way towards the ever so figuratively dangerous snake (bull rope).
Once he grabs the snake, a mock battle ensues with Rasmussen eventually being bit in the back of his left knee. In true comedic fashion, he then pleads for Dickies Bullfighter Jesse Byrne to come over and suck the venom out of his wound.
It is flamboyant. It is entertaining.
“It is a little like comparing acting on a movie vs. acting on Broadway,” Rasmussen said. “On Broadway everything is bigger – overacting – and that is kind of what I have to do. Overexaggerated, physical comedy.”
Also, before anyone gets ahead of themselves, Rasmussen isn’t going anywhere. He isn’t planning on retiring anytime soon.
“I am not retiring,” Rasmussen said. “I mean someday I will, but I haven’t made a decision yet. We are not looking for my replacement. If it happened, great; but that is not necessarily the plan. We are trying to engage fans on social media and the web like I do in the arena. That is what it is about. It is fun.”
F:UN is a promotion that encourages fans to submit video auditions to show other fans, Flint and the PBR, what talents they could bring to an event as an entertainer. Two finalists will win a trip to Las Vegas and a chance to appear on Flint’s ‘Outside the Barrel’ show at the Tyson Fan Zone & Marketplace during the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals in October.
The grand prize winner will be able to entertain a PBR audience during a 2015 BlueDEF Velocity Tour event.
There have been countless instances where Rasmussen has been approached in hotel lobbies or at autograph sessions and is told, “I want to do your job. I could do your job. My kid could do your job.”
Fans have even offered up material for him to use. There was one moment when a man handed him three pages of notes and another when a fan simply began to breakdance in front of Rasmussen.
Rasmussen will host a 4-to-5 minute webisode every week taking fans behind-the-scenes at BFTS events and highlighting some contest entries. Rasmussen and a production crew will be filming on-site and welcome fans to come say hello.
“You never know. If you see us walking around with a camera and think you have something, hunt us down,” he said.
Rasmussen says the best entertainers can’t have just one act or one style. They have to be able to adapt to an audience, especially when the BFTS makes stops all over the United States.
“One thing I learned early on is you can’t do the same show every place you go,” Rasmussen said. “You can’t do the same stuff in New York City that you do in Billings, Montana. You better be ready to adapt to different people … so if you think you’re going to come in here with a script, that isn’t going to work.”
Not only that, but over the years Rasmussen has engrained himself into the PBR production. He isn’t just a comedian or a dancer, but he is an expert on the sport of bull riding. It is a challenge that goes unnoticed by many.
“That hardest part is the knowledge,” Rasmussen said. “The timing and the quality of my performance comes from my knowledge of the sport and for how long I have been doing it. I can look at the chutes and I can tell how long it is going to be. I know different riders. When should I talk? Not when they are introducing J.B. Mauney.”
Rasmussen understands it will be really hard for fans to show how creative they are in a short video, but he is excited to see what fans come up with and to offer them a platform to showcase their talents.
“Fans love it when they can feel like they are a part of what is going on,” Rasmussen said. “So that’s what we want to do.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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