Rodeo Clowns

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					Opening credits sequence

The song RODEO by Garth Brooks begins

A series of pictures, both old and new, fills the screen. Scenes of
rodeos, cowboys and rodeo clowns in action are shown as the cast
names are overlaid.

Billy Gordon

Sam Orr

Hank Turnbull


Tom Selleck

Willie Nelson

Reba McEntire

The Dixie Chicks

Directed and Narrated by Clint Eastwood

Produced by Lucky Monkey Productions

A New Wave Cinema Release

As the credits end, the music of Garth Brooks is replaced by the
raucous sounds of a rodeo. We see a montage of clips where cowboys
are barrel racing, steer wrestling, calf roping, team-roping,
busting broncos and riding bulls.


          Cowboys. Cattle. Horses. Leather. Sweat. Blood.


MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN COWBOYS by Waylon Jennings plays as the
narration continues.

                         NARRATOR (CONT’D)

         The word rodeo comes from the Spanish word
         rodear, meaning "to surround." It’s come a long
         way from its roots in the 1860s and 1870s when
         the annual branding of cattle encouraged informal
         contests among the working cowboys. Once or twice
         each year, cowhands rounded up the cattle on the
         open range and drove them through miles and miles
         of vast, open land to various stockyards across
         the west.

         Once there, competition was a common way to
         celebrate the completion of their long trek and
         successful delivery of their herd. Cowboys would
         issue challenges to each other to see who really
         was the best at cutting cattle or throwing a
         rope. Spectators would inevitably gather.

         As these events grew more organized, the
         spectators wanted entertainment during the breaks
         in the action.

         This is where the rodeo clown was born.

We see a montage showing rodeo clowns doing rope tricks, dog acts,
stunt riding and audience-involving comedy acts.

                         NARRATOR (CONT’D)

         Emerging from a fusion of circuses and Wild West
         shows, the early rodeo funnymen enhanced their
         character with minimal clown make-up. Early
         clowns often wore an ancient straw hat and baggy,
         bright colored clothes. They also usually had a
         trained donkey or other interesting animal as
         part of their act.

         Delighting crowds with their antics, they played
         pranks indiscriminately on cowboys, each other or
         unsuspecting dignitaries. Their humor was seldom
         subtle. After a full afternoon of rambunctious
         visual comedy, it’s no wonder the crowd loved the

         The clown's job, however, soon became more than
         just entertaining the audience between events. He
         also had to divert the attention of the crowd -
         and often a wild animal - during a crisis.

The scenes shift from the light-hearted side of the clown’s job to
those of their lifesaving work. Narrow escapes from horns and
hooves, pulling riders free whose hands have been caught in the
rigging of a bucking bronco, and the especially dangerous act of
facing down a bull, one-on-one, fill the screen.

                         NARRATOR (CONT’D)

         In the 1930s, Brahma bull riding became a
         standard event. Because the bull will charge a
         horse and rider, pick-up men on horseback can’t
         be used as they are during bronco busting
         competitions. A decoy was needed to distract the
         bull while the rider dismounted safely, or to
         free him if the cowboy was hung up on his

         This job fell to the rodeo clown and a new form
         of bullfighting was born. These grease-painted
         matadors often appear to play with the bull once
         a cowboy has been thrown off. This is actually to
         allow the rider to escape any way he can. Unique
         to rodeo and the American West, the job of the
         clown required protecting the cowboy while
         outmaneuvering the menacing bull through agility
         and speed.

We see a clown being thrown high into the air by a rampaging bull.

                         NARRATOR (CONT’D)

         If necessary, the clown would put his own life at
         risk to save the cowboy.

We are treated to another montage of clips, showing clowns using
their bodies and surroundings to distract less-than cooperative

                         NARRATOR (CONT’D)
         Developing and borrowing numerous techniques
         along the way, clowns tossed inner tubes or
         flapped Spanish bullfighters' capes at storming
         bulls. Today, technology aids the rodeo clown in
         the form of safety gear and impact-cushioning
         barrels. But most importantly, they’ve learned to
         be bullfighters, and its deadly serious work.

CUT TO a clown who is standing next to the chute where a cowboy is
getting rigged in on top of a Brahma bull. The air is tense with
anticipation as he signals that he is ready, and the gate is

The bull flies out of the chute, spinning and bucking,   moving
violently back and forth, doing all it can to forcibly   remove the
rider from his back. The cowboy digs in with his legs,   gripping a
rough-hewn rope within the iron grip of his left hand.   His other
hand whips around as he keeps it raised high above his   head.

The number 238, printed on the white paper attached to his back, is
a blur as the Brahma starts a sickening spin. The cowboy does all
he can but, 7 seconds after his ride began, he’s hurled from the
bull's back and tossed viciously to the hard dirt floor of the
rodeo ring.

The bull continues to kick and spin, and it is now that the rodeo
clowns move in. They move to strategic points around the bull, one
keeping a barrel between him and the beast. The second and third
clowns circle the bull, and the taller of the two moves up towards
the bull’s head.

He stares intently into the animal's eyes, and slowly circles
around, controlling the agitated creature as the cowboy walks off
to the applause of the crowd.

Our focus returns to the face-off of man and beast...

                           BILLY (V.O.)

         Getting as close as I can to the bull and having
         the best moves is what it’s all about. The
         ‘hotter’ the bull, the better I am. the clown playfully pops the bull on the snout and then runs
like hell for the fence. The bull shakes its head and gives chase.

CUT TO the clown who we just saw control the bull as he is resting
between events. His strong, muscular 6' 3" frame is leaning against
the railing of the fence that circles the rodeo ring, but his
attention is on the chutes from where the Brahmas are launched.

In the background we see the emcee of the rodeo riding about the
ring, announcing the next series of events and basically getting
the crowd ready for the rest of the day.




         I'm a Bullfighter, plain and simple. When the
         rider falls off of one of those Brahmas, it’s up
         to me to step in. And when I’m in that ring, I'm
         the triple threat. You see, taking on a bull...

                (beat as he leans in for emphasis)

                      (beat as he leans back)

         ...takes the roughness of a football player, the
         physical stamina of a hockey player, and the
         mental toughness of a major league pitcher. If
         you don't have the right confidence, attitude and
         physical ability, well... let's just say you
         better not go out there.

The screen fills with a cowboy being thrown violently from the back
of a spinning Brahma bull, and then narrowly escaping the
thundering hooves as the massive creature twists and turns. A
montage of hard throws and crushing landings accompanies the


         The relationship between cowboy and rodeo clown
         is one of great respect. The fallen cowboy comes
         to depend on the bullfighters to distract the
         bull while he regains his wits and makes it to
         the safety of the fence or gate.
         Bullriders account for almost 39% of all
         injuries, with Bareback riders coming in second
         at 23%. It’s the job of the clown to keep those
         numbers as low as possible, and no one clown can
         do it alone. Many Bullfighters work in teams to
         better their chances of protecting the cowboys.

CUT TO an aging clown, backstage in a thrown together dressing room
that is basically a make-up tray on top of a few bales of hay. He
is slowly putting on his greasepaint, his attention focused on a
small, grimy mirror as he talks.




         Protection bullfighting is the art of assisting
         bull riders, and nothing more. It’s the only
         sport where another man's physical well-being
         depends on what you do, or what you don’t do.
         It’s not about flash, and it’s not about points.
         It’s about saving lives.

BILLY walks by and smacks HANK on the back, causing him to drop his
greasepaint into the hay.


         See you out there, Judge! Let’s go fight us some

As HANK digs around in the hay, attempting to retrieve his
whiteface make-up, he is obviously bothered by the exuberance of
young BILLY.


         What I do is more than just technique and skill.
         It requires working with your partner, reacting
         to situations instinctively as a team, without
         thinking. Unlike the freestyle bullfighting that
         Billy loves so much, we're responsible for the
         safety of not just ourselves, but also of the
         rider, and of our partners.

HANK raises his chin to point at BILLY in the distance.

                           HANK (CONT’D)

         That kid has the talent, but unless he pulls his
         head out, he's gonna keep getting people hurt.

CUT TO scenes of the rodeo getting started. The first riders are
just gearing up, so the clowns are out in force getting the crowd
warmed up for along day of rapid-fire events. Moving towards the
center of the ring stands a clown, lean and tough to be sure, but
also smaller than his compatriots.

The shorter clown is strolling   out, huge moustache, goatee and
sideburns painted on his face,   hands behind his back, apparently
whistling. As the camera pulls   back we see that his casual demeanor
is in direct opposition to the   fact that he is "walking" by rolling
out atop a huge yellow barrel,   much as a lumberjack does on a log
in the river.

As he hits the center of the ring, he starts loosing his balance,
turning the casual stroll into a hilarious balancing act that he
eventually "wins" with the assistance of two other clowns, who we
recognize as BILLY and HANK by their costumes.

As the shorter clown stands atop the now upright barrel, hands
clasped and waved to the crowd in triumph, BILLY turns and
"accidentally" bumps the barrel. This topples the balancing
champion who falls into the barrel, disappearing from sight.

As the crowd roars hysterically with approval, we CUT TO the
balancing clown, backstage, preparing his barrel by packing all
kinds of props inside of it.




         I got into clowning because I love the rodeo. I
         have nothing but respect for the cowboys -
         especially the bareback riders - and so I do
         everything I can to help them out of trouble. I
         also love entertaining people - especially kids -
         so that part of my job is something I take real
         pride in.

         I'm pretty flexible, so I like to use physical
         comedy, illusion and even sleight-of-hand to make
         folks smile between the rides.

CUT TO a continuation of the previous scene as SAM pops up out of
the barrel like a jack-in-the-box.

He reaches into the barrel and pulls out a ridiculously large foam
cowboy hat, which he snugs down onto his head. He continues to pull
out costume parts and is quickly decked out in oversized chaps,
vest, gloves, and then firmly pins a gigantic five-pointed star
with the word SHERRIF on it to his vest.

SAM reaches into the barrel, pulls out a pair of impossibly large
six-shooters, and then swaggers off after BILLY. As he taps the
huge clown on the shoulder, BILLY spins and is shocked to see that
"The Sheriff" has arrived.

SAM makes excited motions with his guns towards BILLY, the yellow
barrel, and back to BILLY again as the other clowns run for cover
from the flailing sidearms. BILLY just looks shocked at the little
lawman and then breaks out into huge guffaws. This just steams up
SAM, who then makes motions indicating he’s going to take BILLY
into custody for laughing at an officer of the law.

This is met by a look of amazement from BILLY who shakes his head
"no". The crowd continues to howl with laughter as SAM does his
best to move the mountain of a man, with no success. Finally,
panting from the effort, he points his revolver at BILLY who now
realizes that The Sheriff is serious!

He runs off, with SAM in hot pursuit. Mass chaos breaks out as
clowns start running all over the place, and finally SAM corners
BILLY right near a group of kids in the stands. SAM takes aim and,
just as he squeezes the trigger, BILLY ducks. Streams of water
squirt out from the end of the oversized six-shooters and spray the
laughing kids as SAM looks embarrassed, smiles, and runs off.

The audience bursts into applause as the clowns take their place as
the first rider of the day has finished his preparations and is
ready to come out of the chute.

         An old-time bullfighter named Jasbo was the first
         to use a barrel after he grew tired of losing the
         race to the fence with the bull. The barrel, or
         'clown lounge' as it’s sometimes called, is also
         a valuable tool that allows the clown to be
         creative in their craft.

         And in the competitive world of rodeo clowning,
         any edge, any way to stand out is essential to
         rising through the ranks and getting work at the
         biggest and best rodeos around.

CUT TO scenes of each major rodeo venue when its name is mentioned
in the narration.

                         NARRATOR (CONT’D)

         Rodeos are especially popular in the United
         States and Canada, and about 2,000 rodeos are
         held annually in these countries.

         Today’s leading rodeos include Frontier Days, in
         Cheyenne, Wyoming; the National Western Stockshow
         and Rodeo, in Denver, Colorado; the Houston
         Livestock Show and Rodeo, in Houston, Texas; the
         Calgary Exhibition and Stampede, in Calgary,
         Alberta and the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo,
         in Las Vegas, Nevada.

         Being a contract performer in the rodeo business
         is one of the most challenging and competitive
         careers you can choose, and no one starts at the
         top, no matter how good they are.

CUT TO a shot of a venue that, while not tiny in any respect, is
obviously a smaller rodeo.



We move to the ready area for the clowns and cowboys who are
mingling more than usual due to the smaller size of the event. The
day is well underway. A local trick-roper artist is currently
entertaining the crowd, giving everyone else a much-needed rest.


         Man, when I booked this I thought the contractor
         said it was the Silver Spur rodeo. This looks
         like the Silver Spud to me.


         Stop your bellyaching and stay focused on the
         next event. This may not be a big show, but the
         Brahmas here are the same size as in Texas.


         Yeah. Big and slow. I'm barely working up a sweat
         out there. If I didn't need the money, I'd leave
         after today’s show.


         Look kid, you signed on for a three-day event,
         and you'll finish out your contract.


         Will you two stop your arguing? You're worse than
         two broncs fighting over who gets to throw the

                    (getting into Hank's face)

         Well, maybe a fight is what some people are


         Times like this, I like to follow the advice of
         my granddaddy.


         And what's that, Hank?

         Never approach a bull from the front, a horse
         from behind, or a fool from any direction.

HANK turns and walks away as BILLY visually gets more upset. SAM
steps in front of the big clown and lays a calming hand on his


         Billy? Billy, you look at me.

BILLY's angry gaze drops from the back of HANK and he glares down
into the eyes of SAM.

                            SAM (cont.)

         You just let it go. You know he's right, and you
         gettin' into a scrap with him won't change the
         facts. It’s only a couple of more days, and then
         you're headed to California, right?

BILLY slowly calms down, easing off of his anger.


         Yeah. Salinas. Meeting some old friends there and
         doing some pick-up work before hitting Oklahoma
         in a couple of months.


         All right, then think about the bulls and drop
         the bullshit attitude. Do your job and then go
         out to sunny California while the rest of us are
         stuck here in Podunk for another few weeks.

BILLY looks up one more time in the general direction of where HANK
walked off, looks down at SAM, and then flashes a winning smile.


         Well, there is this one waitress in town who was
         smilin' at me last night over dinner. Maybe I can
         stand it for a couple more days.
SAM just nods and walks off

CUT TO interior shot of an old, beat up RV. HANK is behind the
wheel. A stream of oncoming headlights illuminates his face as he
drives down a busy section of the interstate.

On the radio, we hear the strains of MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN
COWBOYS by Willie Nelson.


         The damned kid wants to be in the big game so bad
         it’s startin' to cloud his sensibilities. The
         problem is, he's all balls and no brains - just
         like the bulls he fights. Let me break it down
         for you this way, just like I do for the kid.
         First and foremost, being a professional
         bullfighter means getting your card.


         Sorry, your Professional Rodeo Cowboys
         Association card. The PRCA is top dog in the
         rodeo game, for cowboys and for clowns. When I
         used to ride, it took me 4 years to get my


         Anyway, last year there were 150 active
         bullfighters with their cards. There were also
         about 700 sanctioned events. That means if all
         the rodeos in the PRCA were divided up equally
         among all the bullfighters in the PRCA, each
         bullfighter works about eight rodeos a year. And
         trust me; the rodeos are not divided up equally.

                (beat as he looks down the highway)

         What are your chances of making a living
         bullfighting and working eight rodeos a year?
         Piss poor, that's what. So if you ain't in it for
         the money, you have to be in it for the fame or
         the love. Me, I'm in it for the love. But
HANK shakes his head and just looks down the road

CUT TO an exterior shot of the bustle of a crowd, milling about and
filing into the stands of a large arena. There is obvious
excitement in the air.



As the crowd takes their seats, a man decked out in western finery
rides to the center of the arena. He has a wireless microphone in
his hand and, as the music is pulled down, he addressed the crowd.


         Ladies and Gentlemen. Cowboys and Cowgirls.
         Children of aaaaaaaaaaaaaaall ages. Welcome to
         the Reba McEntire Pro Celebrity Rodeo. I am proud
         to announce that we have once again sold out the
         gate so give yourselves a fine round of applause
         for putting your hard earned dollars towards
         supporting the Oklahoma Children's Medical
         Research Center!

The crowd breaks into heartfelt applause. As the clapping dies
down, the announcer starts his spiel back up.

                         ANNOUNCER (cont.)

         And now, please help me in giving a warm,
         Oklahoma welcome to the Queen of Country Music.
         Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Reba!

As the crowd bursts into a massive wave of applause, Reba McEntire
rides out, waving to the fans from the back of a dappled white and
gray mare. She is decked out in a costume similar to the one she
wore on stage in “Annie Get Your Gun.” She also has a wireless
microphone and as she and her horse sidle up to the ANNOUNCER, she
addresses the crowd.


         Thank you all so much for coming to the rodeo
         this weekend. All the attention that this event
         is getting feels real good, and I thank God for a
         lot of that. Things are rolling along right now,
         and we're sure not stoppin' anytime soon! We’ve
         worked hard, and this is the payoff for all that.

The crowd bursts into spontaneous applause and Reba waits
patiently, smiling and waving, until it subsides.

                           REBA (cont.)

         I want to take a moment before we get things
         going to wish each and everyone of our cowboys
         out here today the best of luck. Ride 'em hard,
         cowboys, 'cause we're all with ya'!


         And speakin’ of people we’re all with, please
         rise and join us in singing the national anthem.
         Here to lead us are some special friends of your
         and mine – The Dixie Chicks!

As the crowd breaks into cheers, whistles and applause, REBA and
the ANNOUNCER ride off. The Dixie Chicks move to the center of the
arena, wave lovingly to their fans in the audience, and then settle
in to start the rodeo off with a soul-filled rendition of THE STAR

The camera pans around the arena, focusing on the heartfelt singing
of those in attendance. As the camera shifts it focus, we see every
cowboy, handler and clown, hats over hearts, singing along as well.
It is obvious that these are people who have as much pride in their
country as they do in their sport.

As the National Anthem ends, the crowd explodes into its loudest
applause yet. The scene of the enthusiastic and patriotic crowd
cross-fades to a picture of a Reba McEntire as a very young girl of
perhaps seven or eight years of age. The narration picks up as the
cheers fade:


         Born in McAlester, Oklahoma in 1955 to a musical
         rodeo family, Reba McEntire grew up barrel-racing
         and harmonizing with brother Pake and sisters
         Susie and Alice. She was discovered while singing
         the national anthem at the National Finals Rodeo
         in Oklahoma City in 1975 and soon left the rodeo
         life for a singing career in Nashville,

CUT TO Reba McEntire is seated in the living space of a fairly
luxurious RV. It is obvious by her stature and grace that she is
used to giving interviews, and she is at ease before the camera.


         My roots with the rodeo run deep, so being
         involved with a charity rodeo was as natural as
         anything. Watching the cowboys out there, pitting
         their minds and muscle against those horses and
         bulls in good, clean fun. And watching how the
         kids react, especially to the rodeo clowns, is
         just fantastic.

         Those clowns go all out, one hundred percent,
         full-fledged, all the way, every day. I just hope
         that I can keep working as hard as they do.

CUT TO a close up of a cowboy, strapping himself onto the back of a
coal black bronco. The sound of Chris Ledoux’s CABALLO DIABLO
punctuates the excitement of the scene. The horse is literally
kicking at the gates of the chute, and explodes into the ring the
second the gate drops to the ground.

The cowboy lasts all of about three seconds before he is hurled off
of the back of the horse. The clowns move out to protect the cowboy
and a rider moves out to handle the bronco.

                           BILLY (V.O.)

         Man, look at the spirit in that one. They don't
         call him Diablo for nothing, no sir. Now THIS is
         what I call a rodeo.

CUT TO a shot of BILLY, in the stands at the Reba McEntire Pro
Celebrity Rodeo, wearing a simple outfit consisting of a T-shirt,
faded blue jeans and a Levi's denim jacket. The action continues
behind him.


         This is the kind of stuff I was born to do, but
         you have to have your card, here. This is a
         pretty high profile rodeo, so a lot of clowns
         want to work it, to get seen.
         Hank works this one, and Sam pulled in some
         favors with the contractor to do one of his
         specialty acts during one of the breaks. I'm not
         so impressed by the bullfighters they got here,

         Oh, they’re good and all - just not enough style.
         I guess it’s who you know, sometimes, but I can
         do anything they're doing out there.

CUT TO one-on-one interview footage with HANK. The footage seems to
have been shot during a break in the action at one of the rodeos.

Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings plays underneath the interview.


         Just like the cowboys, we all make better money
         and get better bookings if we can get into rodeos
         that are on TV or ESPN. You can be the best at
         your game, but if folks outside the rodeo never
         see you, you don't go very far. That's why
         getting on a televised rodeo is such a big deal.
         Television is legitimacy.

CUT TO scenes of SAM entertaining the crowd by bringing out a HUGE
barrel. It’s so big he needs the help of two other clowns to roll
it out. The three tip it up on end, and SAM's assistants run off.

                            HANK (V.O.)

         Someone like Sam can get good bookings because he
         has the clothes and the comedy and the crowd’s on
         his side all the time. I have to be the absolute
         best at protecting the cowboys. I mean, it's a
         great feeling when the crowd applauds and
         appreciates your efforts. But the greatest
         feeling for me is when a cowboy comes up and lets
         you know how much he appreciates you being there
         for him.

The act continues as SAM pulls a gigantic, oversized wand out of
the barrel. He moves around the arena, waving his arms about in an
overblown imitation of a stage magician. SAM grabs one of the
cowboys who is finished for the day, and did fairly well, and drags
him towards the barrel.

The crowd cheers and applauds, both for the cowboy and the clown,
excited to see what happens next.

SAM bangs on the side of the barrel, and then indicates that the
cowboy should do the same. He does, and seems to nod in agreement
that the barrel is solid. As the pair moves all around the barrel,
banging away on the sides, SAM quickens his pace enough to move
just out of sight of the cowboy.

SAM starts whistling for the cowboy to come ahead, to hurry up, and
in short order has him chasing the clown around the barrel. The
crowd howls with delight as the cowboy finally stops and SAM plows
headlong into the cowboy’s much larger frame and goes sprawling off
in slapstick fashion.

Picking himself up and dusting off while giving the cowboy a
comedic evil eye, SAM silently instructs the cowboy to move closer
to the barrel. When he is in position, SAM starts to wave the wand
around, and then accidentally drops it into the dirt.

SAM makes a sad face and the cowboy, with all the manners expected
of a Texas gentleman, bends over to pick it up. As soon as he is
bent double, SAM races over and uses the cowboy as a step up and
leaps to the top of the oversized barrel.

The cowboy buckles only a slight bit, stands strait up, and looks
around the arena, unable to find the clown. As SAM whistles down
and waves to the cowboy, the crowd applauds in approval of the
gymnastic feat. Just as quickly, SAM salutes the cowboy, salutes
the crowd, pinches his nose with thumb and forefinger and then
jumps down into the barrel.

As the cowboy backs up to get a better look at the barrel, it
starts to shake and shimmy. Loud, cartoon sound effects of banging
and boinging come from the public address system, and after about
10 - 20 seconds, the sound effects are replaced with a snare drum

Then, just as the anticipation of the crowd reaches it's peak, the
barrel falls apart into four pieces, and standing in the middle of
debris is an attractive, young, longhaired blonde in a cow print
one-piece bathing suit! SAM is nowhere to be seen and the crowd
bursts into raucous applause.

As the applause dies a bit, the girl points to the top of the
announcer’s booth where we see SAM firing off two oversized guns.

                           HANK (V.O.)
         I'm not very funny and I don't do tricks. I'm a
         bullfighter, not a clown.

The crowd goes wild as the girl runs off, the barrel is removed,
and we CUT TO

The strains of SUMMER’S COMIN’ by Clint Black fill the air as we
see a fourth of July celebration and parade in full swing.
Patriotic dress is everywhere, and a couple-of-hundred American
flags decorate the parking lot and entrance.



HANK, SAM and three or four other clowns are backstage, treated to
almost proper dressing rooms. BILLY saunters in, with his kit bag
of protective gear, costume and make-up slung over his shoulder.


         Hey, hey. Who let you in here?


         Well, even though I don't have my card, there’s
         an open freestyle bullfighting competition this
         afternoon, so I signed up. I have to get noticed


         Now that's finally some good thinking there, kid.


         You sound almost surprised, Judge. You think I
         can't put two ideas together, don't you.

               (sensing another impending flare-up)

         Hey, um, Hank. Why is it they call you The Judge?

         Yeah. Go ahead and tell him, Hank. Why do we call
         you The Judge?


         Well, some folks say it’s because I'm so hard and
         serious on the younger clowns.

                     (beat, looking at BILLY)

         And others say it’s because I'm sober as a judge.


         Yeah, you are now.

                 (angry, a bit ashamed, but proud)

         Yep. For the last 12 years and 121 days.


         Well... that's great Hank, really great.


         I have to get ready for my show.


         And I have to finish getting ready for my job.

CUT TO shot of Billy entering the arena as a bull is being prepared
in the chute. A tinny voice can be heard through the P.A. system.

                              P.A. (V.O.)

         Ladies and gentlemen, hailing form the great
         state of Texas, Billy Gordon!

The crowd applauds politely as Billy waves in acknowledgement.
                        P.A. (cont./ V.O.)

         And coming out of chute six, the meanest, rankest
         bull this side of the Mississippi - TORNADO!

Suddenly, the gate is dropped and the Brahma bursts forth, spraying
dirt and mud as it spins and twists across the ring. BILLY starts
moving in circles, gauging and watching the erratic motions of the
bull. As he kicks and turns, it is easy to see where TORNADO got
his name.

CUT TO a one-on-one interview with BILLY, shot in the back parking
lot of a rodeo arena. Trucks used for moving livestock and tour
buses can be seen in the background.


         The bull is like my dance partner, except we
         ain’t never practiced together. The judges’ score
         is 50 percent on what the bull does and 50
         percent on the bullfighter’s style. If you're
         lucky, you get the craziest bull they’ve got to
         fight because it’s hard to earn points if you get
         a tame bull.

CUT TO a continuation of the freestyle match between BILLY and
TORNADO. As the bull continues to kick and twist, BILLY starts
making his move inward, getting closer and closer to the huge

BILLY yells to gain its attention, and it settles just long enough
to grab a bead on the clown. BILLY moves in cautiously, maintaining
eye contact with TORNADO as he continues to slowly circle inward.

                           BILLY (V.O.)

         The closer I get to the danger zone, the braver I
         get. I've gotta be aggressive and outsmart the
         bull. If the bull doesn't work with me, then I
         don't get any points.

Suddenly, TORNADO bursts forward, charging right at BILLY. He
dodges left, escaping a goring of his backside by the narrowest of
margins. As the bull spins and almost falls trying to change course
to pursue the brightly clad clown, BILLY bolts, zigzagging, running
towards the fence.
When the fence is close, BILLY stops, spins and faces the bull,
which is still charging. BILLY tips his hat to the oncoming
TORNADO, waves to the crowd, and then dives left just as the bull
bears down on him.

Again, the escape is narrow, and for the first time we notice that
the orange handkerchief that usually hangs from BILLY's back pocket
is actually stuck on one of TORNADO's horns. BILLY skids out from
harm’s way, vaults the fence, and jogs back to the waiting areas as
the crowd applauds in appreciation.

CUT TO the one-on-one interview with BILLY, shot in the back
parking lot of a rodeo arena.


         I'm fast, strong, and as good-looking as a young
         Tom Selleck, even behind all that whiteface. Now
         that's just a hard combination to beat.

CUT TO a one-on-one interview with TOM SELLECK, shot at his ranch
in Southern California.


         I was born in Detroit and grew up in a suburb in
         the San Fernando Valley, but somehow, I’ve been
         cast in quite a few westerns. I think it all
         started with the mini-series, The Sacketts. I had
         to learn to ride for that movie, and I had to
         learn the whole idea of playing a cowboy. I loved
         it. Unfortunately, I have never been the best of

CUT TO a clip from one of TOM's childhood home movies, showing him
at the pony rides. It's pretty ugly stuff as he looks scared and
can barely stay on the palomino.

                            SELLECK (V.O.)

         I like to go riding with my daughter Hannah, but
         she does it a lot better than me.

SELLECK starts chuckling.

                      SELLECK (cont. / V.O.)
         Unlike me, Hannah began riding when she was four.
         She's grown up with horses. She also loves to go
         to rodeos, and she’s been pestering me to make a
         movie about "those funny men". I'll bet they have
         some really amazing stories to tell...

CUT TO a shot of HANK, going through an old trunk filled with
posters that he keeps in the back of his RV. He pulls out one in
particular, and pauses, as he looks it over.


         Man, this one takes me back. I was still riding
         at this time, bronco busting. I think I placed
         third overall that year. I could have done
         better, but that was in my hard drinkin' days.
         Funny thing is, it was a hard of night of
         celebrating a first place victory a couple of
         weeks before that got me into this rodeo in the
         first place.

         You see, this was the last year of the Texas
         Prison Rodeo. And since I was officially a
         “guest” of the city of Huntsville - and they were
         trying to drum up support to keep it going -the I
         got in.

CUT TO scenes of cowboys and clowns doing their jobs in a somewhat
odd rodeo setting. The footage is a bit grainy and it becomes
obvious that this is archived footage from the late 1970's and
early 1980's. The song, FRIENDS IN LOW PLACES by Garth Brooks,
accompanies the images.


         The Texas Prison Rodeo was launched in 1931
         during the depression years, being first held at
         a Huntsville baseball park outside the "Walls"
         Unit. It was the brainchild of Lee Simmons,
         Manager of the Texas Prison System.

         With a lifespan of more than 50 years, the Prison
         Rodeo evolved into a Texas tradition, held every
         Sunday in October. Guest stars began appearing
         starting with the 1951 rodeo, including Eddie
         Arnold, Guy Willis, Curley Fox and Texas Ruby.
         This started a yearly tradition that attracted
         big names like Johnny Cash, Ernest Tubb, Johnny
         Rodriguez, Dolly Parton, John Wayne, Tom T. Hall
         and Willie Nelson.

         Due to the cost of much-needed renovations, the
         rodeo was shut down after the 1986 event.

CUT TO the interior of a small distillery. WILLIE NELSON sits
comfortably on a stool, wearing his iconic headband and ponytails.
In the background are large, oaken casks, and bottles of Old
Whiskey River Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey can be seen sitting
atop the barrels.


         Yeah, I remember those prison shows. They were
         wild rodeos. All the cowboys and clowns were
         inmates, so an old outlaw singer like me felt
         right at home.

         I hear that one time, one of the meanest cusses
         in the state prison was riding and got thrown
         hard by a bull. Well, it seems that the nearest
         clown was a fella who blamed the thrown rider for
         getting him into jail in the first place. Folks
         figured the clown might just leave him there to
         get trampled, but sure enough, he ran out and
         whooped and hollered until the rider could get

         As the story goes, when the cowboy asked the
         clown why he saved him, he said, "It's my job.
         Besides, I didn't want you hurting that poor
         bull." Just goes to show how strong the bond
         between the folks in a rodeo can be.


         Of course, once the rodeo was over, those two old
         boys beat the hell out of each other in the yard
         and got six months added on for bad behavior.

CUT TO BILLY and HANK in a sparse dressing room, filled with
lockers and long benches. As we shift scenes, TWO OLD SIDEWINDERS
by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings plays in the background.
HANK is suiting up and BILLY is standing there in his street
clothes. HANK is surrounded by various pieces of protective gear,
from pads for his thighs, hips and tailbone to shin guards and
cleated shoes that cover the ankles.


         Its like my granddaddy used to say, It's not if
         your going to get hurt... it's when, and how bad.

As HANK tightens up a bulky protective vest, SAM walks into the
room, already dressed and ready to go.


         Sam, you have to be the most together person I
         know. You're always dressed and ready before some
         people even have their gear on.


         Why, thanks, Billy.


         That's why Sam is going someplace. Aren't ya,


         You know, that brings up something else that's
         been botherin' me. Why don't I have a nickname?




         I said, why don't I have a nickname? I've thought
         up a few, and...


         You don't give yourself a name - you earn it. For
         better or worse.

         Well, I think that I should start workin' out
         what name would be good for me and then I can...


         Look, kid, you need to figure what the hell it is
         you really want. We're back here tryin' to get
         ready to go and do our job and you're jawin’ on
         about a nickname. You have to establish some
         goals for yourself.

         If your goal is to work the Wrangler National
         Finals Rodeo as a bullfighter, you have to have
         your card. If your goal is to work rodeos like
         Cheyenne, Reno, San Antonio, Houston, Denver -
         you have to have your card. If you want to be
         recognized as one of the top bullfighters in the
         world, you have to have your card.

          (pausing to catch his breath and his composure)

         If you want to earn a name for yourself, the
         first step is to earn that card, kid. You've got
         the talent. Now stop wasting it and you can start
         working rodeos like these.

HANK turns and leaves a stunned BILLY and SAM behind. The two
clowns look at each other and SAM is the first to break the


         He's tired and his leg’s hurtin' him today.


         Yeah. Sure.


         He just cares about you, Billy. A lot of us care
         about you.

         I'll be watching from the chutes today. Do a good

SAM nods quietly, pauses as if to say something more, and then
walks off. As he exits, the music subtly shifts to the opening
musical strains of CATHY’S CLOWN by Reba McEntire.

As the camera stays on BILLY, the music fades until it is overtaken
by the sounds of the crowd. The wave of sound builds until we...

CUT TO the rodeo in full swing. A bronco rocks and bucks with
amazing ferocity, whipping the cowboy around the arena.



The camera pans from the action to the staging area where a group
of cowboys are gathered - eagerly and nervously waiting their turn
in the ring. As the group mills about, TWO COWBOYS come into focus.

                             COWBOY 1

         Last night I had a bull camp on me, and the clown
         got me out. Earlier today, that same damn bull
         was fixing to camp on me again. If it wasn’t for
         the fighters, I’d be in the hospital.

                             COWBOY 2

         They're real lifesavers. You can't say enough;
         they don't get enough credit.

                             COWBOY 1

         Yeah, you know, I asked one of the clowns why he
         kept comin' back out here year after year,
         runnin' at those Brahmas. He said it was for the
         same reason I rode 'em. To meet cute nurses.

The TWO COWBOYS laugh, but are interrupted by an audible gasp
rising from the crowd, the camera swings wildly and moves, jerking
about as the cameraman runs the 20 feet or so to get a look at what
is happening in the arena.

Near the chutes, a freak accident has occurred where the bull in
competition has kicked open a gate and another bull has broken into
the arena. As the clowns move to separate the two animals, the
rider on the first bull falls. As he struggles to maintain his
balance, his spurs get tangled in the ropes, and the bull kicks
off, dragging him along.

The cowboy is in serious danger of being trampled, and the majority
of the clowns who are trying to deal with the second bull don't see
the fallen rider. HANK, however, does and spins to distract the
Brahma. As he turns, his cleats get caught on a rough crack in the
arena floor and he wrenches his inured knee. His scream of pain
momentarily distracts the bull and alerts the other clowns, but
they have a huge problem of their own as the two bulls have now
seen each other.

Suddenly, a form rushes out from the chute area, waving his arms
and screaming like a wild, wounded coyote. It’s BILLY, racing
towards the bull that has already landed a hoof or two on his
trapped rider.

The Brahma spins to take the distraction head on, but BILLY doesn't
slow - he just keeps coming. The crowd tenses and time seems to
stand still as BILLY runs full speed towards the bull. At the last
second he jumps right over the animal’s head, lands on it’s back
and barely hangs on to the rope.

As the bull sways under the clown's weight, BILLY works to free the
cowboy. Although the crazy stunt only buys him a few precious
seconds, it’s all he needs. The jarring motions of the ride,
coupled with BILLY's urgent manipulations, ends up breaking the
spur assembly, freeing the cowboy.

As the dazed rider stumbles to his feet, SAM comes over, rolling
his bright yellow barrel. He has an air horn that he’s blasting,
which quickly attracts the attention of the Brahma. SAM rapidly
sets the barrel into an upright position, and as he continues to
taunt the bull with loud blasts, he reaches into his back pocket
and pulls out an oversized, purple handkerchief, which he begins to
wave wildly in the air.

As the bull moves towards the new sights and sounds, BILLY grabs
the stunned cowboy and drags him to the fence near the chute.

CUT TO the interior of a darkened, country bar. This is definitely
not one of those boot-scootin' Electric Slide joints, but a place
where serious people do serious drinking. The dark-paneled room is
mostly empty, but we are right next to HANK who is sitting at the
end of the bar.

KILLIN’ TIME by Clint Black plays over the tattered speaker of the
old Jukebox that dimly illuminates the corner of the bar.

His head is down and he is staring at a slightly dirty tumbler
filled with whiskey. The voice of the CAMERAMAN can be heard above
the music playing in the background.

         Hank? Mr. Turnbull? Are you...

                         (not looking up)

         It was too close. No room to move that close to
         the chutes. And my damned knee gave out. I just
         lay there and yelled, trying to make that bull
         look at me.

He stares at the drink, slowly moving his hand to its rim. He
continues as he runs his fingers along the smooth edge of the
tumbler top.

                            HANK (cont.)

         I couldn't do my job out there today. Not that
         I'm saying a man in his forties with over twenty
         years of rodeo work, 14 different broken bones, 3
         concussions, a dislocated jaw and occasional
         internal injuries is cause for slowing down...
         but I couldn't do my job. And a man almost died
         because of it.

HANK's hand stops and he carefully grabs the whiskey glass. He
lifts the tumbler up to the dull light, and stares into the warm
luminosity of the alluring, amber liquid.

We can see the gears of his mind turning as he weighs the events of
the day against those of his life. He slowly puts the glass back
down, reaches into his shirt pocket, and pulls out a five-dollar
bill. He puts it across the top of the whiskey, and, without ever
looking up:


         It’s time to go.
CUT TO a huge parking lot outside of a large arena.



HANK is unloading his gear from the RV. SAM pulls up in his Ford F-
150, a small trailer in tow behind, and the song SIN WAGON by The
Dixie Chicks blaring on the radio. Painted on the trailer is a
fanciful depiction of SAM's make-up motif and the name THE SHERIFF
in large, western block letters.

SAM gets out of his truck, and walks over to HANK.


         How the leg, Judge?


         It'll get me through one more show.


         That's how I look at it. If I can get through
         just one more show, then...


         No. I mean this is my last show. I'm done after




         Sam, I almost took a drink after that fall in
         Iowa. I got my knee braced up by the doc, came
         out to the old girl, here, and drove straight
         away to one of my old haunts.
         As I sat there and stared down that whiskey, I
         realized that the one thing that had helped me
         make it through all the years since I had to stop
         riding had finally driven me back to the bottle.

         I love the rodeo too much to disgrace it by
         having it be the reason I fall off the wagon. I
         can't do it any longer, Sam. My body just won't
         do what my mind tells it, and I can't afford to
         lose my mind trying.

As SAM reacts and is about to speak, an older, black Dodge Ram
pulls up and skids to a stop. BILLY opens the door and literally
leaps from the cab.


         I got it! I got it! Hot damn, Hank, I got it!

HANK and SAM turn as BILLY rushes up to the RV.


         You impressed the lead bullfighter out there in
         Iowa, so he was glad to sign for you.


         The contractor told me that since I jumped that
         bull and it made it onto all the sports networks,
         he wanted to be on the Wrangler tour. He said
         there was a spot for a bullfighter opening up
         next season, so here I am!


         Don't you have to have two bullfighters and a
         stock contractor sign for you? Who was the

HANK and BILLY look at each other, and after a moment, BILLY offers
his hand to the veteran clown.


         You were right, Hank. Do things right, earn your
         card, and they hire you. From now on, I want to
         do it right.


         That's all you can do, kid. And it’s about time.

As the two grin at each other, SAM rushes forward and kisses BILLY
full on the lips!

BILLY's eyes go wide with shock and surprise, and after a second,
he pushes the smaller man off of him.


         WHAT THE HELL?

HANK explodes into laughter as SAM looks around the parking lot,
just as stunned by his own outburst as BILLY is.

                          BILLY (CONT’D)


As BILLY looks back and forth between the other two clowns, his
face shows a mix of confusion and anger.


         Billy, I...


         I didn't ask you a damn thing, you... you...


         Young lady.

Both SAM and BILLY turn, their faces now frozen in a look of
stunned surprise. They speak at the same time, their words

What do you mean?


How did you know?


It’s simple, when you take time to look at it.
You always show up dressed. You leave without
changing. But your biggest tell was that you
started out by working the barrel. Oh, you're a
fine clown, Sam, but the barrel is usually the
spot for those folks who can't work the bull,


Wait, wait, wait. You're trying to tell me that

                (points at SAM) a she?


Yes, he is... and I am.


But... Ah, man, what the hell?


I've always loved the rodeo, but papa wouldn't
ever let me ride. When I turned 18, I wanted to
start working towards getting my Women's Pro
Rodeo Association card, but even though I had the
right, I didn't have the heart to go against the
wishes of my papa.


So you became a clown?

                        (seeing the light)

         Hiding behind the make-up.


         Exactly. Clowning is an old boy’s club, but it
         also meant that if I could get in, no one - not
         even my father - would ever guess I was a woman.
         I love entertaining, so I focused on specialty
         acts, physical comedy, and working the barrel.

         I worked every single rodeo that I could, no
         matter how small, for five years. This year, I
         finally got a shot at working at that PRCA event
         in Oklahoma. Maybe it was the stress at having to
         hide myself away for so long, but I couldn't help
         it Billy. I'm sorry.

SAM turns and slowly starts to walk to her truck.


         Billy, you know my granddaddy used to say?

BILLY turns his gaze from the retreating SAM to look at HANK.


         No, Hank. I don't know what he used to say, and
         right now...


         He used to say, "Fighting a bull is like dancin'
         with a girl. The rider has to match the rhythm of
         his partner."


         Don't let a good partner get away, kid. Hmm...
         Billy the Kid. Could stick...

HANK turns back to the RV, and continues collecting his gear,
preparing for his last day at the office.
BILLY thinks it through and, true to his word, does it right as he
jogs over to SAM.

WHAT THEY ALL CALL LOVE by Vince Gill begins to play as the camera
pulls back as we follow HANK who is now walking towards the arena's
back entrance. The morning sun draws his form into the silhouette,
his bag of gear over one shoulder.


         With more than 170,000 fans attending the
         Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, and
         more than 13 million viewers tuning into the
         finals on ESPN, rodeo is more popular and more
         competitive than ever.

         Within this courtly arena, the rodeo clown is the
         royal jester. The quality of his performance
         fascinates the crowd without distracting the
         clown from his primary duty of keeping the rider
         safe. Although his face is painted, his clothes
         are wild, and his antics are sometimes
         ridiculous, the ability of a rodeo clown to keep
         the cowboys out of harm’s way shows us time and
         again why they he is the unsung hero of the

CUT TO a still frame of each of the rodeo clowns with the following
text overlaid on the appropriate image.

         BILLY GORDON went on to finish second in the
         Wrangler National Finals Rodeo bullfighter
         competition and is currently slated to appear in
         four nationally televised PRCA events. He and
         Samantha June Orr are engaged and plan to
         sometime before the summer season starts.

         SAM ORR left active clowning to open a
         consultation service dealing with specialty acts,
         costuming and make-up. Her greatest trick, The
         Sheriff and The Cowgirl, was easy when changing
         from a clown to a cowgirl is as simple as
         stripping off one layer of clothes and putting on
         a blonde wig while an understanding brother
         waited patiently hidden atop the announcer’s

         HANK TURNBULL is currently teaching at the
         Colorado River Rodeo School in Arizona and judges
         local and national bullfighting competitions.

         He’s been sober for 12 years and 302 days.

End Credits roll to the sounds of IT AIN’T THE YEARS, IT’S THE
MILES by Chris LeDoux.

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