Rodeo returns to town

Lauren Sanchez

“One Jump Pump” is the nickname that stuck with “Texas” Bill Thorpe 40 years ago.

Back then, he wanted to become a professional bull rider but “he just couldn’t do it.”

Still, he couldn’t get away from the rodeo. So he became a clown. Now he’s a 58-year-old clown who likes to make people laugh.

“My job is entertainment,” Thorpe said. “I’m here to keep the show moving with funny jokes and tricks.”

Thorpe will be one of the main attractions this weekend at the Lone Star Championship Rodeo at Western’s Agriculture Exposition Center. Events such as bull riding, steer wrestling, and calf roping are just a few of the events planned.

The doors will open at 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and the shows will start at 8 p.m. Sunday’s show will begin at 2 p.m.

Preston Fowlkes, rodeo owner and competition producer, said there have been 194 entries in the competition, and the show should last about two hours.

Pre-show events will include free pony rides for children 10 and under, a gold rush hunt for kids and a Best Dressed Cowboy and Cowgirl competition. A total of $15,000 in prizes will be given away.

Lone Star has been in business for 55 years, and this is its 21st year performing in Bowling Green.

Fowlkes said the rodeo always gets a good turnout from the Bowling Green community.

The rodeo is sponsored by the Professional Cowboys Association. Participants will include professional cowboys, bull fighters and rodeo clowns.

Thorpe started out as a bull fighter for the rodeo, but switched to being a clown later in his career. He said the shows will be entertaining for any audience.

“We believe that there’s no such thing as an X-rated rodeo – it’s good, clean, family fun,” he said.

Tickets are $16 for reserved seats and $10-$12 for other seats.

Reach Lauren Sanchez at [email protected]