Rodeo clown Trent McFarland loves to make people laugh, and that’s exactly what he plans on doing when he gets to the Franklin Rodeo May 16-18.
The Autaugaville, Alabama man will bring a bevy of acts with him, all with the goal of tickling fans’ funny bones throughout the 2 ½ hour show at the Williamson Co. Ag Expo Park.
From his Wrangler Roadster to his trick mule and trick rope, McFarland knows how to entertain.
He grew up the son of Sid McFarland, who also works as a rodeo clown. By the time he was 12 years old, Trent McFarland was working alongside his dad in the rodeo arena, and when he was 15, he was doing it every weekend.
Trent McFarland works 40 weekends a year, traveling from coast to coast and border to border. Last year, within one month’s time, he worked a show in Florida, then headed to northern Minnesota. From there, he went to a rodeo in Montana, then west to California, then to New Jersey a few weeks later.
“I ended up firing the guy who booked that run,” he laughed, since he does his own booking.
During the week, McFarland serves as a registered nurse first assistant in surgery. His schedule is flexible; he works on the days he’s home in Alabama, and because of the need for RNs, he knows his job will be there when he takes time off to clown rodeos.
This summer, he’ll leave the operating room for the rodeo road for two months before going back home.
“Luckily for me, the demand is so high for nurses that they need me,” McFarland said.
Like a typical clown, McFarland can poke fun at both of his careers.
“I’m a male nurse who wears makeup on the weekends,” he said with a laugh. “After a bad accident (in the rodeo arena), I know how to take care of myself.
“I try out all my new material in the operating room. The patients are already anesthetized, so they don’t know if the jokes are bad.”
His medical knowledge came in handy about five years ago, when he had an accident in the arena. He did one of his acts, skiing behind a pickup man’s horse on the dirt, but something went wrong. He was launched 14 feet in the air, and the impact with the ground shattered his femur and dislocated his elbow.
McFarland knew he was badly injured. In a calm voice, over the microphone, he asked for the ambulance to be brought in and then asked for the sound person to turn off his mic. He popped his own elbow back in, impressing the paramedics.
“Those guys thought I was the toughest guy they’d ever seen,” he said.
McFarland and his wife, Wendy, have two sons, ages 3 and 4, who help with their daddy’s act. He keeps his jokes and acts clean.
“I pride myself on clean family entertainment,” McFarland said. “If I can’t do it in front of my grandma or the preacher, then you won’t see me do it. There aren’t many things in America you can take your kids to, but you can bring them to the Franklin Rodeo and know it will be a wholesome family event.”
McFarland will entertain during each night of the Franklin Rodeo, May 16-18. The rodeo starts at 7 p.m. each night and takes place at the Williamson Co. Ag Expo Park in Franklin.
Advance tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for kids ages 12 and under and are available online at www.FranklinRodeo.com. Tickets at the gate are $2 more.
For more information, visit the website or call 615-RODEO-11.