A rodeo clown, known as a rodeo protection athlete, is a person who distracts angry bulls and horses away from rodeo riders who fall during a rodeo show. Rodeo protection athletes make more than general entertainment clowns because of the physical risk involved in the job. Most rodeo clowns average around $50,000 at time of publication. Only the best rodeo clowns who work a high number of rodeos come close to a six-figure salary.
The average pay for a rodeo clown was about $50,000 in 2011, according the CareerSearch website. Similarly, the JobMonkey website reported an average of $50,000 in 2011. This works out to about $24 per hour under a standard 40-hour work week, but rodeo protection athletes rarely work that much, instead working fewer hours at higher rates.
Per Show Pay
Rodeo clowns are not salaried; they are paid per rodeo. According to JobMonkey, most rodeo clowns average somewhere between 60 and 100 shows per year. The typical per show pay for a rodeo protection athlete was $100 to $225 in 2011, according to Lauren Sheppard of the Salary website. The JobMonkey website expands the per rodeo range, stating rodeo clowns got $100 to $500 a show in 2011.
Pay for a rodeo protection athlete was between $40,000 and $90,000 in 2011, according to JobMonkey. However, assuming the minimum number of shows -- 60 per year -- and the minimum per rodeo pay of $100, the range can be extended to $6,000 for the lowest earners. Combining 100 shows with the maximum pay rate of $500 per show yields $50,000, the yearly average quoted for 2011 by JobMonkey and CareerSearch. To earn the maximum $90,000, a rodeo protection athlete would have to complete 180 rodeos at the $500 per rodeo rate. This is a high number of rodeos to do, given that the rodeo clown needs time to travel and recover from any injuries sustained.
Rodeo protection athletes work at different rodeo levels. For example, they work at local rodeos, or they gain experience and work at state competitions. The bigger the rodeo -- that is, the higher the rodeo level -- the more pay the clown usually receives. The best pay is at national rodeos, according to Sheppard.
Rodeo clowns usually have to pay their own insurance costs. Because their job is so high risk, they usually pay premiums that are higher than average. They also have to pay for their own travel and safety equipment, although they can set their rates slightly higher to cover these expenses. These factors may decrease a rodeo clown's net income.