Hang on: Professional Bull Riders come to town

ssorich@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 12, 2012 

  • IF YOU GO

    What: Professional Bull Riders

    When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday

    Where: Columbus Civic Center

    Cost: $12.50-$42.50

    Details: 706-653-4460

    Note: There’s a Harper & Harper Stick Horse Rodeo at 5 p.m. Saturday. Kids 7 and under can participate. The event is a simulation of a real rodeo or bull riding. It’s $7 to enter, free to watch. You can register on the day of the event.

Rockin’ Robbie Hodges wants a simple reaction from you.

“Holy cow, that guy was funny.”

Amid a deluge of Twitter quips and late-night comedians, genuine humor is a coveted gift. And Hodges -- hey, just call him Robbie -- knows the power of perseverance.

“When a joke goes bad, you don’t get mad and throw a fit and leave,” he said.

Robbie is a clown/barrelman who will come to the Columbus Civic Center with the Professional Bull Riders event, scheduled to take place Friday and Saturday.

“Of course, everybody in the rodeo world loves bull riding,” said Robbie, who hails from Cave Spring, Ga.

His role in the Columbus Invitational PBR Touring Pro Division includes two main responsibilities.

There’s barrel work -- essentially using a big barrel to protect the bull riders during the event. Also, Robbie takes care of what he calls the “walkin’ talkin’ stuff” -- working with the announcer and interacting with the crowd.

That includes lots of humor. “It’s got to be clean and family-oriented,” he said. “Those people paid for that ticket. You want to entertain that crowd.”

Naturally, Robbie must sometimes adjust his material based on location. “You don’t make fun of Obama in Illinois,” he said.

A former competitor in horse riding, Robbie said the comedy world wasn’t entirely foreign to him prior to his current gig. He said he often hid his fear by being funny.

His breed of comedy relies on spontaneity. “Nobody knows what I’m going to say when I go into the arena,” said Robbie, who cites comedic influences like Jim Carrey.

Want to follow his footsteps? Embrace spur of the moment humor -- and “come up with your own stuff,” he said.

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