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Most awarded PRCA rodeo clown, entertainer in the arena at Rodeo Rapid City


News Staff - January 17, 2020

RAPID CITY, SD - When Keith Isley steps into the arena as the barrel man at Rodeo Rapid City, he will have an extra spring in his step. The ever energetic entertainer has been widely recognized as one of the greatest entertainers in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA).

He joined the PRCA in 1995 and just had five rodeos booked. His status in the association grew in 1999 when he received the Specialty Act of the Year award and that became the highlight of his career. He has been nominated and won more awards, but it is going to be hard to top what happened to him in Dec 2009, 2010 and 2011. The PRCA took time to honor the sport’s top personnel and rodeo committees at their annual awards banquet. Isley has left the banquet both years as the most decorated winner of the night with three buckles --- his fifth consecutive Clown of the Year, third Coors Man in the Can and fourth Comedy Act of the Year. 2011 being the third time he won these three awards the same year.   Keith is currently a 6X Clown of the Year, 6X Comedy Act of the Year, 5X Specialty Act of the Year and 5X Coors Man in the Can.

The native of North Carolina is quick to give credit to the rodeo committees that hire him and while he may not be a natural born entertainer he has embraced the challenge and developed routines that leave audiences wanting more.   “I was really shy and the audiences were intimidating,” he said. “I finally got comfortable with face paint and baggy pants put a shield between me and the audience. I started telling jokes and when the audience reacted, I enjoyed that.”  His career in the rodeo arena started as a competitor. He competed in bareback riding and bull riding as a teenager in junior rodeos. A couple years later and bullfighting caught his eye. At that time, bullfighters were expected to do comedy as well.

Isley found his niche and now entertains rodeo crowds across the country as the barrel man and with his specialty acts. His ability to train animals is well known. He has learned to work the crowd and spends every second in the rodeo arena doing his best to make sure that every audience member has a good time. “After being in this business for over 34 years, I still get nervous he said. “Then when you see the people react to the things you do, it’s very rewarding.”  He will be gauging the reactions of the fans at Rodeo Rapid City and doing his best to show them why he is one of the most decorated entertainers in the PRCA.

See Isley during Rodeo Rapid City performances, Fri., Jan. 31st, Sat., Feb. 1st, Sun., Feb. 2nd, Fri., Feb. 7th and Sat., Feb. 8th.



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