Chicken out of the box worth laughs
What happens when you add two chickens to a rodeo?
Lots of laughs.
Just ask Scott Cameron. And in Cameron’s line of work, that’s job security.
Cameron travels all over the nation and world to rodeos with a dual purpose. He’s a bullfighter and also the rodeo clown.
Laughs were exactly what Cameron drew while entertaining the crowd sitting in the Last Chance Arena stands at rodeos held during the Lyon County Fair last week Thursday and Friday.
Cameron started his skit by putting what looked like an extra large Kentucky Fried Chicken box and a blanket in the middle of the arena. He told rodeo announcer Kelly Kenney that he’s taking a dinner break.
“This isn’t your normal fried chicken,” Cameron tells Kenney. “This is extra, extra, extra, extra, extra crispy.”
But what’s inside isn’t exactly the fried chicken or extra herbs and spices that he advertises. A chicken pops out of the box, which ends up chasing Cameron around the box. While he’s trying to corral that chicken, a second chicken pops out of the box. Now Cameron has two chickens chasing him. Eventually, both chickens are back in the box, but not until Cameron accomplishes his main goal — lots of laughter.
But there’s a price to pay for laughs. Especially at a rodeo.
I caught up with Cameron after the first rodeo. He pulled up his pants leg to reveal wounds up and down his leg from the chickens pecking at him.
“How in the world did you train those chickens to do that act?” I asked,
“No, they are trying to kill me. There’s no training them. It’s free red meat,” Cameron said while laughing.
“But they don’t go very far. You are able to corral them,” I said.
“Oh no, it’s not a matter of catching them. You try to get away from them. That’s the deal,” he said.
“So you are telling me there’s no plan with the chickens?” I asked.
“The only plan is I know when I let them out, they are gong to beat the crap out of me,” he said.
Cameron should know a thing or two about rodeos and comedy. He’s been working in rodeos for more than 30 years. “I started out fighting bulls. And back then you go to the rodeo you were the clown, you fought bulls and you did acts. You were just one guy and so that’s how you evolved doing acts and doing comedy stuff. It just snowballed,” he said.
The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association eventually required all rodeos to have two bullfighters. And Cameron discovered that he got paid more when he combined his bullfighting duties with comedy acts.
“They paid me more to get into a barrel and do a few acts than if I would just fighting bulls. So that’s where I ended up,” Cameron said.
“When did you decide ‘I’m funny. I can do this?’ “ I asked.
“I don’t know if anybody ever decides that. You just are or you are not (funny) I guess. I really didn’t go to school to do that. Like I said, back in the day, when I was hired to fight bulls, they kind of expected you to do something. So you just have to figure something out. Some stuff works and some stuff didn’t,” Cameron said.
He told me of another act he believes requires more actual training than the chicken act.
“I have a horse act that I do where I have a horse lie down and I pretend to cut its leg with a chain saw. I know three horses that you could take out in front of thousands of people and make then lie down, stand over them and start a chain saw and they just lay there. And I own all three of them,” Cameron said.
He has taken his act to rodeos to such far away places as Japan, France, Spain, Finland and Peru.
“Everybody likes a rodeo. They (people in other countries) study history just like everybody else. The whole cowboy thing is a big and popular era. Rodeo is pretty popular everywhere you go,” Cameron said.
He tried taking his chicken act to Helsinki, Finland.
“It almost takes an act of God to import chickens. It’s a big deal. They ended up not going,” he said.
Most of his acts, as it turns out, are thought up while driving rodeo to rodeo.
“You are always working on stuff. Especially when you spend all that time driving. You are in a truck all by yourself. Your mind wanders. Sometimes you think up stuff that you think is really funny at 2 o’clock in the morning. I have been driving for 20 hours. It ends up not nearly as funny as I thought it was,” he said.
Cameron got back on the road again this past week. More time to think while he travels to his next rodeo.
Sure it’s a dangerous job. He’s constantly dodging raging bulls and wild horses. But that’s why Cameron loves doing comedy.
“In bullfighting, you can only get killed once,” he said. “But you go out and do comedy, you can die over and over and over all in the same performance.”
At least for the near future — as long as he gets laughs, — Cameron’s comedy will live on in another town — in a different arena.