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DEADWOOD (6/22/2009) – The laugh-getters and bullfighters of yesteryear are gathering for their annual reunion during the 2009 Days of ’76 events in Deadwood, July 21-25. Rodeo clowns from 14 states will gather in Deadwood to be honored for their years in the arena entertaining rodeo audiences and saving bull riders from serious injury. 
A Deadwood Chamber of Commerce mixer and social on July 21 at the Mineral Palace on Main Street in Deadwood will allow the public to meet and visit with the rodeo clowns, who will be complete with familiar costumes and make-up. The rodeo clowns will visit attractions in the Black Hills as part of the reunion, and on July 22, a Campfire Gathering will be held at the High Plains Western Heritage Center in Spearfish at 7 p.m. This event is also open to the public. The honorees will take part in other activities during the Days of ’76 events as well. 
Bullfighters often put their own life in jeopardy, and the audiences seldom realize the extent of broken bones and other major injuries. George Doak, an honoree at this year’s event, worked rodeos in Deadwood on a few occasions, and always enjoyed himself. “But it’s even more fun to come back as an honoree,” Doak said. “It’s a lot safer, too.”
Another honoree, Jimmy Schumacher, was a barrelman for 23 years and worked the Days of ’76 rodeo five times or more. “I always enjoyed the Deadwood rodeo,” Schumacher said. “It was a little more wild and western than a lot of the other rodeos.” Schumacher is responsible for taking the bottom out of the original barrel so barrelman could have more ways to ‘escape.’ He also holds the patent on that barrel design.
To learn more about the Rodeo Clown Reunion, call (512) 266-1001. For information on Deadwood’s Days of ’76 events, call 1-800-551-2409. 
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