ProRodeo Sports News - April 5, 2019
innovative acts of their era. Gene was selected by contestants to be the “clowning bull-baiter” for the first National Finals Rodeo in 1959. “We got along, we had to since we were partners,” Bobby Clark laughed. “We had an orchard in California and lived there. We did everything together. Best friends fight and brothers do too – but we were together for 30 years.” The Clarks were known for creating innovative acts such as a disappearing act, Cannon Capers, the hearse act, the magical box and Lord Beaverbook’s Roman Riding Mules. “I’d think about it (new act) every time I’d go to the bathroom,” Bobby Clark laughed. The Clarks were often spotted at Madison Square Garden, the Boston Garden, Houston, Fort Worth, Texas, and Pendleton, Ore. They also performed in Calgary, Alberta, as well as Mexico and Cuba. Of course, all those years of dodging bulls came with their share of injuries. Bobby punctured his lung twice, broke all his ribs and both arms. Bandages for his injuries were how one fan figured out the secret to the Clark Brothers’ cannon routine. “We had a lot of acts, we had so many more than anyone else – I’m bragging now, but I’m telling you the truth,” Bobby Clark said. “We had to have something new if we were going to succeed. We had a disappearing act
‘Well, if you got any 70-year-old bulls I will,” Bobby Clark laughed. Although he was retired from rodeo, Bobby wasn’t fully retired from working. He worked as a feed salesman for 14 years while ranching in Oklahoma until officially retiring in 1993. He also served on the board for the Rodeo Historical Society at the National Cowboy &Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City for nine years, two as president in the mid-1990s. Gene died June 4, 2005, at the age of 79, and Bobby Clark is enjoying his retirement in Oklahoma. The Clark legacy in rodeo continued with Gene’s son, David, competing as a saddle bronc rider in college and ProRodeo and Bobby’s daughter, Brenda Clark (Smith), performing a dog act for a short time. More recently, Gene’s granddaughter Jessie Telford placed third at the 2018Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in barrel racing. The Clarks were inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1997. “At the induction, I said, ‘If I’d devoted my time to something other than clowning, I’d be a lot richer,” Bobby Clark said. During their induction, McSpadden, the famed rodeo announcer and fellowHall of Famer, recalled one of their earlier rodeos together. “There was as much contract talent in that arena as there has ever been in a rodeo up to then and up to this day,” McSpadden said.
with a cannon and a trap door in the arena. I’d stand over a trap door and he’d shoot, and there were flash bags around me. He’d light the cannon and when it went off, I’d push my button, so it looked like I was blown out of the arena. “One guy in Lubbock, Texas, wanted to know where we were going to next, and we said Mercedes, Texas. He said he’d be there. He wanted to know how it worked and was on vacation and (said) he’d catch how we did it. That’s when I had my wrist taped up from when I broke it. My double would come over the fence with his pants on fire and smoke bombs, and we fooled them. He (the guy from Lubbock) caught me because the double didn’t have the bandage on his wrist.” their routine until 1978 when they parted ways. Gene moved to Oregon and Bobby stayed in Oklahoma. Although they were done rodeoing together, they still made appearances individually for many years. ClemMcSpadden wanted Bobby Clark to work the Old Timers Rodeo. “I said, ‘You don’t expect me to fight bulls, do you?’ He said, yeah. I said, EVENTUALLY RETIRED The brothers continued
Gene and Bobby Clark were
inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1997. The central item in their display is the same Spanish- style cape they used in bullfighting. PRCA ProRodeo photo
ProRodeo Sports News 4/5/2019
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