PHOTOS: ‘World Famous’ barrel man Mr. Joe Carr | PostIndependent.com
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PHOTOS: ‘World Famous’ barrel man Mr. Joe Carr

Rodeo clown Joe Carr stares into the eye of an angry bull who is only feet away from his head during the Carbondale Wild West Rodeo.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

“Get ready folks, we’ve got the “World Famous” barrel man Mr. Joe Carr with us tonight,” the announcer said just before the start of the Carbondale Wild West Rodeo. The sun was setting and the anxious audience and tailgaters were filling the stands and truck beds around the arena.

Born and raised in Garden City, Kansas Joe Carr now lives in Fruita but is longtime fan of rodeo. He started attending the Fruita rodeos and helped out with ticket sales at the gate before thinking to himself “man, I oughta be a clown.”

Rodeo clown Joe Carr rolls the barrel out of the back of his truck before getting ready for the start of the Carbondale Wild West Rodeo.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
Rodeo clown Joe Carr ties the laces to his football cleats before the start of the Carbondale Wild West Rodeo.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

One night he stole the microphone from the announcer and started having fun with it. Before he knew it the crowd went wild and he realized they were loving it.

Almost 20 years later and he’s still rolling up to rodeos across the state, entertaining crowds and putting himself inside a barrel to serve as a distraction to the bulls so riders can safely climb out of the arena.

The inside of the barrel has two arm straps for the rodeo clown to hold onto while being hit and rolled around by a bull.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
Joe Carr's sidekick remote control car zips around the arena chasing bulls out and away from riders.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

World Famous

He wears yellow and black striped socks, football cleats and a bright red shirt with an animated running hotdog with a scared look on its face. He paints a white diamond over one eye and writes the letters WF for “world famous” on the opposite cheek.

The nickname “world famous” comes from an inside joke with a friend of his after two separate people recognized him at the National PBR finals in Las Vegas one year.

Rodeo clown Joe Carr uses the side mirror of his truck to apply make-up and the letters WF to his face.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
Rodeo clown Joe Carr checks his make-up in the side mirror of his truck before the start of the Carbondale Wild West rodeo.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

“Someone came up to me and said ‘aren’t you Joe Carr from Fruita?’ and at first I just blew it off,” Carr said. “But then two days later the same thing happened again with someone else.”

He went to his buddy and joked about being world famous and the nickname has stayed with him ever since.

Rodeo clown Jose Cano pushes around the barrel while Joe Carr sits inside during the Carbondale Wild West Rodeo.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
Rodeo clown Joe Carr peaks his head out from the barrel to see if the coast is clear after a bull slammed head first into the barrel at the Carbondale Wild West Rodeo.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Bull proof

Carr pulls up to rodeos with a barrel given to him from a cousin who is also a rodeo clown. The shell of the barrel is made of steel and the outer layer is wrapped in foam decorated with various dents, holes and cuts from past bulls who sent his barrel rolling end over end across the arena.

After years of experience Carr can tell the meaner bulls from the rest before they even leave the chute. He particularly remembers a time when both back feet of a bull were inside the barrel with him while he rolled and bounced around inside.

“You can always tell which one is going to eat your lunch,” he said.

Rodeo clown Joe Carr lowers his hat during the National Anthem at the start of the Carbondale Wild West Rodeo.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Visual Journalist Chelsea Self can be reached at 970-384-9108 or cself@postindependent.com


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