The Wagner family from St. Paul is affectionately known across the rodeo world as the “Clown Family.”
Tyson Wagner, 40, from St. Paul is fearless, he has to be. He has spent a lifetime fighting bull but now chooses to clown around on the world rodeo stage. A clown’s sole job is to keep the crowd entertained throughout slower moments of the rodeo.
Tyson says he doesn’t know what got him into the sport as he grew up in town.
“No one in my family rodeoed, no one in my family even owned cowboy boots,” Tyson told Lakeland Connect. “I just went to a rodeo one time and was like yup, this is what I’m going to get into.”
Tyson says staring a bull in the face when he used to fight bulls, was “Western.”
“You got to remember they’re bigger than you, and when they hit you, you lose,” Tyson said. “Four legs outrun two, there have been some pretty wild and wooly times going up and down the road, but we survived barley.”
Tyson says you can’t even tell that he has had multiple concussions. He has been dragged and fallen off horses and a few fences all while wearing the same pants for over ten years.
“Everything is fairly normal, I got a couple of wires crossed now, but other than that we’re still hanging in there,” Tyson said.
Twenty years later, he is still doing a job he loves, entertaining the crowd.
“I make sure everybody here has fun,” Tyson said as he slingshots a t-shirt into the waiting hands of a child ten rows up in the stands.
TJ Wagner is Tyson’s wife and says their relationship has always been entertaining for the last 17 years traveling throughout Alberta.
“You never know what’s going to come out of his mouth or happen,” TJ told Lakeland Connect. “He fought bulls for 15 years and then for ten years he has been clowning.”
TJ says lots of things have blown up over the years in their backyard as Tyson would regularly practice his antics. She says she has witnessed Tyson punish his body to entertain people.
“His neck was broken at one point, and his trachea has had a hole in it,” TJ said.
A dangerous job which his children, Trace age 11, and Tyler age 10, plan on doing as a career as they follow in their father’s footsteps at rodeos across Alberta.
“It’s pretty cool to have a Dad that is a clown, we get to dress up and help him entertain,” Tyler said.
Tyler says he is the best dad in the world but sometimes he is a “Chicken.”
The Wagner’s spent the weekend at the Bonnyville rodeo and are now off to their next gig, to share laughter and entertain.