Award-winning rodeo clown puts on a specialty act for Angelina County

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Keith Isley is one of the most popular and entertaining rodeo clowns in the arena. He'll be entertaining East Texans at this year's Angelina benefit rodeo.

Isley has been in the rodeo business for forty years. He started his career at 14-years-old in North Carolina.

"I'd ride the bulls and bucking horses in junior rodeos. We used to be the Biker Farmers; me and my brother and the whole family," Isley said.

Isley's brothers were great bull riders, but it never worked out for the rodeo clown.

"I was not very good at it. I tried riding bulls and bucking horses, then I got into the bull fighting part and that's what I wanted to do; be a bullfighter and protect the cowboy," Isle said.

In the seventies, in order to be a bullfighter you had to have a comedy routine. Believe it or not, this rodeo clown was quite timid 40 years ago.

"As time progressed, I got more comfortable being behind the makeup," Isley said. "And it still took a long time to perfect some of the acts and so forth that I do."

Isley now concentrates on the comedy aspect of rodeo and has won many awards for being the most entertaining character at rodeos across the country.

The entertainer says there's an unbelievable difference in his personality when the makeup comes off.

Isley spends more time with his animals than he does his own wife who he's been married to for 25 years. They met at a rodeo many years ago and would do a comedy routine together.

"The whole time I'm at home I'm having to feed my horses and take care of them," Isley said. "When I leave home to go to work, I put them on a trailer and bring them with me, so I keep them all the time."

The rodeo clown says despite always being on the road he won't be throwing in the towel anytime soon.

"I'm 55-years-old. I mean, I have cut back a bit. The older I get, the more I enjoy being at home. Sometimes I'm gone from home for months at a time."

Keith Isley will be the specialty act at the Angelina Benefit Rodeo April 24 through April 27 starting at 7 p.m. each night at the George H. Henderson Expo Center.

Copyright 2013 KTRE. All rights reserved.