Clowning, counseling are serious business
By Sheryl Stanley
Strictly speaking, Tex Holliday is not a rodeo clown. Despite what people might think with his baggy Wranglers, suspenders, funny hats and
red tennis shoes, Tex is actually a rodeo funny man – the comedic character who interacts with the crowd before the rodeo starts and who keeps them entertained with his jokes, banter and skits between the competitive events.
But if people look closer, beyond the face paint and costume, they will discover a familiar face, Scott Maid, Harrisonville native.
“I’ve loved horses since I was 2 years old. We lived on a farm, but my grandparents, Duane and Marge Hansen, owned horses, so I spent a lot of time at their place.”
Seeing their grandson’s interest in horses, the Hansens took him to the American Royal Rodeo.
“We went lots of times. Every year.”
While watching the rodeo, the youngster first took note of the funny men in the arena.
“That looked like something I wanted to do.”
As he was growing up, Maid demonstrated a flair for entertaining others. At Harrisonville High School, he was a member of the Music Makers show choir and also served as Wiley Wildcat, the high school mascot. Later, while a student at Ottawa University, he was the mascot of the Kansas City Blades hockey team and enjoyed attending the International Hockey League All-Star Game in Orlando, Florida, in 1998.
Through it all, Maid never lost his love of rodeo. Following graduation from college in 2000, doctoral work at Forrest Institute, Springfield, and post-doctoral work in Harrison, Arkansas, he interned at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
“While I was there, I attended a lot of rodeos. The Fort Worth Rodeo and the Mesquite Rodeo were both close by, so I probably attended a rodeo every week. And the thing is, even though that’s a major metropolitan area, the rodeos were always a very safe place to be. The atmosphere was very family friendly, and I liked that.”
Maid adopted many elements of western dress in those years, to the extent that when he came home to visit, people teased him and called him “Tex.”
Maid returned to Harrisonville in 2010 and opened his profes sional practice, Scott A. Maid Behavioral Health Counseling, Inc., 2819 Cantrell Rd. There, he counsels individuals, couples, and families. He also works with law enforcement agencies, schools and athletic teams. He is a mental performance coach for his alma mater, Ottawa University.
When not working, he was still a rodeo fan and he still wanted to try his skills as a funny man. Late in 2018, he learned about the New Year’s Rodeo Stampede to be held in Kansas City with an accompanying Funny/Barrel Man competition.
“It sounded like a great opportunity to try something that I’d had on my bucket list.”
To compete, Maid had to come up with a costume and an original 10-minute act to perform during intermission. He also needed a name.
“Well, Tex was the nickname everyone called me when I interned in Dallas. And Holliday comes from one of my favorite Western characters, Doc Holliday.”
During the three-night event, he was judged on appearance, stage presence, the quality of his material, timing and crowd reaction.
“I didn’t win, but I had a great time.”
While Maid didn’t win, he did catch the attention of C.R. McKellips, a Missouri rodeo promoter. McKellips contacted him and booked him for five performances during the 2019 season. Maid did so well they booked him for several more, including the Missouri State Fair.
“McKellips has been phenomenal to work with. I’m so thankful for the opportunity they gave me and their trust in me. They taught me a lot too. If it wasn’t for them, I’d never have made it this far,” Maid said.
In total, he did 20 performances during his rookie season, including the United Rodeo Finals in Topeka, Kansas, last November with contestants from 11 states. Less than a year after first donning his costume and entering a funny man competition, Maid was named the top URA funny man for 2019.
“I got a jacket and a belt buckle. I’m really proud of that.”
A few weeks later, Maid entered his second Funny Man Competition during
the 2019 New Year’s Rodeo Stampede. This time he won the showcase and his second belt buckle for 2019.
“I really want to thank everyone at The Family Center in Harrisonville for loaning me their slot horse, Sandy. He was a really big part of my act and without him, I might not have won.”
Maid said that during rodeo dates, a funny man will work about three hours every day, interacting with the crowd, telling jokes and giving out promotional items. During performances, he will work with the announcer to fill in the gaps in the performance.
“It helps to know the rodeo announcer and have a rapport with him. Also, there’s an etiquette that has to be observed. For instance, don’t over-talk the announcer.”
Maid said much of his material is off the cuff and unplanned.
“I don’t pre-plan very much. I work well under pressure and I like to wing it. I’ve learned from others and I’ve learned by doing,” he said.
All his material is original, he said, and some of it is even copyrighted. A new skit called “Ro-dee-o-kee” debuted last year featuring Tex singing in the shower. Maid said it will likely be part of his regular act this year.
As a funny man, he is responsible for his own costume, props, travel expenses and giveaways. He even made his own T-shirts last year.
Maid also has his own dummy named Skinny Kenny. He typically props Kenny up in front of the barrel before the bulls are turned loose in the arena.
“Crowds like to see Kenny go flying,” he said.
Barrels are the most iconic accessory in a funny man’s bag of tricks.
Maid said, “The barrel can cost $2,500 and it’s custom made to a performer’s size and height.”
Maid said the people at McKellips loaned him a barrel last year, but he
hopes to get his own very soon.
While the funny man is in the spotlight for most of the rodeo, during the bull riding competition, it’s a different story.
“I’m not a bull fighter. Usually, there are three bullfighters and they are responsible for distracting the bull after he’s thrown the cowboy and herding him out of the arena. They’ll also get the cowboy safely out as well,” he said.
If there’s any kind of trouble, the funny man is quick to help.
“This is the point where people see that there is a serious side and a level of danger to the funny man’s job.”
“The barrel is for safety. I’ll move it around to protect the cowboy and keep
everyone safe, including me,” Maid said.
While the fast-paced action of the rodeo may seem a far cry from the quiet atmosphere of a psychologist’s office, Maid believes the two complement each other.
“Working in the rodeo is a great stress reliever, and it seems to balance out my occupation nicely,” he said. “This is one way I can take care of myself and my mental health.”
For now, Maid is looking forward to next summer when he can work on perfecting his social skills and his performances. His first show will be the Windsor Rodeo in June, June 19-20, Waco Rodeo Grounds, but the Cass
County Rodeo and the Missouri State Fair are also on his roster. In addition, he will perform in Iola, Kansas, and in Fair Grove, Corder and Excelsior Springs.
“I hope the details can be worked out so there will be a rodeo in Harrisonville too. I’m looking forward to that,” he said.
In the meantime, Maid is studying the psychology of comedy, the science be-
hind what makes people laugh.
“I love a challenge and I want to learn. I want to get better. I’m not happy when I’m not satisfied,” he said.