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UPDATE: Rodeo apologizes for clown's comments about gender identity at Calhoun Co. fair

(WILX)
Published: Aug. 22, 2016 at 6:10 PM EDT
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UPDATE: After originally confirming that it fired Robbie Hodges for his comments, Lost Nations Rodeo is now saying that is not the case. It released the following statement to wilx.com:

"Lost Nations did NOT fire Mr. Robbie Hodges. Mr. Hodges was hired for this one special event and is no longer employed by Lost Nations as he has fulfilled his contractual obligations.

Thank you.

Lost Nations Rodeo"

The lawyer for Robbie Hodges released the following statement to wilx.com:

"My name is Robbie Hodges, aka Rockin Robbie Hodges, a PRCA rodeo barrelman (rodeo clown). I recently worked at a rodeo at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds during which I made statements that were intended to be entertaining while separating the boys from the girls for what is referred to in rodeo as a “sheep scramble”. I said, ""You're either a boy or a girl, y’all understand? If you’re confused then you need help, okay? Everybody in here who's really sure they're a boy raise your hand. If you can tinkle on a fire you go to the boys room, if you can't, you go to the girls room, right?” The crowd laughed. The boys went one direction, the girls went the other and the rodeo performance continued as usual.

I was hired for this rodeo by Shilo Walden of the Lost Nations Rodeo Company and was there to entertain the spectators and to train another rodeo clown for Lost Nations Rodeo. To be clear, I was not fired from any employment nor was any contract terminated with Lost Nations Rodeo Company. I was hired as an independent contractor for this one weekend. As I do with most of my performances, I received a thank you, a hand shake and a paycheck for my services at the end of the rodeo.

In his initial statement, Mr Walden said that “Mr Hodges no longer provides services for Lost Nations Rodeo”. This is technically true because I have not yet been hired by Lost Nations Rodeo to work any future performances. I saw the first of many news stories stating that I was fired for my comments days later. Unfortunately, it seems that several news organizations including Fox News and The Washington Times misunderstood the stock contractor’s statement to mean that I was terminated for my comments. This is simply not the case.

Lost Nations Rodeo Company subsequently issued the following statement in regard to the recent press coverage.

Lost Nations did NOT fire Mr. Robbie Hodges. Mr. Hodges was hired for this one special event and is no longer employed by Lost Nations as he has fulfilled his contractual obligations. Lost Nations Rodeo would like to formally apologize for the comments made by our 2016 Calhoun County Fair Event Rodeo Clown Robbie Hodges. Mr. Hodges is an independent contractor who was hired for this lone event. Mr. Hodges is no longer employed by Lost Nations Rodeo because he fulfilled his contract in its entirety. Lost Nations was unaware that the comments made at the 2016 Calhoun County Fair would be made and were off script. The views expressed at this event belonged solely to Mr. Hodges. We sincerely apologize again to all or our fans and look forward to entertaining you in the future. - Lost Nations Rodeo

Robbie Hodges is from CAVE SPRING. GA; Born: Jan 11, 1968.

Family: sons Reed and Blake, daughter Carli.

- PRCA Membership: contestant, 1991; Barrelman, 2004- present.

- Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (“NFR”) Barrelman 2010

- Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (“NFR”) Alt. Barrelman 2011

- Coors Man In The Can Nominee 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

- Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (“PRCA”) Clown of the Year Nominee 2006, 2010

- Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (“PRCA”) Comedy Act of the Year Nominee 2010, 2011

- Dodge Great Lakes Circuit Finals Rodeo Barrelman 2006 ,2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

- Dodge Southeastern Circuit Finals Rodeo Barrelman 2005

- Barrleman, Mount Isa Rodeo, Queensland Australia 2012

Rockin' Robbie Hodges has established himself as one of the hottest barrelman and funny guy personalities in the world of Professional Rodeo. In only five short years he was selected as barrelman for his first Wrangler Natinoal Finals Rdoeo in 2010. His quick wit and off the cuff banter, as well as carefully thought out acts, keep the crowd entertained and looking at him for the entire performance. Robbie always promotes positive, non-violent, clean family humor, and has an uncanny knack for instantly bonding with audiences of all ages. He genuinely enjoys being a rodeo clown because he likes to talk to and entertain people, especially children. He eagerly takes on the rodeo performance, attempting to personalize each show by taking the time to talk to and get to know as many families as possible. With his unusual skills as a barrelman he has been acclaimed by bull fighters, rodeo announcers, stock contractors, and cowboys alike, as being the most exciting barrelman in rodeo today.

Robbie Hodges can be reached at (706) 266-6589 or barrelclown3@yahoo.com for further information."

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One of the jobs of a rodeo clown is to provide comic relief, but a clown at the Calhoun County Fair went too far, in the eyes of organizers, when he made jokes about gender identity.

A viewer sent News 10 video of the incident, which happened during a rodeo event at the fairgrounds on August 18.

"You're either a boy or a girl, y’all understand," said "Rockin' Robbie Hodges, an independent contractor for Lost Nations Rodeo Company. "If you're confused then you need help, okay?"

"Everybody in here who's really sure they're a boy raise your hand," said Hodges. "If you can tinkle on a fire you go to the boys room, if you can't, you go to the girls room, right?"

The crowd seemed to laugh at Hodge's comments, however fair organizers are far from laughing.

"I was very disappointed, because we do not put on a platform for that to happen here," said Megan Harvey, the Executive Director for the Calhoun County Fair.

The viewer who sent News 10 the video said many people left the rodeo following Hodge's comments.

The Calhoun County Fair contracted Lost Nations Rodeo Company for services.

Shilo Walden of Lost Nations Rodeo Company says Hodges was fired after the comments were brought to his attention that night.

Hodges was an independent contractor with the company.

Lost Nations Rodeo issued a statement to News 10 formally apologizing for the comments.

"Lost Nations Rodeo was unaware that those comments would be made and were off script. Hodges is a well-decorated entertainer, and while we appreciate his services, we do not share the same views or opinions. We sincerely apologize again to all of our fans and look forward to entertaining you in the future.”

Harvey says this is the second year the county fair has contracted Lost Nations Rodeo for its services.

"Every year, we go to a convention in January, and there are several different companies in Grand Rapids looking for our business to contract them for fairs. They were there as one of the rodeo companies," said Harvey.

Before contracting any service, fair organizers conduct research and look at reviews for each company.

"We've had really good reviews on them with several other fairs," said Harvey. "We check out where they've been and make sure they have a good following and this has never come up at all."

The Calhoun County Fair Board will decide if Lost Nations Rodeo will be invited back for another year.

"I never want to see anyone lose their job because we all have a family to support and so on, but I hope he takes home that he can't do that and this is a family-friendly event," said Harvey.

Fair organizers encourage anyone disturbed by the comments to contact them directly or on the

.

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