Meet the cowboy legend that makes the Clovis Rodeo possible

You won't see him competing on the back of a bull or horse. But John Growney is responsible for every animal at the Clovis Rodeo.
April 23, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Outside the world of rodeo, John Growney might not be a household name. But ask any cowboy and they'll tell you how integral he is in their circle.

Go to any rodeo and it's easy to see who are the stars of the show. And in the world of bulls and broncos, John Growney is the guy every cowboy wants to meet.

You won't see him competing on the back of a bull or horse. But Growney is responsible for every animal at the Clovis Rodeo.

"This is not a real job," said Growney. "This is a joy. This is every day you get up just wondering what the day is going to be like."

Besides Clovis, Growney hangs his hat at about two dozen other rodeos a year. His Red Bluff, California ranch is the training ground for some of the best bulls and bucking horses in the business.

"We're constantly at the ranch building our team," said Growney. "Just like the 49ers or the Giants, you're trying to add better cowboys into your rodeo business and rodeo team."

The son of a car salesman gained national attention in the 80's, when his bull, Red Rock teamed with hall of famer Lane Frost to form the biggest media sensation in rodeo history. And Wednesday night, the Clovis Rodeo Association will dedicate a massive 14-foot high, 2,000 pound bronze statue to the lives of his late friend and bull.

Growney said, "When you can immortalize someone like Lane Frost and even Red Rock, it'll carry over into other generations."

His nearly four decade career has taken him all over the world, but Growney admits the Clovis stop is near and dear to his heart.

Growney explained, "Last night they had a meeting and I'm sitting there and I'm figure out how many years I've been here, and its 34 years. And so I know that I've been here a third of the Clovis Rodeo history."

At 66 thoughts of retirement are creeping in, But Growney hopes to stick around at least a few more years before he completely rides off into the sunset.


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