Flint Rasmussen of Choteau has been entertaining Professional Bull Riders audiences since 1996.
Flint Rasmussen has a request.
“No more co-ops,” the Choteau funnyman said. “It’s killing me.”
Rasmussen, the high-profile entertainer for the Professional Bull Riders, was in Billings on Thursday to help promote the annual Built Ford Tough Series event at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark.
The PBR returns to Billings April 7-9, 2017, for the 22nd year. Billings is the PBR’s longest, continuous regular-season event. Tickets went on sale Thursday morning.
Part of Rasmussen’s interaction with Billings audiences is his ability to give back nicknames of high schools from around the state.
“They’re screwing me up with the new mascots,” he said of the new school combinations.
The Billings PBR event is special to Rasmussen for a variety of reasons.
“Mmm … mmm … uh, yeah,” he said with an accompanying laugh when asked if there is additional pressure performing at his home-state event. “Some of the fans in Billings are the same people when I worked the NILE and Red Lodge (rodeos).
“I find myself pushing a little harder sometimes in Billings. I worry people will say, ‘He should give it up.’ I don’t want to be that entertainer. The one who stayed around too long. I think that’s a fear with every kind of performer.”
Rimrock Auto Arena also brings back other memories. Rasmussen worked Billings 38 days after suffering a heart attack in March 2009.
“I will never forget the reception I received that day,” he said. “I was scared to death before I went out there.”
Since 1996, Rasmussen has had the best seat in the house to see the evolution of the bull riding organization.
“The biggest thing I’ve seen is the PBR has its own identity,” he said. “In 1996, we were an extension of rodeo. It’s how guys qualified and we used rodeo bulls and rodeo announcers. That’s why we take that break during the summer. In the past, it was so guys could rodeo. And we’ve held on to that schedule.
“I come from a rodeo background. The PBR is just different. We sell it different and we promote it different.”
Sign UThis year’s PBR event in Billings hit even closer to home. Jess Lockwood of Volborg won his first BFTS event and $40,000. Lockwood, 19, earned PBR Rookie of the Year honors for 2016.
The teenager also happens to be friends with Rasmussen’s oldest daughter, Shelby.
“Isn’t that weird?” he said. “I feel old. I hope Jess can ask me anything on where to go or what to do with things like media and sponsors. How to handle things.
“I want to be a mentor for the younger guys. I don’t hang out with the bull riders any more. I’m old enough to be their father. I want to be a place for them to go. I hope they respect me enough to do that.”
With jumping up on the Shark Tank getting a little tougher with each passing year — “It’s age,” he said — Rasmussen has a couple of more years left entertaining crowds in the arena.
“I want to entertain people for two hours a night,” Rasmussen said. “To make it a really great day for someone. The goal of my job is to try and make a person’s day a little better. How great is that to do? I never take that for granted.
“Hey, I’m 48 years old and still get introduced with the starting lineup.”