It’s harder to nail down Flint Rasmussen than you think. Whether it’s his comedic influences, his ever evolving act or just his physical location over the course of the 25th PBR: Unleash the Beast season, Rasmussen is a man that is constantly on the move.
As the PBR’s Exclusive Entertainer since 2006, Rasmussen is always working. And after 30-plus years in the Western sports world, Rasmussen has not lost a beat when it comes to the job he loves.
That commitment is what makes Rasmussen stand out so much. The PBR is one of the most unique sports in the world, and it takes some of the most unique people to bring it to life.
And when you have to face down a sold-out arena every week, and some angry bulls, it’s understandable why it takes someone like Flint to take on the job.
“Oh man, I stay away from pissed off bulls, you know that,” Rasmussen said with a laugh. “But I’ve always thought it’s such a challenge to win over a crowd.”
Rasmussen has had to work that much harder to build a rapport with fans as the PBR has expanded its tour to include places like Chicago, New York City and other non-traditional Western sports markets.
“In New York City, over the years, they have gotten a little more familiar with what we’re doing, but every year you know a lot of the crowd has never seen what we’re doing,” Rasmussen said. “So it’s almost like you start from scratch every night to say this is who I am, this is what I’m about, come along for the ride. It’s a good party.”
To make things even harder, the 25TH UTB can have you in New York one week and Montana the next. Rasmussen gets a tad more serious now, just for a moment, to make it clear that winning over crowds like that week in and week out is no walk in the park, and the only reason it looks that way to fans is because of his extensive experience.
“When you’re in New York City for one stop, and then you’re in Billings, Montana, you have to know that the years and years of touring around the country that you’ve learned that you cannot use the same material you use in Billings, Montana, that you use in New York City,” Rasmussen said. “It just does not work, it’s like two different countries, like a language barrier almost. In Billings, I’m using local humor and rural Montana humor, high school mascots, things like that. In New York City, it’s more about audience participation and high energy, making them feel like they are a part of what’s going on, pull them into the show.”
That’s without even mentioning that, with the launch of RidePass, he is now being broadcast into homes all over the world. He admitted that it was tough managing such a larger audience at first, but it did push him.
“When they started doing the PBR LIVE deal it was just the complete live arena feed and that was it. So everything I was doing was going out to our fans out in PBR LIVE,” Rasmussen said. “Honestly what was happening was all of a sudden I started getting all this feedback from fans saying ‘Flint you need to change things up,’ and ‘Flint should retire he’s doing the same things every weekend’ and it wore on me.”
Although like any good entertainer, he took it in stride. Rasmussen was motivated to get his second wind, and he realized it’s not always bad to play the hits.
“What I started to say was if you go to a Billy Joel concert or a Kenny Chesney concert, do you really think he sings all different songs and does a completely different show every single stop,” Rasmussen said. “I’ve come to realize, that is my main concern and we’re glad you’re watching on PBR LIVE and there are people asking for shout outs on PBR LIVE and I love those people, but in that moment it’s the people in that arena that I’m playing to.”
That takes confidence, a confidence that Rasmussen grew up with. He notes that it’s always funny when people comment on how much they’d love to have his job because it looks easy. But the Montana native is quick to point out that nothing in the PBR is easy.
“I grew up behind the chutes, I grew up behind that announcer stand watching everything from the back side. So the thing that people don’t remember is that even in my rodeo career and now in bull riding, I know the timing of the sport, I know the bull animals, I grew up in a ranching community so I understand livestock. I understand when a guy is ready to nod and come out of the chutes and I understand when they’re not.”
It’s why his influences are also hard to nail down. Over the course of his career, Rasmussen has been everything from clown to barrel man, but his role now is unlike anything in the world of sports. As such, his influences are wide, but it’s his personality more than anything that fuels it.
“I loved stand-up comedians, I looked at people believe it or not like Howie Mandell, he used to do the greatest stand-up act ever and I watched a lot of comedians. However, that wasn’t my only thing,” Rasmussen said. “People may not realize that, but I grew up a cowboy in a cowboy family so I’ve been able to take the comedy I love and the entertainment I love the dancing ability that I love and combine it but it all has to fit in to the structure of the sport which is the main show.”
As popular as he is, Rasmussen realizes that he is not the star of the show, the riders are. His unique ability to draw in a crowd while also centering the riders risking their lives to reach 8 seconds is unlike anything in sports. The fact that Flint works in the dirt too, risking himself just the same, almost goes without mentioning.
What makes Flint Flint, will always be hard to nail down, but he will always be a cross-country traveling, wisecracking dancing entertainer, who also happens to deftly dodge 2,000 pound bulls with ease.