Ellensburg Rodeo clown Flint Rasmussen and the Burkheimer Family will be inducted into the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame (ERHOF), Induction Committee Chair Ken MacRae recently announced, according to a news release from hall of fame organizers.

The induction banquet is 5-8:30 p.m., Aug. 29 at Central Washington University’s Student Union Recreation Center Ballroom and will also feature ERHOF’s “Boxes of Fame” western art auction and fundraiser.

MacRae noted that Rasmussen is being inducted into ERHOF’s “Participant” category while the Burkheimers are being inducted as an “Ellensburg Rodeo Family.”

Montanan Flint Rasmussen ranks alongside the most accomplished clowns and barrelmen in history of professional rodeo. He earned the title of Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association “Clown of the Year” eight consecutive times and Coors “Man in the Can” honors seven times. At present, he clowns and serves as barrelman for Professional Bullriders Association (PBR) events across North America.

Rasmussen was born in 1968 in Havre, Montana, and raised in nearby Chouteau. The son of a rodeo announcer, Flint became an All-State football and track star at Choteau High School. He went on to compete in, and announce, sporting events and earn academic honors at the University of Montana Western in Dillon. Before graduating with a degree in secondary education from Western, he worked his first rodeo as a professional barrelman in Superior, Montana, in 1987.

Rasmussen came to Ellensburg in 2000 and immediately became a crowd favorite. He combined athleticism and comedy into a unique style that brought him both awe and laughter from Labor Day weekend audiences. Ellensburg’s fans had never seen anything like Flint’s “dance moves,” and his humorous banter with announcer Justin McKee and arena cowboys also crossed boundaries that delighted the crowds. Reflecting on his clowning style, Rasmussen notes, “I just thought it needed a new energy, a young guy who could relate and get young people to get back to rodeo.”

MacRae, retired Ellensburg Rodeo arena director, recalls, “Frank Beard introduced me to Flint (and) we ended up hiring him to clown the Ellensburg Rodeo in 2000... Flint parlayed a natural good sense of humor and wit to become probably the most famous rodeo clown in the history of rodeo.”

In 2011, Flint Rasmussen was inducted into the Pendleton Roundup Hall of Fame. He will attend and speak at the Aug. 29 induction.

THE BURKHEIMERS

John and Frances Burkheimer moved to Ellensburg in 1950 to become ranchers. They quickly became involved in the local community and formed many long-standing friendships over their 28 years ranching. John was a cattle rancher and investor who served on the Rodeo Board for over a decade. He was instrumental in developing the scope of the rodeo with new sponsors, bringing in national acts like Gene Autry and Slim Pickins, and over-seeing the transition between an all-horse parade and allowing motorized vehicles.

John and Frances’s daughter, Ann, was the 1959 Ellensburg Rodeo Princess and represented Kittitas County in a wide variety of venues statewide, like Bremerton, Seattle, and Ephrata, not only exhibiting her riding skills but her speaking skills. She and her father were competitors in cow-cutting locally and regionally. John won the Posse Play Day trophy, and Ann won the novice award.

Son Bob Burkheimer was one of the three founders of the Gold Buckle Club. As the son of a board member, he was also volunteered as an extra in rodeo arena clown skits and he was a “pooper scooper” at the parade. Son John Jr. was an accomplished horseman and a member of the Kittitas County Junior Sheriff’s Posse.

The Burkheimers have been long-time supporters of the Ellensburg Rodeo, organizing and working at Gold Buckle events, maintaining a box at the rodeo, and donating to various rodeo-related causes.

The Western Culture and Arts Center (WCAC), formerly the Clymer Museum, 416 N. Pearl St., in downtown Ellensburg, is now the headquarters for ERHOF and its many activities. ERHOF co-occupies the Western Culture and Arts Center with its allies, the Clymer Museum and Western Art Association, and stores its valuable 350-cubic foot collection of historic rodeo records, publications, clothing, ephemera, and art in the spacious, remodeled upstairs. In helping to create the Western Culture and Art Center, ERHOF has achieved its longtime goal of establishing a permanent museum of rodeo history in Ellensburg. President Joel Smith gives much credit to ERHOF’s longtime community supporters and donors for achieving this goal.

On July 6, ERHOF will launch its third major show in the WCAC’s McGiffin Room featuring “Volunteers” — historic Ellensburg Rodeo volunteer workers, ushers, support group members, livestock tenders, board members, and winners of the Driver and Linder awards for Ellensburg Rodeo volunteers.

In addition, ERHOF maintains a display in the WCAC’s north window and a large wall and cabinet display featuring rotating themed shows of ERHOF pictures, posters and artifacts.

Beginning July 20, ERHOF’s “Boxes of Fame” show will adorn the WCAC’s exhibit space. Talented local artists are producing boxes in myriad sizes and compositions to be auctioned at the induction banquet. Proceeds go towards sustaining ERHOF and its WCAC museum archive and exhibits.

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