Howdy Y’all! NAZ Suns Become Northern Arizona Rodeo Clowns

By Jacob Withee | December 3, 2018

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – In a tribute to the community and to celebrate what the area embodies, the Northern Arizona Suns will change their name, logo and jersey to a rodeo and western theme for one night.

On Jan. 19, the Northern Arizona Suns will be no more, and instead the Phoenix Suns exclusive NBA G League affiliate will be the Northern Arizona Rodeo Clowns.

“It’s about being unique, fun and different,” Northern Arizona Rodeo Clowns President Chris Presson said. “It’s not just about Prescott Valley and Chino and Dewey, it’s about the western heritage for the region as a whole. And it’s not just about a nod to the past, but it’s also to the current and to the future, as well.

“We want to be fun and we want to be creative,” Presson continued. “We want to give a nod to the past so that we’re recognizing the Fain Land and Cattle Company, the World’s Oldest Rodeo, the PBR, the PRCA Turquoise Rodeo and so much more about this area. It’s important as well that we put our own little twist on it, and that’s where this comes in.”

The Rodeo Clowns will take on the Texas Legends on Western Night on Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Prescott Valley Event Center. Northern Arizona will wear specialty jerseys with a rodeo clown look that will be auctioned off at a later date. There will also be a postgame concert performed by country artist Davey Arnold, an Arizona State University alumnus who has performed at venues across Arizona, including Country Thunder and the Birds Nest in Scottsdale, Arizona. Arnold has also opened for popular country music artists like Dierks Bentley, Brothers Osborne and Joe Nichols.

The Suns introduced their new name, logo and jersey at a press conference at the Prescott Valley Event Center Monday afternoon. Presson, head coach Bret Burchard, Prescott Valley Mayor Harvey Skoog and Founder and President of Prescott Western Heritage Foundation Dennis Gallagher all were featured speakers.

“I was thinking about the characteristics of a rodeo clown and how it kind of fits what we’re trying to teach our guys. It sounds silly, but two qualities really stood out to me,” Burchard said. “One was the selflessness of the job. We just had a conversation with our team today and said, ‘What can you do to help your teammate get better? What skills do you bring to the event, to the game that can help a teammate look great? So, we would like to embody that, the selflessness. The second piece is just the joy in which a rodeo clown does his job. I think it was John Wooden who said, ‘You can’t accomplish anything without great enthusiasm.’ So we’d like our team to play with great enthusiasm and great joy, and hopefully that transcends to the fans and community.”

The Rodeo Clowns will give out Northern Arizona Suns branded cowboy hats to the first 1,000 fans on Western Night and host pregame activities on the concourse, including a mechanical bull, rodeo clown face painting, a photo booth and much more. The game will be full of western themed music, in-game performances, and will include a professional rodeo clown to add to the fun.

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