ProRodeo Sports News - June 26, 2020
HANGING IT UP
Renee Deal photo
Litwin retiring from being clown/barrelman Rocketman Clown/barrelman ‘Rocket’ Ryan Litwin entertains kids at the North Star Pro Rodeo in Marshfield, Mass., in June 2018.
BY SCOTT KANIEWSKI R yan Litwin has made a career out of his two favorite passions – rodeo and hunting. The 44-year-old, New York native is going to be stepping away from one of those soon. Litwin, a clown/barrelman known as “Rocket Ryan,” will retire from being in the barrel following the Belton (Texas) CoC 4th of July Celebration & PRCA Rodeo, July 4. “I can’t work the barrel anymore,” said Litwin, who
rodeos in the spring, Litwin used the time to get his real estate license. He will sell land, farms and hunting ranches. “When I’m not in the rodeo industry, I’m immersed in the hunting industry,” said Litwin, who never rodeoed after Labor Day weekend because he’s also a guide during elk hunting season in Montana. “Those are the only two things I’ve done in my life, hunting and rodeo. Every bit of every piece of money I’ve made is doing one of those two things.” Throckmorton has been at it for more than 30 years. And he’s worked with Litwin quite a bit, including working in Belton together. “I think he’s one of the best walk-and-talk guys,” Throckmorton said.
“He’s very creative, and the crowd identifies with him. I think he puts himself in the everyday, working-guy’s mode, and they identify with him. . . . I hate to see him walk away.” Last season, Litwin worked 20 rodeos, all at the Painted Pony Championship Rodeo in Lake Luzerne, N.Y. He and his family were living in the state while they decided what would be best for Bridger. “It was surreal being in that arena with my wife and son there 20 years after I left it,” said Litwin, who grew up in upstate New York. Litwin is ready to hang up his barrel, though he’s planning on continuing to work in the PRCA as a music director. “I love the PRCA and I love the life rodeo has provided me, but I’m tired,” he said. “I don’t want to be on the road as much, and it takes being on the road a lot to make a living at it. I can’t make a living at it anymore, so I’ve got to do something else. I’ll still do music on the side (as a music director), and I’ll end up with my gold card and be in the PRCA forever. But I think it’s time.”
first bought his PRCA card in 2004. “ … I think the right thing is to step aside, make a little room for these younger guys coming up, concentrate on music and concentrate on a little bit of a transition.” The rodeo in Belton holds a special place in Litwin’s heart. Not only has he worked it nine times, but it’s also the place he met his wife, Alyssa. “Keith Smith hired me to go to Belton for the first time based on (rodeo announcer) Charlie Throckmorton’s recommendation,” Litwin said. “I just stayed, I fit. And Keith said, ‘When it’s time for you to retire, you’ve got to retire here at Belton.’” Litwin and Alyssa have a 3-year-old son, Bridger (named after the mountain range Litwin could see out his window in Bozeman, Mont., where he harvested his first elk). One of the reasons the family moved to Neosho, Mo., is because of Bridger, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. Litwin said Missouri is one of the top states in the country for special education. When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down
Photo couresy Ryan Litwin Litwin took his son, Bridger, to the Belton (Texas) CoC 4th of July Celebration & PRCA Rodeo before Bridger turned 1.
ProRodeo Sports News 6/26/2020
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