"Slim" Garner surfed for the first time this weekend ...
(Wait for it.)
... at the put on by the county's Deputy Sheriff's Association.
Surfing behind a mini Volkswagen van—red, with blue peace signs made from painter's tape—is Slim's latest act and one he designed and debuted specifically for the Santa Cruz
The 38-year-old rodeo cowboy never surfed before. He figured it's a lot like wakeboarding—and going to hurt if you fall off with no water to splash down on. His short board, picked up when he rolled into town last week, came waxed, though Slim wasn't sure that would help much on the packed dirt in the rodeo arena.
Of course, surfing has zilch to do with rodeo-ing.
"I thought 'well, hell, this is a surfing town and the peace movement started up here,'" Slim said.
The rodeo clown's job out in the arena is to entertain the crowd while keeping the cowboys safe.
"My job is truly entertainment until it comes to the bull riding, then I work the barrel," Slim said, explaining that the barrel is the "island of safety" for bull riders who need it.
Slim, who's from Fredonia, Kan., splits his time between his hometown and Wickenburg, Ariz. while working 30 rodeos a year. Normally, his rodeo acts would include fishing in the middle of the arena, "Bath on the Go" where he pulls an outhouse around and an airplane act, but all of his props burned up last month. His trailer caught fire while driving down the highway.
Slim managed to save his grill—so he can make BBQ chicken in the evenings after the rodeo—and is working on building up a new repertoire of arena acts. The surfing rodeo clown may get into the regular mix if he can get his own VW van. The red one is borrowed.
"If it were mine, it'd have flowers on it," Slim said.
The pro rodeo, a charity event for area youth organizations, continues Sunday at the outside of Watsonville. Gates open at 8 a.m. and rodeo events start at 1 p.m.