File photo by Dana Sphar
“Scottie Too Hottie” Wagner playing with his sidekick, “Goofin’ Lucien,” during the 2013 Memorial Day Rodeo.

By Matt Taylor

Above all else, Methow Valley Rodeo Clown Scott Wagner, “Scottie Too Hottie,” will be remembered for his enthusiasm.

Every Memorial Day and Labor Day for the past six years, Scott Wagner traveled from his home north of Seattle to the Methow Valley, where he would apply makeup and dress in a clown costume to entertain the rodeo crowds.

“He loved it,” said his wife, Leslie Wagner.

Born in Grand Prairie, Texas, Scott was no stranger to the rodeo scene. However, his love for rodeo flourished after he moved to Washington. The Methow Valley Rodeo was where he first tried clowning, remembered Christopher Wright, a rodeo volunteer and friend of Scott’s. It started with a dare, Wright said, and “Scott being Scott said, ‘I’ll do it!’”

“He was a clown, a husband and a dad,” said Wright. “He was everything any man would want to be.”

“Everybody who went to the rodeo knew who Scottie was,” said Wright. His job as clown, the Methow Valley Rodeo’s first, was primarily to entertain the spectators.

He would show up about an hour before the rodeo began to “get the crowd pumped up,” said Wagner. While wandering the stands, Scott would often ask spectators and young admirers to sign his hat, rather than have them ask him for his autograph, she added.

And when the rodeo began, Scott would sit in a barrel in the middle of the arena. If the bull riders ever found themselves in trouble, Scott would serve both as a distraction to the bulls and a safe zone for riders. “He would play with the bulls, distracting them,” said Wagner. That distraction provided valuable protection for the rodeo participants.

At one rodeo a few years ago, a young Winthrop boy named Lucien Paz approached Scott, grabbed his shirt, and said, “I want to be a rodeo clown just like you!” Scott told him to show up the next year in makeup and costume, and then forgot about the encounter. The following year, Lucien showed up just as Scott had instructed, and “Goofin’ Lucien” was created.

In every rodeo since, Scott served as a mentor for Lucien, allowing the boy to follow in his footsteps. Lucien, now 10 years old, is “taking the reigns of the Methow Valley Rodeo,” said Wright. “He has a long career ahead of him.”

Scott worked rodeos across the state, from Darrington to Wiley City. However, Scott and his family loved the Methow Valley for its beauty and people. “The people embraced us as family,” said Wagner. “We just fell in love with it.”

Outside of rodeo, Scott worked in insurance investigation as his company’s national auto theft expert. Always the entertainer, he would often amuse his family by showing them how to break into cars and would occasionally give interviews to local news outlets about the new trends in auto theft. “He loved being on TV,” said Wagner.

Scott was diagnosed with lymphoma at the end of January. He died July 23 after developing a secondary infection. He was 50 years old.