Ralph Clayburn Fulkerson was born in Midlothian Texas on July 31, 1904. He grew up as one of nine children living near the stockyards in Fort Worth. During his rambunctious childhood, Jasbo seemed to live for the Ft. Worth Rodeo, one of the biggest in the country. At age 20, he signed on as a stock handler for the stock contractor for the show. Soon, with encouragement from his boyhood friend, Dick Griffith, he became a bull rider on the professional rodeo circuit.
In 1926 Jasbo Fulkerson was the Fort Worth Texas Stock Show Champion bull rider. He had achieved status as one of the best bull riders of his times, but his real fame in rodeo came when he decided to become a bull-fighter clown. His daring antics in the arena were the delight of rodeo fans across the country. In 1927, he acquired his famous mule Eko and developed a natural ability to make people laugh. Having saved the animal from destruction after an infection. He trained him to perform many tricks and Eko became a rodeo fixture just as much as Jasbo and was with him through his last show in 1948.
Jasbo combined skill, athletic ability and comedic timing to entertain crowds at rodeos all across the country. He performed every year from 1927 through 1948 at the prestigious Madison Square Garden Rodeo. He was the first barrel man, having invented the device in the late 1920’s to provide a more accessible sanctuary from the beasts. Thus he introduced the invention that has thrilled rodeo audiences ever since.
His untimely death in 1949 marked the end of one of the greatest rodeo clowns of all time.