By Amy Kent
Herald Staff Writer
Michael Shockey is not the average teenager. Sure, he attends high school like every 17-year-old should, but life in his shoes is much different than others.
To his friends he is Michael; to the city of Clinton, he is better known as Shocko the Clown.
What started as a fun hobby at the age of 15 has now become a unique opportunity and future career for the young clown.
“I taught myself to juggle at 15. My cousin had a benefit and they asked me to come entertain some of the kids so that’s really where I got my start,” Shockey said. “After that I started doing more benefits and parades, and things just kind of took off.”
During his first year as a clown, Shocko saw it as a way to show off to friends but quickly realized that his fun and games could potentially become a career.
“I started to see it as more of a business and realized I would love to do this for a living,” Shockey said.
Since then he has made appearances at a number of parades, benefits, festivals and community events.
“Parades are definitely my favorite because I get to hear the response all at once; that’s where I feel the most loved,” Shockey said. “That’s where I realize that all this hard work has paid off.”
The future for Shocko the Clown is unknown at this point, but support from family and friends keeps his hopes alive as he navigates the difficulties of being a high school senior.
“My whole family is really supportive. My dad is always telling his friends about me and my mom helps make my costumes,” Shockey said. “I’m also friends with people who do a lot for the community so that helps get my name out there, too.”
If things go his way, Shocko’s future would include a spot in the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey’s Circus, and with the multitude of his talents, that may not be such a far-fetched idea.
His abilities include juggling, unicycle ridding, making balloon animals, doing magic tricks, telling jokes and even fire breathing.
“It never occurred to me as a kid that I would become a clown. Now, I don’t see myself ever doing anything else this well,” Shockey said. “I would love to move to the East Coast and do this as a career but if not, I’ll just do it on the side.”