He's not drunk or stoned, even if one might wonder. He says he's not crazy, and free of emotional problems. Those explanations of why you might see a six-foot man with a beard decked out in a cow suit dancing on a street corner just do not work. What The Kansas Cowman wants, he says, is to put a smile on people's faces.
“This is really all from God,” he says. “My sense of humor is my gift. Just being myself and not really caring what people think about me.”
Jacob Easley lives in Newton, and at times, he lives to make other people smile. That, he says, is why he clowns around while wearing a cow costume.
“This is just to make people smile and laugh, to give them better days, to send some positive vibes to people,” Easley said. “There is a lot of negative in this world. … I turn into a different person when I am wearing it. I get more fun, dance more and laugh as people walk by.”
His now two-year career as The Kansas Cowman, which includes appearances at the Kansas State Fair and a Facebook fan page, started out as a way to stay warm.
“I started out wearing a monkey mask just to keep warm,” Easley told the Kansan. “I found the cow suit, and I thought, 'that would be hilarious if I wore the cow suit with the monkey mask.'”
His persona was born.
He hasn't been out very much this summer, as life in a cow suit is pretty hot. In just a few seconds of wearing the suit on a warm morning, Easley breaks a sweat. However, that sweat is worth it.
“Whenever I feel gloomy, or depressed, I can put on the cow suit. I have a better day, and everyone else does too,” Easley said.
Early on in his career as The Kansas Cowman, Easley drew attention he did not want. Of course, being dressed in a cow suit wearing a monkey mask will draw that kind of attention when you saunter up to a bench and plop down — especially if that bench is right in front of a bank.
Dressing strangely and dancing on a sidewalk is not against the law, but there are places that it can draw suspicion and extra attention.
“Cops would stop me,” Easley said. “It is a learning curve. … I have found out my places that I can go and not be in trouble. I found safe places around town I can hang out, or I walk the whole time and not stop.”
Easley has found a following online — though not all of those followers love what he does.
“A lot of people will love you, and a lot of people will hate you. You can't win both sides,” Easley said.
However, it is those trips to the state fair when people ask to take pictures with him — and the moments shared with those who love what he is doing — that make him smile the most.
“I was outside the train station one day, and this little girl got out of her car and she gave me a big old hug. She was so excited,” Easley said. “She said 'I love you so much, that you are doing this.' She asked for my autograph. … I used to this for myself, but after doing this for so long, I am humble about it. It is not about me.”
Easley grew up in Stafford, moving to Newton in 2010 to help his father after his grandfather passed away. He now volunteers with New Jerusalem Mission