By Dominique Jando
Cowboys come from America. Vince comes from England. But it was an authentic Wild West star, Tex McLeod, who first put a lasso into Vince’s hand. And it was Vince’s father, an inventor, who taught him how to use it: At twelve, while his friends were delivering newspapers, Vince was already performing! At sixteen, Vince Bruce’s name was well known in circuses throughout France and England. His long and slender silhouette eventually led him to incarnate the French cartoon hero, Lucky Luke, in Jean Richard’s western-themed amusement park, La Vallée des Peaux-Rouges. Then, at nineteen, Vince ran away from the circus and hit the international nightclub and variety circuit.
He presented his comedy trickAny specific exercise in a circus act.-roping act all over the world, From Tokyo to Los Angeles, via Tel Aviv and South America. Finally, his years of performing and incessant practicing paid off: In 1983, Vince won the International Trick and Fancy Roper Association Championships in Fort Worth, Texas. Then, the British cowboy settled at last in the United States. In 1989-1990, he was featured in the Big Apple Circus production of Grandma Goes West. Then, in 1991, he made his Broadway debut in the Tony Award-winning hit musical, The Will Rogers Follies, where he created the role of "The Roper," portraying Will Rogers on the silver screen in Hollywood. The show ran for two and a half years.
While in New York, Vince met his wife, Annie Dubats, a successful singer. Annie occasionally participated in Vince’s act, singing on horseback a few of her own songs, and some country classics. Vince Bruce continued to work in nightclubs, rodeos, and variety shows all over the world, appeared on television, and performed in many special events. One of his last performances took place in April 2011 at Carnegie Hall, in New York City, with the singer James Taylor, before his untimely death from cancer on September 24, 2011.
- Video: Vince Bruce, Trick Roping Act, in the Big Apple Circus production of Grandma Goes West (1989)