The Naked Truth With The Naked Cowboy

September 15, 2017 by Michael Cordeiro


Sometimes the craziest ideas can make us the most money. If I told you that you could become a millionaire by standing in Times Square wearing a speedo, cowboy hat, boots and strumming a guitar; would you believe me? Robert Burck did just that 18 years ago. He took one crazy idea and turned it into a worldwide company with several different corporate divisions.

Robert had humble beginnings in Cincinnati Ohio. He attended Parochial school and earned a college degree in political science. Robert moved to the west coast for a few years then found himself in The Big Apple. He was working an unfulfilling day job and got the idea to start performing in Times Square. Robert left his day job not too long after earning $10,000 in one month as The Naked Cowboy. He knew he was onto something big.

I caught up with Robert in Times Square recently and asked him how he turned this crazy idea into a big company.
MikeC: Robert, what was the turning point for you to do this full time and leave the 9 to 5 world behind?
Robert: When I realized I could make more money out here having fun and meeting people than being stuck in a building.
MikeC: When did the Naked Cowboy really start for you?
Robert: Well, I was born naked 46 years ago. It was just a matter of time.
MikeC: Funny (laughing). Seriously though, why “The Naked Cowboy” persona?
Robert: When I first started performing in Times Square I wasn’t really making any tips. It was just more fun than anything. I noticed though that there was a dozen different super heroes, Disney characters and other performers. Some good, some really bad. All those other performers were using characters that were already trademarked or owned by someone. I wanted to create a unique character all my own.
MikeC: When did you realize that you had to Trademark The Naked Cowboy?
Robert: Real quick. Not long after I started getting popular I noticed copy cats and even big companies using my likeness or a parody of me. I had to nip that fast.
(Note: There is a huge M&M store in Times Square that has a massive jumbotron playing videos of the M&M guys 24/7. In 2007 a video started playing of an M&M guy similar to The Naked Cowboy. Robert sued them for infringement and the case was settled in 2008)
MikeC: I do see other Naked Cowboys and a Naked Cowgirl. Are they licensed by you?
Robert: Yes. I have my company set up to franchise the name, but I own the rights.
MikeC: Do you have standards and training or rules for the franchisees?

Robert: Yes. They have to have the right look and style and be good people.

MikeC: You’ve taken this idea and grown it into a worldwide company. What other areas have you expanded into?

Robert: I have almost a dozen brands I work with now from oysters to wines, clothing, music, haircare products…. I’m constantly looking for endorsement deals.

MikeC: How do you manage all that?
Robert: I have a great team and business manager. They run all the operations for me.
MikeC: You also do wedding ceremonies?
Robert: I’m an ordained minister here in New York.

MikeC: How did you come up with the idea for weddings?

Robert: To me it’s no different than people who go to Vegas to get married by Elvis. On the East Coast they can get married by The Naked Cowboy right here in Times Square! ( He yells

“Yee haw & starts playing his guitar)

MikeC: Why are you still out here in Times Square? Especially in winter?

Robert: Because I am the face of my brand. If I stop, it all stops.

MikeC: Great point. How do you keep yourself growing and learning? Business and technology are always changing.
Robert: I read a real lot and I workout several days a week.
MikeC: What authors and books do you read?
Robert: Recently some books by Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra and Zig Ziglar. I try and read at least one book a week.
MikeC: Do you get a lot of negative feedback or ridicule? I mean do people ever say “oh, get a real job”?
Robert: Yeah, but I don’t let it bother me. If you have a dream you have to get up everyday and live it. Never stop doing it.
MikeC: Great mindset. Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs?
Robert: Yeah, don’t be a p*ssy! Do whatever you believe you can do and do it the best you can every day.
MikeC: Awesome.

During the interview we had to stop several times so giggling ladies and a few goofy guys (like me) could take their pictures with Robert. He really is quite a phenomenon in New York. He took this one crazy idea and let it change his life. Robert has been in movies, rock videos, ran for Mayor of NYC and President in 2012. He has travelled the world and performed his country music in huge stadiums.

We can do the same. Learn to take chances. We can take one crazy idea and turn into something amazing that let’s us live the life we’ve always dreamed of. Remember that each “No” gets us closer to the next big “Yes” in our lives. As business owners and entrepreneurs we have to keep moving and growing. Surround ourselves with like minded people and try new things.
Live naked my friends!





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Michael Cordeiro Michael Cordeiro (58 Posts)

Mike Cordeiro is the owner of M.C. Entertainment. A small RI multi-op. Mike got his start in the entertainment field while stationed in Frankfurt Germany in 1990. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Entertainment & Event Management from Johnson & Wales University and has appeared on TLC’s Four Weddings, hosted an episode of Toddler’s & Tiaras, and does background acting for movies.

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