Naked Cowboy

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Naked Cowboy
Naked Cowboy performing in Times Square in 2006
BornRobert John Burck
(1970-12-23) December 23, 1970 (age 42)
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
OccupationActor, singer, songwriter, writer, "politician"
Years active1998–present
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Naked Cowboy
Naked Cowboy performing in Times Square in 2006
BornRobert John Burck
(1970-12-23) December 23, 1970 (age 42)
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
OccupationActor, singer, songwriter, writer, "politician"
Years active1998–present

Robert John Burck (born December 23, 1970), better known as the Naked Cowboy, is an American street performer whose pitch is on New York City's Times Square.[1][2] He wears only cowboy boots, a hat, and briefs, with a guitar strategically placed to give the illusion of nudity.

On October 6, 2010, Burck formally announced that he is running for President of the United States in the 2012 U.S. election as a candidate representing the U.S. Tea Party movement.[3][4][5]


Burck was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He attended Our Lady of the Rosary elementary school in Greenhills, Ohio, and later earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Cincinnati. He began busking in December 1997 and first appeared on Venice Beach, Los Angeles. The public immediately gave him much more money after a friend suggested to him that he dress only in his underwear in order to generate higher earnings.

He is currently most famous as a fixture of New York City's Times Square where tour guides on passing buses point him out. Burck is also a regular in the streets of the French Quarter during the New Orleans Mardi Gras season. "I had a little old lady in New Orleans Mardi Gras grab my balls and said, 'Just want to see what you got there, Buster!' Only lady that's ever done it. She was about 105. Awesome." He also makes appearances in his hometown of Cincinnati, at the Memorial Day weekend Taste of Cincinnati festival and the Riverfest Labor Day Festival. He has also made an appearance in Austin, Texas, during the South by Southwest Music Conference, He has also made an appearance in Nashville, Tennessee in June, 2008 on Broadway for the CMA Music Festival and he also made an appearance on January 25, 2009 he performed at a Leinster Rugby game in Donnybrook, Dublin, Ireland, singing his theme song "I'm the Naked Cowboy" before 18,000 spectators.[6]

In a 2005 online interview, Burck cited Nancy Reagan and Garth Brooks as two of his leading inspirations. Additionally, on December 10, 2008 he was officially registered as a marriage officiant by the City of New York.[7]

Franchises and social media market visibility[edit]

Naked Cowboy began allowing buskers to become authorized Naked Cowboys and Naked Cowgirls by entering in to a Naked Cowboy Enterprises Franchise Agreement. Franchises cost $500/month and can be obtained through Naked Cowboy Enterprises, LLC.[8]

With Naked Cowboy & Naked Cowgirl franchisees, there are as many as five Naked Cowboys and five Naked Cowgirls in the heaviest populated tourist area in the world. Although Times Square is only 0.1% of NYC's total land size, it generates 11% of the city's economic output and 10% of the city's jobs. Economic growth in Times Square is up 22% since 2007 outpacing city growth of 9% during the same period. Times Square is the #1 tourist attraction in the US and Mayor Bloomberg attests this growth to increased tourism and now considers Naked Cowboy his #1 tourist attraction in NYC.[9]

According to a report from HR&A Advisers on Economic Impact of Times Square,[10] 350,000 people will move through Times Square each day with many getting a glimpse of a Naked Cowboy or Naked Cowgirl and approximately 1-2 % actually taking a picture with one. Assuming each of these people put their picture of Naked Cowboy on their social network and have 100 friends in their network, that results in as many as 700,000 reiterated images in social media of Naked Cowboy and Naked Cowgirl each day.Over a year's period of time the numbers for social media market visibility range in at 255,500,000 reiterations of Naked Cowboy and Naked Cowgirl images.[11]

Media appearances[edit]

Naked Cowboy on Times Square.

As the Naked Cowboy's popularity grew, Burck began to make appearances in television, music videos, and other popular media. He auditioned for American Idol during its first season, but he was not admitted to the next round. He also tried out for Australian Idol and Star Search, but with the same results. In 2000, he was also on the short-lived show Moral Court, where conservative talk show host Larry Elder ruled that, in his opinion, Burck's Naked Cowboy persona was not immoral and not a danger to public safety. Burck replied, "Actually, I think I am an inspiration to public safety." On January 24, 2009, Burck also appeared on the Tubridy Tonight show on Ireland's RTÉ television network, performing his theme song accompanied by the Camembert Quartet.

"I've got like six books that I've written to date." His newest book is titled Determination- The Legend of the Naked Cowboy.

Burck has been featured in numerous advertising campaigns. As of 2006, he is part of USA Network's "Characters Welcome" campaign, and he also had a cameo appearance in a Chevrolet commercial that aired during Super Bowl XLI, as well as a Guinness advertisement that aired only in the United Kingdom and Ireland. On August 28, 2008, Burke entered into an endorsement/licensing agreement with Divinely Naked LLC to endorse and create Naked Cowboy Nutritional Products. He has provided license to Blue Island Shellfish Farms to use the name and brand for Naked Cowboy Oysters, which are now the number one selling oysters in Manhattan.

Burck has made appearances in several music videos, including Cake's "Short Skirt/Long Jacket", Tyler Hilton's "When It Comes", and Nickelback's "Rockstar". In 2007, Burck released an album of his own, signing to 4Sight Music Productions and recording the pop-rock album "Year of the Cowboy" produced by Lee Evans and Gaetano "Dante" Lattanzi at JAMBOX Recording Studios in New York City. The album was featured on MTV News.[12]

He has been featured in a number of documentaries. He is profiled in the documentary One Man Brand, produced by Mediastorm, and is also included in the second part of the three-part Richard Dawkins documentary, The Genius of Charles Darwin, first shown on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom in August 2008.[13] He also appeared briefly in the PBS documentary Origins to give his opinion on the possibility of extraterrestrial life. And also appeared in the short documentary about the Black Naked Cowboy, directed by Alexandre Degardin.

Burck appeared in 2012 in an episode of the History Channel television series Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy, in which Larry the Cable Guy follows him dressed as a Naked Cowboy to learn about Naked Cowboy Franchises, as well as Burke's life and to perform with him.


On July 20, 2009, it was announced that Burck would challenge Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the 2009 election for Mayor of New York City.[14] At his announcement, Burck stated, "No one knows how to do more with less than yours truly, and that's the kind of thinking I plan on sharing with my fellow New Yorkers when you elect me."[15]

On September 5, 2009, Burck withdrew from the race.

On September 29, 2010, Burck announced his intentions to challenge President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election. At his announcement, Burck stated that he has a "very conservative policy" and that he had an "unapologetic commitment to our borders, our language and our culture," borrowing a well-known catchphrase of radio host Michael Savage. Burck changed his appearance by wearing a dress suit and had his hair cut.[16][17][18]

On October 6, 2010, Burck officially declared his presidential candidacy at a press conference in Times Square.[3][4][5] He stated that he was neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but rather "an American" and that he intends to lead the U.S. Tea Party movement into the Oval Office.[19]


Cindy Fox, licensed Naked Cowgirl

Burck owns the trademark to his Naked Cowboy character and operates it as a franchise. Franchisees must undergo a screening process, and are required to pay Naked Cowboy Enterprises $500 per month or $5,000 per year, which authorizes a person to operate as a "Naked Cowboy" or "Naked Cowgirl".[20] There are a number of franchisees,[21] with the third and fourth recruits Burck's fellow Secaucus, New Jersey residents Robert Coffman and Cindy Fox.[22]

Licensing "Naked Cowboy" for products[edit]

In addition to licensing the use of his image and name for publications and media, Burck has provided license to use Naked Cowboy for a multitude of products including the very popular Naked Cowboy Oyster. Chris Quartuccio of Blue Island Oyster Company negotiated an endorsement and licensing deal with Naked Cowboy Enterprises, LLC to sell the oysters in 2010 and they have since become very popular on menus not only in Manhattan, but also Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Houston, Miami, Cleveland and more.[23]

Lawsuit against Mars Inc[edit]

Mars Incorporated created a short animation of the Blue M&M's character playing a guitar while dressed in a white cowboy hat, cowboy boots and underpants on the electronic animation display that hangs outside the M&M'S store at Times Square. Burck, who owns registered trademarks to the Naked Cowboy name and likeness, filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Mars Incorporated on February 15, 2008.[24]

Burck alleged that the ads infringe on his trademark by "using his likeness, persona, and image for commercial purposes without his written permission and by falsely suggesting that he endorses M&M's candy."[25] The Cowboy’s lawsuit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, requests an injunction stopping Mars from using the Naked Cowboy's likeness to advertise M&M’s products, up to $100 million in punitive damages, and attorney's fees.[26] On June 23, 2008, the court issued a decision that dismissed a portion of the suit relying on New York law but rejected a motion by the defendants to dismiss the trademark claims. In a filing dated November 7, 2008, both Mars Incorporated and Burck agreed and stipulated that the action be dismissed with prejudice, with each party bearing its own costs and attorney's fees. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.[27]


Burck filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against CBS in February 2011, saying the network's use of a 'Naked Cowboy'-like figure in an ad for a television show demeaned his image with its "drunk and sexually charged" portrayal.[28]

Naked Cowgirl[edit]

Former stripper Sandy Kane performed as the "Naked Cowgirl", wearing a bikini and cowboy hat, and was sent a cease and desist letter for her unauthorized use of Burck's trademarked name.[20] Burck dropped the lawsuit in March 2011 and provided authorization for her to use the Naked Cowgirl Trademark so long as she adds her stage name "Sandy Kane" immediately before or after the moniker. Burck disapproved of Kane's foul-mouthed, raunchy act, including "obscene gestures" directed at tourists.[29] He has licensed other "Naked Cowgirls" to use the trademark.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Naked Cowboy runs for NYC mayor _ in his underwear | World news". The Guardian. 2009-07-22. Retrieved 2011-11-22. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ a b (October 6, 2010) "NYC's Naked Cowboy suits up for presidential run", Associated Press. Retrieved on October 6, 2010.
  4. ^ a b Bayer, Casey (October 6, 2010) "Naked Cowboy for president: Top celebrities (past and present) who aimed for the White House", Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  5. ^ a b (October 6, 2010) ;"Naked Cowboy briefs NYers on his presidential bid", The Washington Post. Retrieved on October 6, 2010.
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ Official NYC Certificate.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Posted 1/10/07 (2007-01-10). "''Naked Cowboy: Behind The Bulge''". Retrieved 2011-11-22. 
  13. ^ The Genius of Charles Darwin, Radio Times entry for Monday 11 August, 8:00pm–9:00pm Channel 4
  14. ^ ProfileName (2009-07-22). "Naked Cowboy Runs for Mayor". Babelgum. Retrieved 2011-11-22. 
  15. ^ "Naked Cowboy for NYC mayor: briefs or Bloomberg?". Reuters. 2009-07-20. Archived from the original on 2012-01-16. Retrieved 2012-01-16. 
  16. ^ "Naked Cowboy on the Run ... for U.S. President", September 30, 2010.
  17. ^ "'Naked Cowboy' to run for US president", October 4, 2010. Associated Press.
  18. ^ "A naked cowboy president in 2012?", Washington Post
  19. ^ "'Naked Cowboy' to run for U.S. presidency" October 6, 2010. Toronto Sun
  20. ^ a b Phillips, Tom (2010-06-22). "Naked Cowboy takes legal action against Naked Cowgirl". Retrieved 2011-11-22. 
  21. ^ Daley, Jason (2010-09-20). "The Unlikeliest Franchisee". Retrieved 2011-11-22. 
  22. ^ Now presenting... Mr. and Mrs. Naked Cowboy
  23. ^ 'Naked Cowboy Oysters' on the Menu at Manhattan's Top Restaurants
  24. ^ "The Naked Cowboy Sues the Naked M&M" by Slater, Dan, The Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2008
  25. ^ Slater, Dan (2008-02-15). "The Wall Street Journal Law Blog, "Cowboy's Lawsuit Drives M&M Out of Dodge", February 15, 2008". Retrieved 2011-11-22. 
  26. ^ "Middleton, Ekin, "'Naked Cowboy' can sue makers of M&Ms"". 2008-06-24. Retrieved 2011-11-22. 
  27. ^ "Naked Cowboy, Mars Inc. End M&M Ad Dispute"[dead link]
  28. ^ Martinez, Jose (2011-02-14). "Naked Cowboy getting dressed for court: Files lawsuit against CBS for 'Bold and the Beautiful' promo - New York Daily News". Retrieved 2011-11-22. 
  29. ^ Naked Cowboy drops suit against female rival by Rebecca Rosenberg and Bruce Golding, March 10, 2011

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