May 29

Rodeo Clown JJ Harrison Brings Laughter to Adults and Champions Anti-Bullying to Kids

For the sake of entertaining other people, there is always going to be someone who will reach greater heights just to make his audience burst out with laughter. Usually, we see these types of entertainers at birthday parties, or perhaps, comedy bars.

Amusing Rodeo Clown

As for Omak Stampede, which is located in the Eastside Park of Washington United States, it simply isn’t complete without their rodeo clown, JJ Harrison.

One of his famous gut-shattering performances happened way back in 2010. It was his 8th official rodeo in Sister’s Oregon where he dons an inflatable suit while dancing to hip hop music. He shows off fancy footwork and bounces around the arena which makes his suit appear even more hilarious.

JJ Harrison never imagined being a rodeo clown as his lifetime career. He only did the gimmick when he had the job, and his employers told him he needs to be goofy. He debuted in 2005 as an amateur rodeo in the NRPA (National Recreation and Park Association). He was still a middle school science teacher back then, but in 2008, he gave it up and switched his career to become a full-fledged rodeo clown.

But who really is JJ Harrison? Why did he become a rodeo clown? What made him interested in rodeo shows in the first place?

More About JJ Harrison

In his family, John Harrison is a horse of a different color. Most of his family members have achieved higher education. His mother is a lawyer, his father is a teacher who earned a master’s degree, and his step-father is a superior court judge. That impressive family legacy leaves no space for anyone to be involved in rodeos. But he was raised in a small town in Washington that is big on rodeos. That’s where he developed the love for it while being a high school athlete for football and baseball.

From a viewer’s perspective, we may only describe Harrison’s job as fun and entertaining. But the recreation we enjoy from the bench comes with some hazards that a rodeo man like Harrison faces in the arena. As an experienced rodeo man, he also has his long list of injuries. He got slammed by a rampaging bull, cracked his skull, broke his collarbone and femur. He also received three knee surgeries and hip surgery. All these cause harsh frequent strains to his body but he still manages to put on a show of happiness whenever he is in the arena.

But these injuries weren’t enough. There’s a darker reason standing between him and his passion. Harrison said in an interview, “If I don’t make it to a rodeo, if you are injured or hurt or broke down, it is not like they will say, ‘Oh, well, we will mail the check, like you know we appreciate you.’ No, you just don’t get paid. There is an element of danger in my job, and knock on wood, but you gotta be mindful of that stuff if you are a businessman.”

It’s hard to imagine that once pressure has taken a toll on your body for doing your passion, your passion will one day quit on you, leaving you with broken bones and an empty wallet.

But these risks are not enough to shake Harrison off his game. He said that in their line of work, once a person thinks that being in rodeo will harm them, then their game is already over. Harrison uses the rodeo show as his ticket to travel to several places. He also uses his platform as a rodeo clown and a former teacher to spread awareness to children in different places about bullying. He calls his campaign, Don’t be a Bull-y! Be a Champion!

But even with such deeds and mindset, he is not afraid to voice out that one mustn’t be afraid to step back or to simply walk away if something is just “out-of-bounds” and to wait for the perfect timing to deal it with.

Learning from JJ Harrison, we can observe that one must have an equal amount of passion and reasoning in order to bring out the best in us. In the arena, he may be funny and hilarious while doing bobs with his inflatable suit. Outside the arena, he is a common man with his own slice of stories, sharing values, and doing what he can to be a good example to others.

“If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.”

Benjamin Frankin


JJ Harrison

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