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No Bull Endeavor: Clown of the Year to entertain at Franklin Rodeo

If life had turned out just a little bit differently, John Harrison would be an accountant, sitting behind a desk pushing papers.

But thankfully, he’s not. 

Instead, the Soper, Okla., cowboy entertains rodeo fans across the nation with his trick riding, humor, and walk and talk. Harrison got hooked on rodeo when he was 6 watching the trick riders and specialty acts entertain. He was enthralled. 
Soon after he began taking trick-riding lessons, and his dad taught him to trick rope in the dining room of the house, where they managed to knock down about everything within reach of the rope. 

By the time Harrison was in college, he was working rodeos. After graduating with a degree in agricultural business, he went straight into the rodeo world. He started with roman riding, trick riding, and trick roping, and added comedy to his repertoire. Now, he’s best known for his “walk and talk” banter with the announcer during each rodeo.

In 1999 Harrison became a member of the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association, and last year, he was selected as the PRCA Clown of the Year. 

Harrison is returning to the Franklin Rodeo this weekend bringing his award-winning clown talent to entertain and "pretty much have a lot of fun."

As the rodeo clown, Harrison has several jobs including keeping the crowd entertained and keeping the cowboys safe.
“In between events, I entertain the crowd with off-the cuff banter with the announcer, Roger Moody – we always have fun,” he said in a phone interview. “Most of the time I don't even know what I’m going to do. It makes it more fun for the crowd, me and the announcer so we don't get burned out and no rodeo is the same. A lot of stuff I say, I’ll be hearing for the first time.”

The most dangerous part of his job is distracting the bull when the cowboy is thrown or if he makes it the full eight seconds, until the pick up men can get to him, which is one reason Harrison says rodeo is the “toughest show on dirt.”

Harrison grew up in the shadow of a legend, his granddad world champion bull rider Freckles Brown. 

However, he never as a kid, “I knew him more as granddad and not as a famous rodeo figure,” Harrison said. “I learned more about him through rodeoing, and being around (announcers) Hadley Barrett and Clem McSpadden. Those guys would sit down and tell you stories.”

As his granddad, Freckles Brown would often take John to the livestock sale barn, and John bought his first cow with him. When Freckles stepped away to get a cup of coffee, four-year-old John waved the bidding stick. 

“I bought two cows,” John said. His granddad “just laughed and hauled them back to the sale barn the next week.”

The Franklin Rodeo will take place May 16-18 at the Williamson County AgExpo Center. Tickets are $17, $10 for children ages 3-12 and kids 2 and under are free. They can be purchased online at 

Posted on: 5/16/2013


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