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Lecile Harris (2020), rodeo clown who appeared on “Hee Haw”

AP Photo / Tony Gutierrez

Harris won the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s “Clown of the Year” award five times

Lecile Harris was a legendary rodeo clown who appeared on TV shows including “Hee Haw,” where he performed for five years. When Harris got into rodeo as a young man, rodeo clowns also fought the bulls that bucked off bullriders. He continued fighting bulls until his 50s, when he became solely a rodeo clown. He performed for decades, with his last performance at the 55th Annual Dixie National Rodeo and Livestock Show in Jackson. Mississippi, just before his death.

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Died: February 12, 2020 (Who else died on February 12?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 83.

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Honors: Harris won the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s “Clown of the Year” award five times. He was a member of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Rodeo Hall of Fame.

Harris on working as a rodeo clown and bullfighter: “You pretty much have to make yourself be a more desirable target than the cowboy laying on the ground… And that’s the reason for the bright colors, that’s the reason for the baggy pants… Most of the cowboys will wear darker colors, something that wasn’t so attractive to the bulls. That, going in there, you’ve got their attention, you make the bull come to you. Then it’s your job to out-maneuver the bull until you can get to safety. That way, the cowboy can leave. So it’s imperative that the bullfighters are there. Bull riders won’t get on without them.” —from an interview with Tour Collierville magazine

What people said about him: “Happy trails to an old rodeo buddy. Lecile Harris was a legend in the rodeo world. More than 65 years in the arena. Heck of a ride! RIP ole friend.” —U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford

“Truly saddened to hear of the passing of rodeo legend Lecile Harris. He brought smiles and joy to so many around him. It was an honor to know him and get to see him one last time at the 2020 Dixie National Rodeo. Elee and I are praying for his loved ones during this difficult time.” —Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves

Full obituary: The Washington Post

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