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John Harrison bringing his act to 91st Molalla Buckeroo


The PRCA barrelman joined the circuit in 1999 as a trick rider, transitioned to comedy 11 years ago, and was named the PRCA Comedy Act of the Year in 2012.

by: PHOTO COURTESY OF JOHN HARRISON - PRCA barrelman John Harrison, the pro circuit's 2012 Clown Act of the Year, is scheduled to appear at the 91st Molalla Buckeroo Rodeo.John Harrison joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in 1999, but has never been to the Molalla Buckeroo.

That’s about to change.

Harrison, the 35-year-old barrelman/clown from Soper, Okla., is among the featured attractions scheduled to appear at the 91st Molalla Buckeroo PRCA Rodeo on July 2-5.

There are five performances on the docket, including two shows on Independence Day.

The Pioneer caught up with Harrison by phone earlier this month while he was traveling to a rodeo in Garden City, Kan., with his wife Carla and their three children — 6-year-old daughter Addison, 4-year-old son Cazwell, and 1-year-old daughter Billie.

“We’re going to bring, hopefully, a little element of surprise to Molalla — stuff that they wouldn’t expect out of your basic rodeo clown,” Harrison said. “We’ve got horses that we haul with us that we use in some acts, and then just a lot of off-the-cuff, impromptu stuff.

“That’s how I like to roll. I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be fun.”

Harrison is the grandson of former world champion bull rider Freckles Brown, so he grew up in a rodeo family. He broke into the PRCA as a trick rider and trick roper, and then transitioned into doing comedy full-time in 2003.

by: PHOTO COURTESY OF JOHN HARRISON - PRCA barrelman John Harrison spent last Fourth of July working the rodeo in Mandan, N.D.He was the barrelman at the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo -- a career first following three previous NFR appearances as an opening act -- and he has been nominated for the PRCA Comedy Act of the Year every year since 2004, winning the title in 2012.

The Fourth of July holiday is one of the busiest weekends on the rodeo calendar, creating a high demand for Harrison’s services.

“You’re always crazy busy that weekend,” said Harrison, who spent last Independence Day performing in Mandan, N.D. “I stay so busy in the Midwest, it’s hard to go out to the West Coast unless you have a run of three or four rodeos together.

“I’m in Prinveville the week before Molalla, and then I go down to central California for Salinas.”

Harrison, who is scheduled to appear at rodeos in Hermiston and Canby in August, said his career as a comedy act could continue into his 60s. As for trick riding, he’s less certain.

“If I can get another 15 years out of my body, I’ll be good,” Harrison said. “It’s pretty hard on you. It’s hard on your knees. I’ve had knee surgery on both knees and shoulder surgery and haven’t been too far off from needing a hip, so it’s pretty hard on a fellah.”

The last time Harrison suffered a serious injury was when he blew out his right knee at a rodeo in Shreveport, LA., in the fall of 2012.

So, what happened?

“I’d like to tell you it was from years of trick riding,” he said. “But what happened was I did a satire of rhythmic gymnastics and I was running around the arena in a one-piece spandex outfit and came down wrong and my knee went.

“It was probably the safest act that I do -- the one that you least think you can get hurt performing.”

So, that stunt is no longer a part of the act, right?

“No, we do it every once in awhile,” Harrison said. “We might do it in Molalla. We don’t know for sure. I’ve got a bunch of different stuff that I bring.

“I feel good right now. Hopefully when I get to Molalla, I’ll feel good. I don’t plan on getting hurt … again … ever.”

Jim Beseda / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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