RAM NCFR Barrelman nominated for PRCA Clown of the Year!
They’re known for having oversized clothes, extravagant face paint, and they’re called barrelmen! The barrelmen are a vital aspect to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). Hailing from Walla Walla, Washington, JJ Harrison works nearly 43 weekends throughout the year, seeing many different states in his travels and working hard to bring smiles to fans from the East Coast to the West Coast, and everywhere in between!
In the 1900s, rodeo committees began to realize there were more jobs to fill than simply rodeo contestants and livestock. During rodeo performances, the live animals would sometimes do funny things that caused slight delays. During these delays, spectators would often become bored and leave early. Committees eventually grew tired of watching patrons skip events and started paying cowboys to entertain the crowd. This role spread quickly throughout the industry, but it wasn’t until the 1930s that barrelmen officially became contract personnel!
In 2007, JJ applied and was approved for his PRCA contract personnel membership, and embarked on his first year of working as a professional rodeo clown. Though we know him as a successful barrelman, his triumphs aren’t confined to the rodeo arena. JJ was an active rodeo athlete throughout his youth and into college as he pursued a master’s degree in education. Upon graduation, he became a middle school teacher and also worked at an alternative high school.
While he enjoyed working with students, he decided he wasn’t a “shirt and tie” kind of guy. Shortly after this realization is when he took the jump to pursue rodeo fulltime! Through the years, he’s made a name for himself as one of the best in the business, being selected as the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo barrelman in Las Vegas, Nevada, and currently, the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee, Florida. To add to his list of successes, JJ is also host to the largest NFR after-party in Las Vegas.
As a way to honor these dedicated cowboys who work year-round, the PRCA started the “Clown of the Year” award. Each year since 1977, barrelmen are nominated for this honor, and cardholders get to vote on each nominee. We are proud that JJ Harrison, our RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo barrelman, is nominated among the highly skilled clowns up for the “2019 Clown of the Year” award.
We are cheering for JJ to win this year’s “Clown of the Year” award for all his work on and off the dirt. He selflessly works hand in hand with the bullfighters as they distract the bull away from the riders during bull riding events, and keeps the performance action-packed during bareback riding, steer wrestling or barrel racing.
Who knew one could make a career out of a little bit of makeup and a handful of jokes. JJ Harrison continues to make strides in the PRCA as a clown, and we’re proud to have him at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo. Head to Osceola County, Florida in April of 2020 to see our RAM NCFR clown work!