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Meet the man behind the face paint: Tucson's new rodeo clown

Meet the man behind the face paint: Tucson's new rodeo clown
Posted at 6:43 PM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 20:43:27-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — JJ Harrison is this year’s Tucson Rodeo Clown.

“I’m a lot like salt: a little bit of me and I make everything better," Harrison said. "Too much of me, you're going to throw it out.”

Harrison’s been entertaining rodeo crowds since 2008. He’s traveled to around 40 states for different rodeos, bringing his wife and daughter along for the ride.

“I’ve worked everything from the national finals rodeo, to Denver’s, Austin’s, big rodeos in the northwest. But this is my first time in Tucson and I’ve got to say I love it.”

The crowds know him for his witty humor and high energy. Despite his funny face, his job is more than just entertaining.

“There is a safety element in my job, especially in the bull riding.”

Harrison calls himself a stand-up comedian on the world’s most dangerous stage.

“The bull rider, when he gets on the bull, there is no stop point the bull doesn’t ever stop to let him get off. So we’re going to distract the bull or I’m going to be in the barrel. We want me to get hit before a bull rider.”

He’s fractured his skull twice, dislocated his shoulder a few times, and got a hip replacement. The work has taken its toll, but Harrison loves the thrill.

“For me, I'm a class clown. So the entertainment piece is just connecting with an audience. It's giving them something to giggle at all the time. There’s always energy coming out of me.”

Harrison plans on staying in Tucson for a while. He’s already signed up to perform at the Tucson Rodeo next year.

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