The Passing of an Icon: Infamous Rodeo Clown Lecile Harris Passes Away at age 83

It’s safe to say, rodeos will never be the same.

Thursday afternoon, it was made public on Lecile Harris’ Facebook page that the infamous daredevil went to Heaven in his sleep at the age of 83.

Harris was born in Lake Cormorant, Mississippi on November 6, 1936. where he lived until he was five-years-old. After turning five, Lecile and his parents moved to Collierville, Tennessee.

Many people didn’t know this, but Lecile Harris, best-known for attempting hilarious and often life-threatening stunts on the dirt of an arena somewhere in this country for over half a century, attend The University of Tennessee at Martin, where he was a part of the Skyhawks football team.

He got his rodeo career started as a bull rider, and then later saw himself perform some fill-in duties as a bullfighter when other bullfighters were unable to attend the show for one reason or another.

When I was a kid, maybe around the age of three or four, my parents took my brother and I to the Southeastern Livestock Exposition Rodeo, which was held just up the road in Montgomery, Alabama at Garrett Coliseum, in fact that rodeo has been around for what will soon be 63 years this coming March 19-21, 2020.

My favorite part of the rodeo was the clowns, I never really was big on clowns, but there was something about Lecile that I loved.

He just seemed so friendly and quite like me in my younger days, he seemed like a daredevil.

One year in particular, I believe somewhere between 2002 and 2004, it was announced that Lecile would be in town for the rodeo.

Now, by this time, he had already made a name for himself, starring in television shows like ‘Hee Haw’ back before I was born, but I didn’t know that at the time.

It was also said that he had a surprise guest coming with him, so I begged my parents to take us, and they did.

We got to the rodeo and after the national anthem was played I screamed across the coliseum “Play Ball!” Because that’s what I had always on TV and at baseball games.

Lecile’s friend’s name was ‘Wild Child’ and boy, was that Child Wild.

He and Lecile took turns during intermission jumping ramps on Wild Child’s dirt bike.

Wild Child jumped over a piano and motorhome successfully, but then came Lecile.

He got on Wild Child’s bike, jumped the ramp, blew up the motorhome and piano, which resulted in him sending Wild Child’s bike into flames.

I felt sorry for Wild Child at this point, but Lecile thought it was hilarious. He preceded to ask Wild Child “Can I do it again?!?” To which Wild Child responded “No, absolutely not!”

If you never got the chance to see Lecile in action, let me describe him to you, he wore a black cowboy hat, red suspenders, a red plaid shirt a dark blue jacket, a blue belt and blue jeans. Nothing he wore matched. His face was painted white around the eyes, red paint on his nose and sad looking white around his mouth, he looked like Emmett Kelly.

On the other hand, Wild Child mainly wore a big yellow cowboy hat, blue on his cheeks, red paint on his nose, a yellow shirt, blue suspenders, and saggy blue jean overalls.

Needless to say, neither one cared what they looked like.

From now on when I hear thunder I will always think “Here goes Lecile attempting his stunts again.”

Lecile, please be careful in heaven, don’t attempt jump any ramps and end up blowing things up.

Rest in Peace, my friend, I’ll see you again one day.

Picture Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.

Picture: Lufkin Daily News.