Lecile the famous rodeo clown will be in Yazoo City Sunday.
Lecile will be at Good Hope General Merchandise Sunday from 1-5 p.m. for a book signing with Rex Jones, who wrote, Lecile, This Ain't My First Rodeo.
The book tells the story of Lecile Harris, a rodeo clown and bullfighter who has entertained millions of fans and saved countless bull riders over the last sixty years. Lecile is a four-time PRCA Clown of the Year winner and 2007 inductee of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. Over the course of his personal life and career, he has played college football, been a professional musician at Sun Studios, advised Elvis on horses, danced with ornery bulls, been a featured performer on Hee Haw, developed dozens of comedy acts, and been in untold numbers of fights. He lives in Collierville, Tennessee with his wife, Ethel, and still performs at over fifty rodeos annually.
As a rodeo clown, Lecile Harris seems to have been blessed with all the essential parts. His walk, talk and actions seem to effuse comedy. He is tall, thin, gangly and awkward looking, yet athletic even for his age. Enormously creative and spontaneous, his arena character and antics combine a blend of magic, slapstick, and stand-up comedy in a curious way that leaves his audiences wanting more. Lecile Harris is one of those people that command attention whether he is entering the arena in costume or just entering a room. Four times named Pro-Rodeo's "Clown of the Year", Lecile is well at home in the rodeo arena. Considered by his peers, rodeo producers, cowboys and fans alike as the very best in the business, he is in big demand working over 150 performances a year including many of the biggest rodeos in the world.
But Lecile wasn't always a rodeo funnyman. Like many rodeo clowns, he got his start at a rodeo when the bullfighter failed to show and he had entered in the bullriding. Lecile stepped in to fill the void, but that's where any similarity to other rodeo clowns seems to start and end. During these early years, Lecile was a talented and innovative bullfighter. He developed moves, methods and the business of studying a fighting bull's habits when the event/sport was still in its infancy. Some of his wrecks and antics are now legendary. Today, though the years have slowed him down, his experiences are put to good use working with and advising the new generation of bullfighters. In thirty-five years of fighting bulls, Lecile has contributed much to taking the event from thrill show to the skillful art form it is today.
Though Lecile's primary job in those days as a bullfighter clown, was to protect the cowboy and thrill the crowd, his natural tendency for comedy began developing more and more. Today his catalog of acts, skits and characters are legendary, some dating back more than forty years, but still timeless today.
Rodeo wasn't Lecile's only arena to showcase his talents. Always looking for new challenges, he has often appeared in more glorious pursuits. In the 1950's and '60's, he was a session drummer at the now famous Memphis Sun Studio and Hi Studio, playing on many hits of the era.
He landed a regular role in the early years of the TV series, "Hee Haw" remaining there for over five years. He also had parts in the movies, "Walking Tall, Final Chapter", "The Last Days of Frank and Jesse James", "W.W. and the Dixie Dance Kings", the TV series, "Elvis",as well as other movies and television shows.
Today, Lecile is at the pinnacle of his career. His comedy mannerisms, acts and jokes are copied by clowns and showmen everywhere in the business. Rightfully so, comedy has become his trademark to such a degree that he was recognized as the best in the business by being named PRCA CLOWN OF THE YEAR in 1992, 1994, 1995 and 1996. Rodeo has been good to Lecile Harris. He will tell you much of what he has, he owes to rodeo and his wife Ethel.
But he has given much back too. Since 1955, his bullfighting and comedic ability have saved many a cowboy and brought smiles and laughter to literally millions of people.