Going Hollywood

One of the top entertainers in professional rodeo has been signed as the clown and barrel man for the 70th Gerry Fire Department’s PRCA rodeo, which is scheduled for five performances from July 30 through August 2.

Clifton “Hollywood” Harris is in his 30th year of entertaining fans and performs in more than 40 rodeos across the country each year, including appearances at the Professional Bull Riders Finals and the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo.

Harris began his rodeo career as a saddle and bareback bronco rider at age 16 and earned a rodeo scholarship to Sam Houston State University in Texas. However, he was attracted to the performing aspect of rodeo when was growing up on his father’s horse ranch and saw several of their hired hands “clowning” at rodeos on weekends.

He began developing his own kind of comedy and says he was influenced by watching comedians like Don Knotts (Barney Fife) and Tim Conway.

One of Hollywood’s unique acts is a mechanical opponent named Quick Draw McGraw, with whom Harris stages a shooting duel. He says he loves to involve the fans in his acts and often goes into the crowds or brings fans into the arena.

In addition to his comedy, Harris will help in the bull riding event, using his barrel to protect himself and the cowboys.

The Gerry rodeo is the longest consecutively running rodeo east of the Mississippi. All proceeds from the rodeo support the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department as it responds to more than 350 fire and emergency calls each year.

This year’s rodeo opens on Wednesday, July 30, at 8 p.m. and continues nightly through Saturday, August 2, with an afternoon performance on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Approximately 135 professional cowboys and cowgirls are expected to come from across the nation to compete for $45,000 in prize money in the seven traditional rodeo events.

Painted Pony Pro Rodeo from Lake Lucerne will be the stock contractor, bringing more than 100 head of stock for the competition.

In addition to the rodeo competition, the event features the traditional beef barbecue dinners cooked outdoors over wood fires and served in the air conditioned dining facility. The midway this year will have nearly 20 vendors offering everything from Western wear and jewelry to fried dough and taffy. The midway will open at 5 p.m. each day.

Additional information is available at the rodeo website www.gerryrodeo.org and by phone at 985-4847 or 1-888-985-4847.