JJ Harrison: Rodeo Clown, 811 Advocate
4 million people. 325,000 miles. 8 years. 1 JJ Harrison.
ALWAYS THE CLASS CLOWN at heart with a passion for education, JJ Harrison has found the perfect partnership in the 811 Awareness Program with the Pipeline Association for Public Awareness (PAPA).
Graduating with a degree in Education, JJ worked in the classroom as a middle school teacher before throwing his hat back in the ring trying some rodeo clowning on the side in 2005. “It was fun and took me back to my roots,” he says. “Pretty soon I had rodeos calling and it just exploded – my career progressed really fast.”
Fast forward to 2012, which is when JJ was introduced to PAPA and their 811 Awareness Program. The Program allows JJ to do what he does best in using his time on stage not just for a laugh but to also educate the general public about 811.
The purpose of the program is to increase awareness of 811 with the general public in regions of the United States where rodeo events are held. The basic message includes information about using the free 811 notification service available to the public and the importance of calling 811 before digging to have all buried underground facilities located and marked by local facility operators.
Whether he’s in a jersey or western shirt, JJ educates with charm and a smile. “Being a rodeo clown is a high – you’ve got 9,000 people screaming and laughing with you, but not everyone there is rodeo savvy.” As an entertainer, Harrison says, “I try to connect them to our sport. Put together that puzzle piece for the fan. I enjoy that.” JJ advertises 811 on his jersey, barrel, trailer, and vehicles at numerous events throughout the year. He also provides attendees with information about 811 and “Call Before You Dig” at these events.
His athletic, high-energy antics have made him one of the nation’s top rodeo clowns. JJ is the only barrelman to ever be selected four years in a row for the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo which features the winners from each of the PRCA’s 12 circuits. “The Nationals are like our Super Bowl.” he says. “It’s a huge feather in any cowboy’s hat, and a big highlight of my career.”
Visit https://pipelineawareness.org/ member-resources/program-information/ to learn more about the 811 Awareness Program and how to become a supporter.
Current sponsors: Wyoming Pipeline Association, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, CPN Pipeline, Enbridge, Aera Energy LLC, WBI Energy, Avista Utilities, Sinclair Pipeline Company, TC Energy, Magellan Midstream Partners, Black Hills Energy, EOG Resources, CHS Inc., WA 811.