Longtime Dixie National Rodeo fixture honored

Longtime Dixie National Rodeo fixture honored
Members of the late Lecile Harris' family and Mississippi Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner Andy Gipson unveiled a mural of the legendary rodeo clown at the Mississippi Coliseum. From left to right: Matt Harris, Joy Harris, Commissioner Gipson, Coy Rhoda, Indie Rhoda and Cody Rhoda. (Source: Jason L. Price)

JACKSON, Miss. (WDAM) – Lecile Harris may be gone, but the legendary rodeo clown has not been forgotten by the Dixie National Rodeo.

Harris, who passed away in 2020, was celebrated Saturday at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds with a processional and memorial service that included a mural unveiling at the Mississippi Coliseum.

“I want to thank Lecile’s son, Matt, his wife Joy, and their family for joining us today as we remember Lecile Harris, and the incredible legacy he left behind,” said Andy Gipson, Mississippi commissioner of agriculture and commerce.

“His loss has been felt not only by the Dixie National Rodeo’s faithful spectators, but all Mississippians and those within the rodeo community around the nation. Though we mourn the loss of our dear friend, who passed away one year ago following his last performance of the 2020 Dixie National Rodeo, we want to celebrate his life and the impact he has made on multiple generations.”

The processional around the State Fairgrounds was led by Harris family members, including Matt and Joy Harris, and Indie and Cody Rhoda with their son, Coy.

The procession also included special dignitaries, mounted horse groups and the famous Dixie National Wagon Train.

Following the procession, Gipson and the Harper Morgan Rodeo Company held a brief memorial service and mural unveiling in the Mississippi Coliseum.

Miss Mississippi, Mary Margaret Hyer. opened the memorial service with a rendition of “How Great Thou Art,” followed by words from Gipson and PRCA Rodeo Announcer Mike Mathis.

Gipson recognized Harris’ wife, Ethel, who could not be present, as well as family members in attendance. Matt Harris shared sentiments about his father. State Representative Dan Eubanks presented the family with a proclamation recognizing Harris’s contributions.

Gipson and the Harris family cut the ribbon to a newly-designed mural featuring Lecile Harris.

The extensive mural is located inside the front lobby on the north side of the Mississippi Coliseum for visitors’ viewing, and guests can have their picture taken with Harris for years to come.

For more information on the Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo, visit www.dixienational.org, download the mobile app, “like” the Dixie National Livestock Show & Rodeo on Facebook or call (601) 961-4000.

Copyright 2021 WDAM. All rights reserved.