All Inductees

J. G. Crouch

J.G. remembers a conversation with Stevie Don Ellis about their mutual desire for a gold buckle. Although the details of that conversation so many years ago are forgotten—whose idea was it? His, Stevie Don’s, or Lloyd Woodley’s? Did Lloyd offer to waive their entry fee in the bull riding if they would clown the event at the Killeen Jr. Rodeo for him, or did he allow them to clown the event as long as they entered the competition? What he does remember is this: He placed 2nd and got a gold buckle. Not for his ride but for his clowning. He was 13.

Throughout high school, J.G. continued to rodeo but not ride. As an All-State Linebacker at Killeen High, it was his size, as well as his coaches, that kept him from getting on anymore bulls, but a game was the only thing that could keep him from clowning a rodeo. His athletic ability earned him a football scholarship to Texas Christian University, where Crouch played varsity for four years, serving as Team captain his senior year. J.G. graduated in 1977.

After graduating, he returned to Killeen and taught Jr. High School for one year before deciding he would rather rodeo. In 1978, he joined the P.R.C.A., and his big break came a short time later. Tommy Steiner offered him a contract as the rodeo clown/bullfighter for his X BAR S Rodeo Co. J.G. felt this opportunity could be compared to being a 1st round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys.

Steiner put on as many as 45 rodeos a year. In places like Ft. Worth, Kansas City, and Phoenix, they put on two shows a day. Over 200 times a year, J.G. was performing a routine combining comedy acts that included a dance contest for kids, working the barrel, and fighting bulls, and the perennial fan favorite, a “BEN-HUR” inspired chariot race. Although a truly unique individual, Crouch admits that, in the beginning, he copied older clowns while developing his own character. The adage “Imitation is the highest form of flattery” is something he believes in, and he is honored now to see someone copy him.

J.G. has been successful in his life’s work. In 1979, one year after getting his pro card, he was chosen to work the O.T.R.C.A. National Finals. In 1981, he worked the Lone Star Circuit Finals and was invited back three more times. Only three years into professional rodeo, J.G. was chosen by the top 15 bull riders of the P.R.C.A. to work the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City. He was chosen again in 1986, after the finals moved to Las Vegas. In 1988, the highest honor a professional rodeo clown can earn was his: Coors Man In The Can-World’s Champion Barrelman. Most recently, for J.G., was his induction into the Bell County Ring Of Honor in 2004.

J.G. is thankful for the talent he was given, proud of his accomplishments in the world of rodeo but feels most blessed by the friends he has made and humbled by the love he has been given.