Fans from around the world are praying for one of the most famous of Rodeo Clowns, Luke “Leon” Coffee, who is reported by his family as arriving home last night after a stay in a Texas Intensive Care Unit.
Coffee was appearing his second night at the Lester Meier Open Rodeo for the Cuero Livestock Show in Cuero, Texas Saturday night when he began feeling chest pains shortly after 8 p.m. He was taken to an emergency room and doctor’s placed him in ICU. One family member said he was quite insistent about wanting to go home.
“I have brought him home,” said Terri Coffee-Seymour. “He is resting now and for the next couple of days (under doctor’s orders). We want to thank everyone for the prayers that were sent his way. Again another close call with his life but we will get thru this.”
Today, Coffee is resting and drinking “plenty of fluids” to counteract dehydration from clowning in the Texas heat.
“Thank you for everyone at the rodeo last night who helped us and who started those prayer chains,” Seymour stated on Coffee’s Facebook page. “Thank you Lester Meier for your caring crew.”
“Every one of you have a special place in our hearts. Rodeo family is unbelievable. There is nothing else like it. So happy to be part of it,” Seymour continued. “Also like to thank the Cuero Ambulance crew and the doctors and nurses in the ER and the ICU that pulled Leon thru this. Wow what a special group of professionals. Thank you thank you thank you. We love every one of you.”
Earlier this month, Coffee was the headliner at the 100th Anniversary of the Snake River Stampede, billed as the “wildest, fastest show on earth” in the Treasure Valley area located in Nampa, Idaho.
Coffee, a native of Blanco, Texas has been a bullfighting, cowboy protecting, “man in the can” since 1969 and a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) since 1973.
A February 1984 Sports Illustrated article predicted Coffee’s time as a rodeo clown was limited and he’s “got only six or seven years left at mos.” Going on 31 years later, the green cowboy hatted protector continues to entertain crowds, despite the fact rodeo bulls are meaner and stronger than they were several decades ago (see video).
In May 2012 Coffee was hospitalized in a San Antonio ICU for spinal meningitis, a bacterial or viral infection that caused inflammation within the lining of his brain and spinal cord.
“People who work with domestic animals, including dairy farmers and ranchers have a higher risk of contracting listeria which can lead to meningitis,” according to the Mayo Clinic website.
Coffee, a United States Army veteran, has been featured in such movies as 8 Seconds, My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys and Jericho, 2001. He has worked the National Finals Rodeo for four decades and has many honors including PRCA Clown of the Year, Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame, and barrel man for many rodeo finals throughout the country.Coffee is also well known for his charitable visits to children’s wards at local hospitals as he travels to work at nationwide rodeos.
At age nine, he said he started competing in redoes and by his teens it “wasn’t a challenge anymore.”
Coffee started disco dancing to the tune of his trademark “I’m Your Boogie Man” by KC and the Sunshine Band to taunt the bulls.
Born on October 11, 1954, Coffee is married to wife Traci. They have three children: Leigh Ann, Brandy Lynn, and Luke Anthony.