Clowning around in the name of safety

The man in the above photo is J.J. Harrison—Okanogan native, former Walla Walla middle school teacher, and one of the premier entertainers in the sport of rodeo. He’s the rare person who is studious enough to receive a Master’s degree and gutsy enough to dodge angry 2,000 pound animals for a living. The class clown in elementary school, he’s now a professional rodeo clown doing hundreds of shows a year in packed arenas all over the country.

J.J. succeeds in a dangerous environment by taking every possible precaution. While out there in the ring, he’s also encouraging all of us to take an extremely important precaution: Call 811 before a digging project of any kind. It’s right there on his jersey.

Why is it so important to put down the shovel and pick up the phone?

Because when you get right down to it, the potential for an emergency caused by accidentally digging into a power or natural gas line isn’t so different from stepping into the ring with a raging bull—even if most people wouldn’t equate the two. J.J. would tell you it’s the same thing.

Blindly digging on your property, even for something as simple as planting a new shrub, can end badly. There could be a disruption of energy services for both you and your neighbors, personal injury, a large bite out of your pocketbook, or all of the above.

Fortunately, it’s an easy mess to avoid. Just call 811 two working days before you want to start work. A representative will mark your lines, showing you the approximate location of your underground utilities (2 foot threshold on both sides of the line) of where you can dig.

Watch JJ in action.

Take the pledge to always call 811 before any digging project. Play it safe, just like J.J. Harrison.

Call 811


  1. Natural Gas
  2. Safety