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Iconic rodeo clown recovering from health scare

Leon Coffee ready to get back in the barrel

SAN ANTONIO – Famed rodeo clown Leon Coffee is back on his feet and ready to get back in the barrel after a serious heath scare last Saturday while working a rodeo in Cuero.

Prior to the Cuero rodeo, Coffee was in Wyoming and Idaho where the temperatures were much cooler at night. When he returned to South Texas, he was greeted by temperatures in the high 90s and a heat index over 100, setting him up for near disaster.

The scare was sparked by not just the heat but also what happened during his performance. He was working the crowd and having fun, but during the bull fighting, a bull bucked off a rider and turned toward Leon.

"I got a little too far from my barrel," Coffee said. "He looked up and saw me and I went, 'Uh oh, I can't beat him.' So the race was on for the fence. I really, really had to run."

He ended up beating the bull to the fence, but he couldn't beat the heat. Coffee said the combination of the run from the bull and the heat left him pouring in sweat.

"I kind of pushed the panic button on that one," Coffee said.

After working the rodeo, Coffee started cramping up from his toes and legs, to his fingers and arms and into his chest. At first he thought he was having a heart attack.

"My chest just felt like I had a vice on me," Coffee said. "I've never experienced something like that and I didn't know if it was the real deal."

He was taken to a hospital by ambulance and during the ride it was determined that he was not having a heart attack, he was just severally dehydrated. Coffee spent a night in the hospital and took in six units of fluids.

"I gained 20 pounds in water weight," Coffee said.

He returned home Sunday and was welcomed by tens of thousands of thoughts and prayers all over social media.

The outpouring from fans is what will prompt Coffee to return to the arena this weekend in Schulenburg, just a week after his health scare.

"They are talking to God and if God is going to use me to get people to talk to him, I am going to keep letting him use me," Coffee said. "The good Lord gave me the ability to make people laugh and help people out, and when he takes that ability away, that's when I quit."

Watch an extended interview with Coffee below.


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