Junior Meek, named to the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1999 and who said he was “the first nut to jump over a bull in the rodeo arena” creating a new style of bullfighting, died Tuesday morning.

Services for Meek will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday in the First Baptist Church of Godley with the Rev. Kenneth Coleman officiating. He will be assisted by Charlie Throckmorton, Dan Willis, Benny Johnson and Bob Alford. Burial will be in the Godley Cemetery.

In a story about Meek published in the millennium edition of the Times-Review he said, “I was the one who started jumping. I was the nut that started it.”

Meek, who spent more than 20 years as a bullfighter and rodeo clown, was also a competitor in calf roping and steer wrestling. He got his start in 1954 when he got his Rodeo Cowboy Association card to clown at a rodeo in Atlanta, he said in the article.

“I didn’t make much back then compared to today’s standards,” Meek said. “Rodeo has changed a lot.”

During his career he said he broke just about every bone in his body, “some of them three or four times,” he was quoted as saying. His jaw was broken five or six times and his knees had been replaced.

Meek said despite the injuries he “came out real good.”

After more than two decades as a full-time clown and bullfighter, he slowed down and eased out of live performances.

According to the article, his last show was a forgettable one in Cleburne.

“I worked Cleburne several times and always enjoyed it. Well, Bernis [Johnson, a long-time friend and stock producer] needed a bullfighter for the rodeo here at the last minute. I hadn’t done anything in a couple of years, but I filled in. This one bull got me down and mashed me pretty well. The pickup man rode in to get him off me. His horse got cut bad by the horns.”

Meek survived.

“My leg swelled up double, but I came back the next night. That’s show biz.”

Meek’s daughter-in-law, Tammy Wood, said Tuesday afternoon he had been ill about a year and a half following a heart attack. He suffered several smaller heart attacks and had triple bypass surgery.

“But, his heart was too badly damaged,” Wood said.

Being laid up was very hard on him, she said.

“He hated being in that position. He had always done what he wanted to do, and being house-bound took a toll on him.”

Even toward the end Meek fought, Wood said.

“He was taken to the hospice Thursday and the doctors said he wouldn’t make it through Thursday night, and he finally let go this morning,” she said.

Rob Fraser can be reached at 817-645-2441, ext. 2336, or rfraser@trcle.com

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