Pulling off the production of a rodeo takes many players. There’s the competitors, those who see to and supply the challenging stock to the ticket takers and concession stand workers.
There are a couple of people though who pull it all together.
“I think a rodeo without an announcer wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining,” said TC Long, rodeo announcer. “I feel like I’m the one I’m the one that gives them the information. Even though we’re in a rodeo part of the world, there are still first time fans so I have to explain the events and how they work and where the originate from. And also, you don’t want to bore the people that go to a rodeo every weekend.
Long was the announcer for the Jack County Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo last weekend. It was his sixth time to work the rodeo in Jack County. The 31-year-old from Athens, Texas has been emceeing rodeos for 15 years.
“I grew up in the rodeo industry,” he explained. “I roped and it’s always been my dream to be a rodeo announcer. It’s a great job. You get to travel over the US and meet new people. Rodeo is America’s original sport. It’s good entertainment.”
He said rodeo is unique in that the audience is diverse in age and background.
“Rodeo is different than any other entertainment,” Long said. “Other entertainment there’s usually a select market. The circus, the audience is kids. With movies, they’re either geared to an older or younger crowd. But rodeo is a variety from young to old. You’ve got to have something entertaining for all and you’re dealing with so many different attention spans.”
Long works closely with a couple of other players in the rodeo — his sound man and the clown.
Jonathan Boggs, 21, from Groesbeck has been working sound for rodeos for three years. He travels with Long throughout the year and provides the music and technical support for the sound system.
“I’ve been in rodeo my whole life and I’ve always done this kind of stuff,” Boggs said. “I love the sport. There’s nothing else like it. Everybody can come here and it’s good family entertainment. For $10 you can come and watch a two-hour show. There’s a little bit of comedy and the livestock and there’s nothing else like it.”
Boggs said Long works to keep things running smoothly and keep the audience entertained.
“He’s very production oriented,” Boggs said. “He knows how everything’s supposed to go. He tries to keep everything on time and keep it moving so there’s never a dull moment.
“We work together. I know what he’s going to say and he knows what I’m going to do.”
Long has some help with that from the clown in the arena. At the Jack County rodeo that was Ronald Burton of Philadelphia, Mississippi. It was his third time to perform in Jack County. The first time was as a bullfighter. He rode bulls for six years as well and has been in the rodeo business for 23 years.
“We’ve got to keep their attention because people’s attention span isn’t what it used to be,” Burton said. “So if we stop for a minute, they’re going to start texting or Facebooking. So we’ve got to keep the show going.”
To read the complete article, see the June 10 edition of the Gazette-News.