— It is one thing to do what your momma tells you. It’s quite another when she dares you.
Enter Andy Stewart, a professional rodeo announcer for nearly two decades. He began calling rodeos, imitating announcers of the day long before he purchased his Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association card in 1995.
“When we were home watching videos of our team roping or rodeo videos, I would imitate the announcers,” said Stewart, of Collinston, La. “When my brother and I would rope the dummy, I’d announce it.
“On a dare from my mother, I started doing some small play days and horse events. I didn’t know what I was doing, but apparently I had the gift of gab.”
It’s a gift he shares with others 43 weeks a year all across this land, calling rodeos and bull-riding events. This year he returns to Weatherford for the Parker County Frontier Days and PRCA Rodeo, set for 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, June 12-Saturday, June 15, at the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse Arena.
“This is a cowboy’s rodeo,” said Stewart, who began working in Weatherford a dozen years ago handling the sound production; this year will be his eighth straight announcing the rodeo. “It’s a great facility, and it gets great crowds. All the animals buck good there, and the rodeo just has a lot of nostalgia.
“The committee’s very Western-oriented, and the people there love a good rodeo. It draws top-name players from all over the country. We have four performances that are just outstanding.”
So is Stewart. He’s been nominated for Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Announcer of the Year each of the last three seasons. He’s one of the most sought-after play-callers in the game.
“I’m probably as big a rodeo fan as there is in the world,” Stewart said. “I enjoy the camaraderie of the cowboys, the lifestyle. Rodeo is a true a sport there is. There are not big contracts. These guys are doing what they do because they love it, and they’re not guaranteed a dime to do it.”
He spent much of his year either traveling or living away from home, but he’s chasing his dreams. There’s a blessing, he said, in being able to make a good living doing something one loves.
“I do this because of the people and the lifestyle,” he said. “You’re not going to find a better bunch of people. I have so many friends and extended family all over the country because of rodeo.
“The people are what make rodeo so special. Rodeo offers me the opportunity to go to a lot of places I don’t normally go and see a lot of things I don’t normally see.”
In Weatherford, he will experience one of the top rodeos in the land produced by the top livestock producers in the game, Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo and Carr Pro Rodeo.
“Having a good production at a rodeo is probably the most important factor, and it’s nice to know that when you work with a company that’s professional, their main goal is to produce a high quality rodeo,” Stewart said. “It makes my job easier, and it’s a lot of fun to be involved with that.”