Weatherford Democrat

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October 12, 2012

Rodeo voice triumphs after diagnosis

PARKER COUNTY — You might recognize his voice before you recognize him in person.

For more than 40 years, Bob Tallman has been in the pro rodeo broadcasting industry, traveling all over the country.

But three years ago, illness put a halt on his plans.

“My career, my income and my health were in danger,” he said.

Tallman was diagnosed with arachnoiditis, a neuropathic disease caused by inflammation of one of the membranes surrounding and protecting the central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord.

“Anything from scar tissue to prior accidents can cause it,” he said. “And they told me there was no cure.”

With a hectic schedule that included traveling around 100,000 miles per year for rodeo performances around the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as well as his duties as a rancher, the painful disease began to take its toll.

“I’d have constant lower back pain, and my legs were melting,” he said. “I thought about changing my profession because I was losing my mobility.”

Tallman, who moved to Parker County 20 years ago, had a chance encounter with a surgeon from Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, who informed him of an implant that could help cure the pain, although not the disease.

After a 10-day trial period, Tallman had the device implanted in his lower back, and the result was life-changing.

“When I was diagnosed, I was in a lot of pain, then it turned into discomfort, and for nine months it didn’t go away,” he said. “After I got the implant, within weeks, I had a lot more motion and I was taking less [pain] pills.

“I started feeling better all over.”

In an effort to cut back on his rodeo profession, Tallman currently lives in Poolville, and works for ProVision, a digital surveillance company installs and services fixed and mobile cameras.

“I knew 30 years ago that sometime I would move to Texas,” the Nevada native said. “The growth is here [in Parker County] and it’s a hot spot right now.

“Our proximity to the airport, the interstate access and corridors are all vital to the business.”

The ProVision takes up a big chunk of his life, Tallman, now 65, still dabbles with his passion for rodeo announcing, and returned from a rodeo Wednesday evening. His next gig will be the Texas Stampede in Allen in two weeks, followed by an event in Las Vegas.

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