Change, as they say, is life’s only constant, and this year will see a change for a Hall of Famer at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Hall of Fame announcer Bob Tallman is stepping away from the mike at the Thomas & Mack Center in order to pursue a bevvy of other commitments and activities during the 10-day rodeo’s run in Las Vegas. Tallman, who announced his first Wrangler NFR in 1975, will still be a fixture around town, but won’t be on the announcer’s stand when the action begins on Dec. 5.
It’s a decision Tallman is at peace with, and the prospect of a new experience in Las Vegas is one he looks forward to.
“I’m excited,” he said. “I’ve built a life around all of these opportunities and never get to enjoy them, so I am so excited. My 10 days are going to be booked 7 to midnight.”
Tallman will once again be a part of the “National Finals Tonight” show at the Gold Coast each night with fellow Hall of Famers Joe Beaver and Don Gay after the performances end, and he will have his hands full with a number of other endeavors. The Weatherford, Texas, cowboy hosts a charity bowling tournament each year that has become a highly popular event to attend, and this year’s event will take place Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Gold Coast.
“It looks like we might have as many as 50 lanes filled by rodeo committees, cowboys and sponsors,” said Tallman, a 2004 ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductee. “That’s a big deal, and we raise a lot of money for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund.”
Tallman, who will celebrate his 66th birthday on Oct. 25, will kick off his Wrangler NFR week by hosting the ProRodeo Hall of Fame’s Wrangler Gold Buckle Gala on Monday, Dec. 2, where his friend Gay will be honored with the Legend of ProRodeo Award.
“He’s been a buddy of mine for 40 years, and I’ve been working on a deal to get his dad in (the Hall of Fame),” said Tallman, who has announced 25 Wrangler NFRs.
In addition, rodeo fans in Las Vegas will be able to see Tallman at a series of daily autograph sessions for his sponsors Wrangler, Boyd Gaming, Resistol and Priefert at Cowboy Christmas and other gift shows around town. His schedule will still be full, but somewhat less regimented as that of a Wrangler NFR announcer, who is locked into a number of meetings and commitments and has to set ample time aside to prepare for each night’s performance.
The freedom Tallman will have in setting his own schedule will allow him to interact more with fans and spend more time connecting with his friends and peers in the industry.
“I get to be a social bee,” Tallman said. “We’re always under the gun of trying to make everybody happy, and damn, it’s hard to do when you have limited time. When I go to sign autographs, I meet people from North and South Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, California, Calgary and on to Dallas, Fort Worth and North Texas.
“You’re signing autographs and running as hard as you can while trying to be as polite as you can to everyone, and I used to only be able to go for 35 or 45 minutes to an hour. Now, if I need to be there for two hours, I can do it.”
Tallman will also spend time hosting clients of his burgeoning Pro Vision Digital Surveillance business in Las Vegas, an activity he is excited about.
“I have five clients in the oil, gas and construction business that will come out there from anywhere from one day to eight days,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to have time to go to breakfast, lunch or dinner with them or take them to the rodeo. I’ll be able to announce the rodeo quietly and take them down to the gold buckle seats and say, ‘Now, watch this horse. Watch Cody Ohl. Watch Will Lowe and watch him ride this horse.’”
That time spent with his clients could benefit all of rodeo, if Tallman has his way.
“I find it very interesting that people in these industries are all big-time rodeo fans,” he said. “I’m taking people from a major corporation to the rodeo in Minot (N.D.) on Thursday, and I’ve been able to get them involved as a sponsor. It’s a win-win for everybody.
“Heck, I may be able to get Uncle Karl (Stressman) a new sponsor. If it’s good for rodeo, it’s good for everybody.”
Tallman knows he’ll need to pace himself during the two weeks he’s in Las Vegas for the Finals and not spread himself too thin.
“If I’m not careful, I’m going to have more hours of the day doing all that than I have before,” Tallman said. “I know we’re going to be busy every day.”
No matter what his schedule is, Tallman will enjoy every minute of his time at the Wrangler NFR.
“I’m the most blessed son-of-a-buck in the world to have had the life I’ve had,” he said. “I’m going to let (my sponsors) use me where they can get the most out of it, and we’ll rock-n-roll from there.”