Bob Tallman should be the national or even international ambassador for rodeo.
He never met a stranger, always has time for a hand shake or hug, and a warm hello. After announcing the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) for 25 times since joining the PRCA in 1972, he may have stepped away from the mic, but he definitely hasn’t stepped away from the event.
On Dec. 2, I had the privilege of actually sitting and watching a good part of the NFR with him. Remarkably, it was the first time that he has ever sat in a seat at the Thomas & Mack Center to watch. With tickets courtesy of Boot Barn in hand, we made our way to the seats.
As soon as we were settled, he struck up a conversation with the gentlemen on his left. Turns out they live in Weatherford and Azle, his current stomping grounds in Texas. Mid way through the team roping, another man tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, is your name Bob?”
Bob gave an affirmative and the man tells him he knows his brother and uncle. The brother is bull rider Markus Mariluch, from Elko, Nev., who won the Reno Rodeo last June which Bob announced. He grew up in Winnemucca and has known members of the Mariluch family for years.
During the flag presentation we made our way to the Boyd Gaming suite so he could say “Hello” to his partners there. We only had to stop every five to ten feet along the way so he could say hello to someone else.
We watched the barrel racing and the beginning of the bull riding from there with the occasional “nice horse,” or “did you see that” thrown in from the well-known rodeo voice. It was surprising to me how little he actually had to say during the rodeo, but his seasoned eyes did not miss a trick.
Bob arrived at the rodeo with a stack of highlighted papers and pencil in hand. Taking notes and doing homework is a regular part of his business and he loves keeping up with the action. He is also participating in Pro Fantasy Rodeo’s Charity Tattoo League and there were plenty of exclamations, both good and bad when a member of his team was successful or hit the dirt. He sent several texts to contestants offering congratulations or encouragement.
He was asked if he missed being behind the mic here. He replied, “Yes and no.” He is a rodeo fan and loves using his God-given gift to share the sport. He’s found new ways to do that here.
He signed autographs for kids all day prior to the rodeo. He hosts a charity bowling tournament at the Gold Coast to raise money for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund and the Las Vegas Speedway Children’s Charities.
Bob has appearances scheduled throughout the NFR at Cowboy Christmas. He and Roger Mooney will be commentating the Boyd Gaming Chute Out held at the Orleans Arena Dec. 8 – 11 at 2 p.m.
And, there is the time he spends with Boyd Polhamus, Dan Miller, Don Gay and Joe Beaver every night at the Orleans as part of the NFR Tonight show. His days are full, nights are short and it makes one wonder how he ever had time to announce the NFR.
There are many of Bob’s fans who miss hearing his voice over the loud speakers at the NFR. But if they see him walking around the concourse, have an opportunity to get a handshake and see that warm smile, it’s well worth it. Bob truly loves every aspect of rodeo, but especially the people. He is a long way from retirement and if you ever get the chance to go to a rodeo where he is announcing, I’d highly recommend it.