DODGE CITY, Kan. – If it hasn’t already happened, Boyd Polhamus is quickly becoming the voice of ProRodeo.
He’s definitely the voice of Dodge City Roundup Rodeo.
Polhamus has been selected to call the action at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo 16 times, including the last 13. More importantly, he’s been named the announcer of the year in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association three times. But for folks in western Kansas, he’s meant so much more than any award can represent.
“Boyd has been an integral part of Roundup Rodeo for the last decade,” said Dr. R.C. Trotter, chairman of Roundup Rodeo, set for 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1-Sunday, Aug. 5, at Roundup Arena. “He filled in for Phil Gardenhire a few months after Phil died in a car accident, and he worked for 10 years with the great Clem McSpadden.
“He worked great with Clem, but he does a great job for us all on his own. He adds something very good to our show.”
Polhamus grew up in Wisconsin, rather distant from the rodeo-crazy Southwest. But a fire began to burn.
“I won a pony in a raffle when I was 4 years old,” he said. “From that point forward, it was game on.”
The game involved cowboys and cowgirls, bucking horses and nasty bulls. Polhamus lived it. He qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo in six events his junior year and went to college in Texas to chase his rodeo dreams. It was there that his connection to rodeo changed from contestant to announcer, urged a little bit by classmates and his coach.
“I remember back in college where we were out in the practice pen, and he started saying these things about everybody,” said Benje Bendele, the premier sound technician in ProRodeo who has worked Roundup Rodeo every year since 2000. “From that point on, we all knew he had a gift, not only announcing and providing information to rodeo fans but entertaining them along the way.
“I think he started taking it serious from that point on.
He’s been a ProRodeo announcer for 25 years, earning his stripes at events all across the country. Besides the NFR, Polhamus has been the arena announcer for big rodeos in Houston, Denver and Pecos, Texas, to name a few. Besides his PRCA honors, the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association has selected him as the announcer of the year three times.
“Yes, this is a sport, but this is also a show, and it’s entertainment,” said Bendele, who attended Southwest Texas Junior College with Polhamus. “This is a show like someone producing a TV show. We’ve got to do it right every time; there is no margin for error. He helps us being the contract personnel. He helps me in the music; he helps the clown; he helps the scoreboard operator; he helps the people behind the chutes.
“Boyd demands the quality of excellence from everyone without speaking a word, and he gets it because of the respect everyone has for him. He realizes that every show is a new show to the fans and that we must put on the best production every time.”
Besides expertise, he carries a passion for rodeo. More, he adores the people involved in the sport, from the contestants to the personnel to the fans.
“Boyd is a true rodeo fan, and he wants the people who buy a ticket to understand his excitement about a match-up,” Bendele said. “He puts his own excitement out there, and he pulls the fans into that excitement.”