GUNNISON, Colo. – Andy Stewart looks at his job from many angles.
He is a researcher, a statistician and an entertainer. He has the unique ability to put it all together as one of the top emcees in professional rodeo, an eight-time nominee for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Announcer of the Year.
He will bring his talents to Gunnison as the voice of Cattlemen’s Days PRCA Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, July 13, to Saturday, July 15, at Fred Field Western Center in Gunnison.
“I feel that production is extremely important in the world of rodeo,” said Stewart, now in his 22nd year in the PRCA. “If people get a $20 ticket, then we need to give them $40 worth of entertainment and get the most bang for their buck.”
It’s something fans have come to expect with Cattlemen’s Days over the years.
“It’s one of my favorite rodeos,” he said. “The people are wonderful, and the scenery is beautiful. There’s a lot of history there, too and you get treated extremely well.
“For those guys to put enough trust in me to bring me in there to be part of that rodeo is a thrill.”
It comes down to the wild action that is the Cattlemen’s Days Rodeo. Take last year’s winners, which included two-time world champion saddle bronc rider Cody Wright and two other Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifiers: steer wrestler Jacob Talley and bull rider Tim Bingham.
The list of contestants annually reads like a who’s who among the sport’s elite. That just adds to the atmosphere in Gunnison.
“It turns up the level of competition as well,” he said. “Hunger is a major motivator; it’s a financial motivation for these guys. They’ve got families, they’ve got bills, they’ve got things that they’ve got to pay.”
Stewart knows what it takes to work at an elite level. He works many of the biggest rodeos in the country, including the legendary Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days Rodeo. One reason is because of his energetic, booming voice. Another is the extra work he puts ahead of each rodeo performance so that he can be the perfect voice of the fans.
For every hour he’s on the microphone, Stewart spends many more going through biographies and background and looking over all the important statistics of each competitor in the show. He understands what it takes to compete at an elite level, and he wants fans to realize it, too. It is, after all, the perfect mix of world-class competition and true family-friendly entertainment.
“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.”