GUNNISON, Colo. – At rodeos all across this land, Andy Stewart’s voice has resonated across the grandstands and into the back pens to tell the tales of the sport.
Stewart has been a mainstay at the Cattlemen’s Days PRCA Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3-Saturday, Sept. 5, at Fred Field Western Center in Gunnison.
Over the years, Stewart has been recognized as one of the very best in the business. He’s gained accolades and prestige, and this past December, his voice cascaded across Las Vegas as one of three announcers of the National Finals Rodeo.
“That meant everything to me,” said Stewart, an 11-time nominee for the PRCA’s Announcer of the Year. “To earn that goal of being able to get behind the microphone at the pinnacle of our sport is very humbling.
“It was everything I had hoped for. It was magical that first night I got to be on the microphone.”
The magic exists because he is a student of the game. He knows the cowboys, the animals, the events. He understands that some fans may have more knowledge of the game than others, but he explains the details in a way that it’s enjoyable for all involved.
“Andy is the voice of our rodeo, and we are proud to share in his successes,” said Kevin Coblentz, president of the volunteer committee that produces the annual event. “The fact that we got to hear him at the National Finals is a big deal.
“Only three announcers are asked to be part of the NFR each year, and out of the hundreds of announcers that make a living in rodeo, he was recognized as one of the very best. He added to the NFR experience, and everybody there got to see why we know we have a gem in Gunnison.”
While 2019 was magical, this year has been considerably more tumultuous. The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world on its side and rolled it in the dirt. Event cancelations started in March and continue still. Cattlemen’s Days may be delayed, but it continues with limited seating because of regulations.
Still, the show goes on.
“I’ve always said that those big rodeos are great, but the lifeblood of our organization is those medium and small rodeos in these small communities around America,” Stewart said. “That’s a testament to the true love that these committees have for these rodeos that come to their towns. That speaks volumes for the fan base for rodeo and how bit it is in the communities we go to.
“I’m so thankful for committees like Gunnison, who have worked hard to move their rodeo and make it happen, and the community showed up in a big way. That shows how much they appreciate ProRodeo.”
Stewart knows what it takes to work at an elite level. He works many of the biggest rodeos in the country. 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 know it will be limited fans, but The Cowboy Channel will be there, so people will be able to watch the rodeo,” he said. “It will get some nationwide coverage, which will help the rodeo’s sponsors and help a community that is eager for something big to happen … this year especially.”