The ears of Texas are upon them

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Cinch rodeo announcers heating up the action during ‘Texas Swing’

Cinch announcers Garrett Yerigan, left, and Anthony Lucia, right, pose with their teammate and rodeo legend, Bob Tallman, during a break from the action at this year’s Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, one of five major indoor events during the ‘Texas Swing.’

When Anthony Lucia was young, he followed his entertainer father, Tommy, from one rodeo to another.

He experienced his own sort of history at what’s been dubbed the “Texas Swing” of winter rodeos, indoor events at some of the most iconic communities in the Lone Star State: Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston, Austin and San Angelo. Over the last two years, he’s just added to it by being one of the voices of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.

“Last year, they brought me in to help with The Cowboy Channel, and I would have to believe that was kind of my audition to see how I fit in with the culture there and everything that goes into it,” said Lucia, the reigning PRCA Announcer of the Year. “I felt like I had to strive to take what I was doing to another level. That’s just my mindset. I want to make everything that I’m involved in as great as possible.”

This year, he served a hybrid role, being one of the arena announcers with fellow Cinch-endorsee Garrett Yerigan for several of the performances and also a sideline reporter for The Cowboy Channel’s broadcast on weekends when rodeo legend Bob Tallman was at the arena microphone.

“I split doing the interviews with Katy Lucas and then got to announce 10 performances total,” Lucia said. “It was unbelievably a full-circle amazing moment to do something that I’ve heard Bob Tallman do for as long as I can remember. I’ve trick roped there, I’ve team roped there, and I grew up there going with my dad when he worked that rodeo like 19 or 20 times, whether clowning or doing specialty acts.”

The first four months of the calendar year are filled with dozens of performances spread out across the Texas landscape: Fort Worth in January, San Antonio in February, Houston and Austin in March and San Angelo in April. Each has its own flavor and style, but all but one have something in common: They have Cinch men on the microphone in some capacity.

Lucia also was the arena voice of San Antonio’s Xtreme Bulls competition. In Houston, the booming, baritone voice of Boyd Polhamus is mixed with the smooth stylings Andy Seiler. Both Cinch endorsees share their talents with Tallman, who has been around ProRodeo for half a century. To wrap up the Texas Swing, Polhamus will call the action at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo.

In addition to announcing RodeoHouston with fellow Cinch-endorsee Andy Stewart and rodeo legend Bob Tallman, Boyd Polhamus has been the voice of the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo for 25 years.

“Last year was my 30th year in Houston,” said Polhamus, a four-time PRCA Announcer of the Year. “This will be my 25th year in San Angelo. It’s really tough to put into words, but it’s like riding two different horses. In Houston, a large part of your audience is not completely rodeo knowledgeable, so you’re going to do a little more teaching to try to help the fan understand the difference between a 68-point ride and a 78-point ride.

“San Angelo is a very rodeo-knowledgeable place. You could end that rodeo with tie-down roping and start with bull riding, and you wouldn’t lose a soul.”

It’s an adjustment he can make because of experience. He’s in his 39th year as a rodeo announcer, so he can switch from talking to tens of thousands of fans a night inside NRG Stadium, home of RodeoHouston, to sitting horseback among the nearly 5,300 in Foster Communications Coliseum in San Angelo.

“In Houston, I’m doing as much a television broadcast as I am talking live,” Polhamus said. “Everything we do in Houston is to play off the monitor, unless there’s an issue in the arena, then we can look down and see what’s going on in the arena and adjust accordingly. Houston is more of a telecast, whereas San Angelo is more of a traditional type of rodeo.”

Both styles appeal to Seiler, a two-time National Finals Rodeo announcer who obtained a broadcast journalism degree at Troy University in Alabama. Whether he’s on a horse in an arena surrounded by the Rocky Mountains in Colorado or standing next to Polhamus and Tallman in front of a camera in Houston, he knows the game and shares his passion for it.

Cinch announcer Andy Seiler utilizes his rodeo passion and his broadcast journalism degree while calling the action at rodeos across the country, but he does it even more at RodeoHouston, which is more like a telecast than the typical public address he does at most events.

“I have to pinch myself from time to time because they took a big chance on me when they hired me in 2014,” he said of his decade at RodeoHouston. “They wanted to add somebody that would be around for the future, but I truly think if you try to look at it, it’s a little bit overwhelming.

“I’m just very thankful to be part of something that is a heck of a lot bigger than any one person or any one group, because it touches so many lives.”  

It’s certainly unique, because of Houston’s legacy, its payout and the fact that a rodeo happens inside a stadium that also serves as home to the Houston Texans. NRG Stadium seats nearly four and a half times more than the Thomas & Mack Center, the NFR’s home since 1985.

“For me, Houston is in my wheelhouse, because I love that I’m passionate about our sport, but I also love getting the opportunity to explain why it’s good for somebody to mark out a saddle bronc or why getting a good start for a steer wrestler makes everything come together so much quicker,” Seiler said.

There also is something about being involved with the agriculture side of each of those Texas Swing events. All are livestock shows and rodeos, with exhibition halls filled with youngsters showcasing the projects they raised, whether it’s a steer, a lamb or any other ag-based activity.

“The best part about working the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is giving back to the youth,” Seiler said. “I get to do some interviews at the livestock auctions. When you talk to these kids, you talk to these parents, you realize you’re part of an organization that is truly making a difference.”

Yerigan was active in Future Farmers of America when he was in high school in northeastern Oklahoma. He has carried that with him to his chosen profession, and it’s played quite well. He has utilized so many of those skills over his time at Fort Worth.

“I worked very briefly on the saddlehorse crew, then I transitioned over to the livestock crew, sorting, feeding and taking care of all the rodeo livestock, and part of that, I ran the center out-gate for a few years,” Yerigan said. “In 2021 and 2022, I was the show-caller, where I wrote the production and called the show. It’s kind of a production manager-type situation. This year, I got a microphone in my hand, and I was one of the in-arena announcers.”

He was one of the primary voices at Dickies Arena alongside Tallman and Lucia. It’s a post he was destined to have; being a rodeo announcer is something he worked at and dreamed about since he was a young boy. His dedication to the sport helped him be named the PRCA Announcer of the Year in 2021 and ’22.

“Being asked to announce the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo is very humbling,” Yerigan said. “That’s a rodeo that everybody in the industry grows up watching on TV and hearing about. Their motto is ‘This Thing Is Legendary,’ and that’s so true. There’s so much history and tradition in that rodeo.

“I never thought that at the age of 29, I would be able to join the list of announcers like Bob Tallman, Doug Mathis and Charlie Throckmorton. It’s amazing to take in what is the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.”


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