By Tiffany Williams
A good announcer will inform you of all of the stats, trivia and other goodies. A great announcer is filled with passion and excitement that will keep you on the edge of the seat for the entire rodeo performance.
This year at the Ponoka Stampede there will be three great announcers calling the shots and they are Dr. Lynn Phillips from Enid, Oklahoma, Les McIntyre, Vulcan and Brianne Hurlburt.
McIntyre never planned to be an announcer and was a chuckwagon driver before an unfortunate accident took him out of the action when he broke his back in 1983. He realized he wasn’t cut out for racing and in 1984 Tommy Dorchester asked him to announce at Hobbema. They had a radio guy out of Calgary doing the shows who was the worst announcer ever, according to McIntyre, they fired him and hired McIntyre and he has been announcing chuckwagons ever since. He said about 15 years ago he started doing rodeo, his first professional rodeo was Leduc and the next thing he knew he was doing a whole bunch.
He worked with Bill Kehler who was the best in the business for years, Kehler would do rodeo and McIntyre would do the chuckwagons. In 2002 Kehler passed away and McIntyre says everyone started to call him to see if he would step up to the plate.
As a part-time day job he has been an auctioneer since the early 1980s in Vulcan and says he really looks forward to coming to Ponoka each year and first made the trip here in 1977.
“I always think what are they going to do to top this and every year they get bigger and better,” said McIntyre.
I know so many rodeo fans and people who go to the events who give me feedback and say it is the best show it is easily accessible, you get the best stock and chuckwagon racers. You won’t find a better show.”
He says that his counterpart Phillips loves coming to Ponoka as well, Phillips will tell you that Ponoka is his highlight of the year.
“It is such a well run organization. There is a group of people on the board, they are all volunteers and they are dedicated to being the best in pro rodeo and they keep doing it year after year and that is hard to do with such a great entertainment value.”
He thinks that for the fans they won’t find a better show in North America and for the cowboys it is one of the top paying rodeos. He says that Ponoka is a big determining factor for if the cowboys make it to the finals. He says that he even knows guys who will win big at Ponoka and coast for the rest of the year.
He says that he is very proud to be a western Canadian and part of the western culture. He is very proud to be able to promote the Western culture and thinks rodeo and chuckwagon racing will be a huge part of the future and he is glad to be a part of it.
“If I can inspire someone to be a rodeo fan who is a first timer I have done a good job,” said McIntyre. “It’s like any job if you have a passion then it comes easy.”
So during the 72nd annual Ponoka Stampede keep your ears open, your Wranglers in your seat, your Braham boots on and let McIntyre take you on a ride you will never forget.