Two Announcers Guide Fans At May Rodeo

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The contests at the Gary Hardt Memorial Rodeo will have two skilled announcers guiding audiences through the action. Arizona's own Reed Flake will join the long-time voice of Payson rodeos, Johnny Pope.

Flake, who is from Snowflake, Ariz., has been a PRCA announcer since 1990.

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Johnny Pope is returning to Payson to serve as announcer of the 2007 Gary Hardt Memorial Rodeo. Joining him in the booth with be Reed Flake of Snowflake.

"I like people, and I think they can sense it," Pope said. "It makes for good crowd reaction."

Pope and his wife, Janet, make their home in Semmes, Ala., but spend much of the year on the road, trailering their horses along the way. Pope works from horseback when announcing most of the rodeos he works, but also keeps audiences advised of the action in the arena from the announcer's booth. He has been announcing rodeos since 1970.

While Pope announces and sings at rodeos, his wife provides music and sound for the shows and helps with timing events. The couple work between 40 and 45 rodeos every year.

"America is my audience and the United States is my arena," he said. "I love this great land and its people."

Pope counts among his credentials being a former rodeo contestant and runner-up World Champion Cowboy Polo Player. Twice he has been the alternate announcer for the National Finals Rodeo in both Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

Other top announcing jobs have been with the Indian National Finals Rodeo in Albuquerque, the Military National Finals Rodeo in Twenty-Nine Palms, Calif., and with the Cowboy Polo World Championships three times.

He, astride his American quarter horse, Dude, announced the opening ceremonies and the American Quarter Horse Association events of the World Cup Horse Show the first time it was held in the U.S.

In addition to his work at rodeos, Pope has announced bull riding contests, horse shows, stock car races and demolition derbies. He has done auctioneering, radio and television commercials, movie work, songwriting, singing and recording.

He has made two albums of his work, "The Life of a Rodeo Cowboy" and "Rodeo, Winning & Losing."

"I love what I do and I do what I love," Pope said.

According to the PRCA, announcers perform a vital function at each rodeo, calling the action and keeping the fans informed.

Announcers often work closely with rodeo clowns and specialty acts during a rodeo, helping generate excitement and enthusiasm.

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