The golden voice of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo goes silent.
He played with our emotions like the moon toys with the tide. With Bob Tallman behind the microphone, we didn’t watch contestants — we rode with them. We were their horses, their families, their hopes, and dreams. We felt them crash and soar. He was nothing short of a wizard and we happily fell under his spell.
2014 is the first year in almost 30 that his rich voice is quiet at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Before the Tallman years, announcers made the finals much like the contestants do. They earned their spurs through the regular season and were granted the golden microphone of rodeo by popular vote. Only the best made it, but voice of the finals was always at the mercy of the winds of change.
When Tallman came to town, he came to stay. When the house lights went down and Bob’s satin voice filled the Thomas & Mack Center, it comforted us. We knew where we were and just what to expect. We trusted him to tell us every backstory and statistic, we felt his deep, emotional commitment to the men and women he traveled with. He made us part of the rodeo family.
If Bob said it was good, it was good. If he told us a certain match-up between a horse and rider was going to be memorable, we were on the edge of our seats. He made us laugh and cry. He made us roar and boo. He was an outlaw who didn’t know the definition of politically correct and we loved him for that.
“Life moves forward and upward or backward and out. I have no tolerance for backing up,” Tallman said from his skybox at the Thomas & Mack when we caught up with him last night. There will never be no big project in Tallman’s world. His current interest is Pro Vision, an equine surveillance system that has applications for shipping, on the farms and events. Protecting what we’re passionate about is important. Importance and Tallman are synonymous.
Boyd Polhamus teamed with Tallman early in his career. This year, he joins veterans Randy Corley and Wayne Brooks for this first post-season without the master. “As proud as I am of our 2014 team, I miss Bob,” Polhamus told us last Friday during the second round of competition.
It’s a sentiment that echoes loudly throughout the building.