Announcer returns to the Oakley Rodeo for the 26th consecutive year
If you’ve been to the Oakley Rodeo in the past 25 years, you’ve heard this man’s voice. You’ve may not have noticed him, but you’ve definitely heard him.
When the Oakley Rodeo returns Wednesday (July 3-6), Wayne Wise will resume his usual role as the rodeo announcer, his 26th time serving as the voice of the annual event.
“The Oakley Rodeo is very special to me because in my opinion, it’s one of the best rodeos around, if not the most under-appreciated,” Wise said. “It should be nominated for mid-size outdoor rodeo of the year, every year, it’s that special.”
Wise got his start in rodeo announcing in an unconventional way — a right-time, right-place sort of situation. As a bull rider, he and a group of friends were touring the circuit in Florida, and according to him “chasing women,” when the announcer of the rodeo they were attending couldn’t make it. Wise stepped in. The rest is history.
After fighting his newfound profession for a few years, instead focusing on bull riding and announcing on the side as a way to fund that career, he decided to follow the money and announce full-time.
“It took me about three years since that first rodeo in Florida before I made it my permanent rodeo gig,” Wise said. “I mean they gave me money to do this. So I thought ‘try not to be a moron and just follow the money.’”
Wise has an extensive rodeo background. He began riding bulls when he was 12, doing that for 11 years — five of which were on the professional circuit — before making the full-time switch to announcing.
“It helps that I have the background for being a rodeo announcer, having been around them all my life and my friends,” Wise said. “It allows me to teach the fans something while they’re watching but also knowing when to play it up.”
Even though his bull-riding career was cut short, Wise wouldn’t have it any other way, as he believes that higher powers led him to the path he is on today.
“I love announcing. I love that part when you first pick up the mic and turn it on, and everyone is just waiting for you to speak,” Wise said. “Yeah the travel sucks and the politics of rodeos are, well they are what they are, but I wouldn’t change anything about the way my life has turned out.”
When Wise isn’t announcing rodeos, he’s pursuing another passion, as a leather craftsman. While in Denver one year, he began talking with a man sitting behind him. They quickly formed a special bond and the man, a master leather craftsman, taught Wise the tricks of the trade. Wise eventually opened his own business, Double U Leather.
But his heart has always remained with the rodeo circuit, despite the success of his leather business. Oakley always holds a special place in Wise’s heart. It’s one of his all-time favorite places to be, and he was looking forward to returning and calling the action this week.
“Oh my gosh. The crowds are amazing, the livestock are amazing and the cowboys are amazing,” Wise said. “It’s a very intimate setting to the point where I feel as if I’m amongst the crowd — even when I retire one day, I will always want to announce the Oakley Rodeo.”
For more information about the Oakley Rodeo, which is scheduled to run from July 3-6, go to oakleycity.com/oakley-rodeo.htm.
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