By: Malcolm Mayhew
| photography by Alex Lepe | Rodeo as a sport is not only a sport—it’s show business. Bob Tallman, the legendary voice of the Fort Worth Stock Show rodeo, is a consummate showman and possibly the finest professional rodeo announcer in the nation. For more than four decades, Tallman has entertained and educated audiences at virtually all of the top rodeos in the country. He made his Fort Worth debut in 1977 at Will Rogers Coliseum. “It’s the only place where I don’t want the Show to end,” Tallman says.
“Bob has such knowledge of the industry, but he’s also full of BS and will gladly spin a yarn,” says Brad Barnes, president and general manager of the Stock Show. “He’s everyone’s friend. Those traits make him a great announcer.”
Barnes says there are three things people ask most frequently about the Stock Show. “Before we voted in the new arena, the No. 1 question was, ‘When are we getting a new arena?’ The second question is, ‘When is Whiplash (the performing monkey) coming back?’ and the third question is always about Bob Tallman. I hate to admit this, but Whiplash did beat him out every time,” Barnes says laughing.
Tallman, 67, enjoys anything involving the Western lifestyle. He and his wife, Kristen, raise cattle on their Weatherford ranch. He’s an astute businessman and currently operates Weatherford-based Pro Vision Global Digital Surveillance (PVGDS). Tallman sold this company to Bert Steindorf, a South Texas oil and gas businessman and entrepreneur, but with it went Tallman and his passion. “Since the day I met Bert, my world and our business, in the last nine months, has catapulted 600 percent.” The company now operates in six states.
Tallman got involved with digital camera surveillance five years ago. The destiny intent at that time was to go into the gas and oil business, primarily the oil field. “Gas, oil, wind and water are the four diverse directions of the energy business,” Tallman says. “Each has monstrous liabilities—in people, equipment to produce energy, and storing, refining, and transmission of the properties. Safety, asset protection and employee accountability require video recording.”
PVGDS has become a solutions organization due to the diversity of the company’s applications in four different divisions—energy, equine, wild game view and commercial real estate.
The relationships built because of his Western lifestyle in rodeo are now opening doors in all the company’s divisions, Tallman says.
“Living and operating the business in Weatherford, the ‘Cutting Horse Capital of the World’ buttressed by Dallas and Tarrant counties, we are now connected coast to coast by high-dollar horse owners,” he says. “Monitoring with digital surveillance from the birth of a new super champion on the tens of thousands of miles those mares and stallions will travel to the rodeo, cutting horse competitions, team roping and barrel racing, we now allow the owners, breeders and competitors 24/7 availability of their valuable equine.”
Good rodeo announcers give details on rides and runs, as well as explain reasons for disqualifications and “no scores.” They know a little about every contestant, and their purpose is to help the rodeo fans understand what’s going on in the arena. In every host city, they know the sponsors, the community leaders and directors of each production. A great announcer knows his audience and makes them feel a part of the rodeo.
Tallman is a raconteur and does all of this and more, says Barnes. “There’ll never be another one like him.”
Tallman was inducted into both the Professional Cowboys Association Hall of Fame and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. He is a six-time recipient of the Announcer of the Year Award.
Bob Tallman Charities, established in 2000, raises nearly $50,000 annually for the pediatric program at University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, an organization that offers financial assistance to families of professional rodeo athletes who have suffered catastrophic injuries.
Tallman’s hometown is Winnemucca, Nev., where he announced his first rodeo in 1970, but he says his heart and soul have for many years belonged to Texas.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If W.R. Watt, Jr. (Stock Show president emeritus) hadn’t have brung me here and Brad Barnes hadn’t have kept me, my success worldwide would not have been possible,” Tallman says. “My favorite city on the planet—Zip Code 76101—still continues to lead me in my global dreaming. Thank you, Fort Worth, Texas.”
Bob and Kristen have one daughter, Nicole, and are grandparents to boy and girl twins, born in Fort Worth during the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.
By: Malcolm Mayhew