RAPID CITY JOURNAL February 4, 2012
Local voices of rodeo are featured

Rodeo is more than the confusion of cowboys and livestock running around a rodeo arena. What turns the disarray into a real rodeo and enhances the experience are the announcers, the voices resounding throughout the arena providing information and insight.

The 6,000-plus people in attendance at Tuesday's Black Hills Stock Show Ranch Rodeo listened to a couple of the best as Dale Christensen and "Sugar" Ray Quinn, a couple of men with local roots and rodeo backgrounds, entertained and enlightened the crowd.

The two men bring more than simply a loud voice with a cowboy twang to the rodeo arena, both have impressive rodeo resumes.

Christensen, a Kadoka insurance salesman, grew up around horses and cattle and rodeoed in his younger, wilder days.

"I did some rodeo, though I never made much money at it. I did everything but bull riding and wasn't very good at any of them," Christensen said. "Then about 10 years ago, I was up at Seven Downs Arena in Spearfish training horses and was asked if I would help announce a ranch rodeo. I did and some people heard me, and I started out with some youth rodeos, and it just kind of blossomed from there."

Rapid City native Ray Quinn is also known to area sports fans as the voice of the Rapid City Rush, a role he filled for three years until relocating to the Omaha, Neb., area last year.

Quinn, who has a broadcast journalism degree from South Dakota State University, cultivated his rodeo announcing talents the hard way, while fighting bulls in the rodeo ring.

"We lived next to a rodeo family in Rapid, and I went to a Black Hills Stock Show back in 1979 and saw the bull fighters in action and said, I think I can do that,'" Quinn said. "I don' think my parents were too excited about the choice, but I got to travel all over the country and make a living out of it for 12 years. While I was doing it, I heard the best announcers in the business and some of the not so best, and learned what I wanted and didn't want to do when I became a rodeo announcer."

The ability of the two to share the microphone so seamlessly is a little bit luck and a shared appreciation of rodeo and its people, according to Christensen.

"Ray and I have worked together for four years at the ranch rodeo, the only time we have actually worked together," said Christensen, who estimates that he works 20 rodeos a year. "I have worked with different announcers and sometimes it just clicks, and Ray and I just seem to do that together."

Quinn works approximately 10 rodeos a year and would like to expand upon that number. He also mentioned that the two men are hoping to combine their talents and do rodeo events in the future.

"I think we complement each other because we don't have egos," Quinn said. "We are both in our 40s, and I think we share a belief that any time you can make the other person look good you make yourself look good, too."

 

   

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