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