Chris Rankin is More Than JUST A VOICE
It takes a small army of men and women to produce a bull riding the magnitude of the national Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour events.
“We mostly recognize the elite athletes that compete, this week I would like to take the opportunity to recognize a Tuff As Nails guy who was recently awarded yet another accolade from the rodeo industry,” said 4-time World Champion and Pro Rodeo Hall of Famer, Tuff Hedeman.
Known for keeping the energy level high and a quick wit, Chris Rankin is the voice of the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour and was just tapped for the Cowboy Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) Announcer of the Year for the sixth time (2004-2008 and 2018).
Chris began his announcing career in 2000, and through the years his talent was recognized not only by Hedeman, but the National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA) selected Rankin to announce their Finals (2015-2018); the Jr. High School Rodeo Association Finals, the Texas Jr. High and High School Finals, and about 50 rodeos and bull ridings around the country.
“I do it, more or less, because I get to see the future,” he said regarding the NHSRA Finals.
"To some, this is part of America that no longer exists but to so many like at these youth events, it still represents the present and their future,” continued Rankin.
Rankin enjoys being involved and supporting high school rodeo because of the opportunities it presents to the young cowboys and cowgirls around the nation, including paying for college educations.
But what many do not know, in addition to his announcing duties, he was tapped years ago by Hedeman as his Production Manager both for CBR and for the THBRT.
What is game day like for Chris Rankin? His day begins on location at 5 am unloading trucks and staging followed by set up, crew meetings, production meetings, sound and video board checks. He supervises every aspect of the production including bulls unloading, bull rider check-in and bullfighter arrival. He opens the building for public relations interviews, keeping a change of clothes in his truck so he can also pinch hit for Hedeman on the morning news before Hedeman arrives on location.
He has one job – to see that the world created by Tuff Hedeman is in order.
For a guy who is afraid of heights, sometimes his job can be challenging.
"There are so many working parts in producing a live event and you have to have great help to make it all come together, my most challenging is everyone on this crew wears a lot of different hats and just making sure each person knows exactly what to do and when, is my greatest challenge, but they haven’t let us down yet.”
"Secret to a good event is you have to have good help, and we have hands down the best crew we have ever had – right now," said Rankin.
"A good example has twice the value of good advice,” said Rankin about why he and his family produce the annual Baytown Youth Fair and Rodeo Bull riding which is sanctioned by the Tuff Hedeman Breakout Series.
Chris Rankin grew up in the area, and this is his way of giving back – bringing a top-flight event to Baytown each year to benefit the youth livestock exhibitors of the Baytown Fair and Rodeo.
"Events like these are crucial to our sport and are created to give bull riders the opportunity to "break out" and be noticed alongside some of the industry greats, and it is imperative the events at this level survive, and I am just there to help out if I can," said Hedeman.
Rankin produces the TH Baytown Breakout Series with a little help from his friends (and family). Wife Ida, boys Coleby and Tyler, and many other relatives and friends can be found in and out of the arena. Chris and his family live in Normangee, Texas.
Chris credits his 18-year career behind the microphone with being at the right place at the right time so who better to recognize young talent in the bull riding world.
Chris, shying away from the attention and awards bestowed upon him, quickly turned the attention to his Tuff As Nails picks from his summer run of rodeo and bull riding.
Coy Pollmeier, Fort Scott, Kansas
"He's a kid that has been to the NHSRF, that's where I first saw him, He's a senior this year and two time Reserve National High School Champion. Tuff invited him to Huron and what really impressed me was he drew Kookaburra (JC Knapp), a bull that rarely gets ridden, but he took him a long way, and he never gave up on a bull that throws most people off quick. He was on the biggest stage and gave it all he had on a bull everyone else knows his hard to get around most were glad they didn’t draw.”
*Pollmeier earned a qualifying score at the TH Breakout event on night one in Huron. Hedeman liked what he saw and brought him back on night two for his first THBRT event where he advanced to the Semifinal round in his first THBRT event.
JT Moore – "We have seen JT before, but he is riding on a different level right now and seems to have it all together, his fundamentals are comparable to Sage Kimzey, he never gets out of position, and I look forward to seeing how the next year plays out for him - I saw him on Hat Brand Rodeo company’s Scooby in Navasota, and he was 92 points on him. Scooby is the same bull that bucked off Trey Benton at Tuff’s event in Fort Worth.”
*JT Moore is 9 for 11 or 82% ride average in 2018 PRCA events.
Hunter Ball, Deckerville, Michigan
"Here's an old-school cowboy coming from Michigan who has come in from the Breakout Series and he finished 3rd in the TH Midwest Spring Series. He joins Trey Holston riding for the rodeo team at Fort Scott Community College this year.
GOLDEN CHOPSTICKS AWARD
Sapporo Steakhouse in Rock Springs Wyoming. “I ate there four days in a row during the High School Finals, who would have thought the best place for a steak in Wyoming would be the Japanese Steakhouse.”
You can hear Chris, the voice of the TH tour, next up at the Nicky Wheeler Memorial on October 6 at Jacksonville, Texas. TH Nicky Wheeler Memorial Tickets available here.
Rankin oversees the production while announcing the THBRT events.