Boyd Polhamus, one of the premier rodeo announcers in the business, has been part of the production of the Snake River Stampede for nearly two decades. He will be back on the microphone – and on horseback – at the Stampede again this year.
Boyd Polhamus, has been a part of the Stampede family since 1994. Twenty three ago, he announced a college rodeo in Uvalde, Texas. He got the job by pretending to be a rodeo announcer in his college’s practice arena at the same time he was competing as a cowboy. The pretending ended in October of 1985, and a career was born.
No one, not even Polhamus, could have imagined what the next two decades would bring. His resume now includes 18 stints as an announcer at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. Only Hall of Famers Bob Tallman and the late Cy Taillon have been selected that many times. He has also been the alternate announcer at the WNFR four times.
Polhamus considers this job to be the pinnacle of his profession and he reached it at the age of 26 when he was selected to call the play at his first National Finals Rodeo.
One of the highlights of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association convention held every December in Las Vegas is the awards banquet. It is there that professional rodeo honors its best from bullfighters, to stock contractors to rodeos to announcers. In 2007, Polhamus, an 11-time nominee who had given up ever winning the award was the most surprised person of the evening when his name was called. He was definitely the sentimental favorite of the night and easily the most emotional recipient.
“I’m just kind of floating,” the choked-up Polhamus said, following the announcement of his win. “After being nominated 10 times, I had decided they weren’t ever going to give me the award so it was a big surprise.” One of the reasons it seemed he was continually passed over was his best friend and fellow announcer Bob Tallman. During the years that Polhamus was nominated in the past, the older and more established Tallman won the award seven times.
“I honestly think Bob was the happiest person in the room to see me win the award,” Polhamus said. “I have always felt that, probably save ProRodeo Hall of Fame induction, Announcer of the Year was the most rewarding one that anybody in my profession could get. You don’t win it. It is given to you and it’s given by your peers. It’s probably the most meaningful thing that’s happened to me in the 27 years I’ve announced.”
After winning the award the first time in 2007, he repeated the honor two more years.
Polhamus will be back on the microphone at the Stampede this year for the 18th year in a row. He first came to the Stampede in 1994 when the rodeo was still held outdoors.
Concerning the Snake River Stampede, Polhamus doesn’t hesitate to say, “I don’t know of a better rodeo anywhere. There are a select few rodeos that are just as good but none better. The SRS is up there with the big boys.”
“Better than I deserve…” is Polhamus’ most common response to the question, “How are you?” He says that comment most accurately describes both his professional and family life. His career demands nearly 300 travel days a year. He says his wife, Sandee, is both his best friend and best advisor.
“There’s too much in my life that is right that I have no control over, so it’s got to be God,” he says. “Everything good that’s happened in my life can be traced back to a friend or family member who went out of their way to help me. Well, you don’t buy your friends at a department store; God puts them in your life. I can only hope I’ve treated them as well as they’ve treated me.”
On those rare occasions when he can be found at home, Polhamus enjoys team roping, the Green Bay Packers, and working with his cattle on the Band-Aid Ranch in Brenham, Texas.