|Born||Robert Mathew Tallman
October 25, 1947
Winnemucca, Nevada, U.S.
|Children||Nicole T. Pennell|
Tallman was born in Winnemucca, the seat of Humboldt County in northern Nevada, to John Beedle Tallman (1921–2007) and Irene Esther Tallman (1921–2008). The family first lived on a ranch in Orovada, also in Humboldt County, but then returned to the larger Winnemucca when Tallman was eleven years old. "I was never very good at sports, but I could ride a bucking horse or ride a horse and rope, those kinds of things. Then I found out you have to dedicate your whole life to being a champion. So I thought I haven't got that strong a constitution; I’ll just talk about it," Tallman explained his interest in announcing.
Tallman attributes his success in rodeo and business to his faith in Christ. His early years were carefree and hectic and nearly led to disaster. By 1979, he had been in seven automobile accidents and once narrowly escaped electrocution. An airplane that he was to have boarded in Australia was hijacked.
Full rodeo schedule
In a typical year, Tallman is on the road for 270 days. He announces small-town two-day events, such as the rodeo in Snyder, Texas, as well as the National Finals Rodeo each December from Las Vegas, Nevada. "Most announcers inform, but Bob paints a picture with words. He also reshaped the profession by bringing the play-by-play aspect to rodeo," said Boyd Polhamus of Brenham in Washington County, Texas, a friend and fellow rodeo announcer. Tallman often cheers, "Hang on, cowboy!" or "C'mon, let's give this guy a hand," after a contestant's tough ride or fall.
Previous announcers mostly gave audiences the name of the competitor, the hometown, and name of animal, but Tallman is a raconteur. At a Dallas rodeo in 2004, Tallman told the crowd that roping champion Fred Whitfield had flown home to celebrate his daughter's first birthday during a tight 48-hour window of opportunity. "Now that’s what's really important in life," Tallman said.
Without formal training, Tallman announced his first rodeo in 1970, an amateur event in Winnemucca. In 1975, he announced his first National Finals Rodeo. Since 1977, he has announced the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo of Fort Worth.
In 2004, Tallman was inducted into the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Hall of Fame, the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is a six-time recipient of the "Announcer of the Year" award. In 2007, Tallman was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In September 2008, he was honored at the American Cowboy Culture Awards banquet held during the National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration in Lubbock, Texas. In 2017, Bob was inducted into the Bull Riding Hall of Fame in the Legends category.
Tallman has also appeared in several films as a rodeo announcer, including Rodeo Girl (1980), Pure Country (1992), Ruby Jean and Joe (1996), The Hi-Lo Country (1998), and Flicka (2006), loosely based on the 1941 novel by Mary O'Hara, origin of the old CBS television series My Friend Flicka. He appeared as himself in two episodes of the 2008-2009 Animal Planet television series Untamed and Uncut.
Tallman and his wife, Kristen, raise rodeo stock on their ranch at Poolville near Weatherford, the seat of Parker County, Texas. They are assisted in the management of the ranch by their daughter and son-in-law, Nicole and Daniel Pennell. His Tallman Rodeo Stock Registry is patterned after that of the American Quarter Horse Association in Amarillo, Texas. Tallman says that while he enjoys ranching, his radio microphone still remains his lifeline to reach those in need of entertainment or inspiration.
Tallman sells Texas-style seasonings for beef, pork, and chicken through the Internet. The brands include Stampede Steak and Panhandle Pepper. He is also the commercial spokesman for Wrangler shirts, Ariat Boots, and Winn-Dixie beef.
His 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.
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- The quotation is from rodeo producer Bob Thain of Alturas, California.
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