Meet your 2016 RNCFR Announcer… Mr. Roger Mooney
Since he was big enough to walk, Roger Mooney has been raising cattle in his hometown of Ellijay, Georgia. He still lives on the farm where he was raised with seven generations. He has, in his own words, “always been a cowboy”.
You might wonder, How does a cowboy begin a career as a rodeo announcer? In 1984, Roger was a rodeo contestant competing in a college rodeo in Tifton, Georgia. Little did he know, this is where his rodeo announcing career would begin.
Roger was getting ready to compete when his rodeo coach came behind the chutes to inform the cowboys that the rodeo announcer scheduled to announce that night had a sudden heart attack. With 3,500 fans waiting in the stands, Roger’s rodeo coach said, “Alright, which one of you is the biggest ham?” Unanimously, Roger was elected. Needless to say, this was his true calling! He loves entertaining folks he calls friends.
By “luck of the draw”, Roger took to the microphone and never looked back. After the rodeo was over, Roger was quickly approached to book other rodeos. He said, ”Let me check my book.” Being the ham that he is, of course he didn’t have a book, but he needed one because his schedule was filling up fast.
“People say timing is everything. Well, for me, timing WAS everything,” he says. Roger knew then that he should be announcing rather than roping or wrestling cattle and steers. He said it didn’t hurt that this gig was guaranteed money every time. For a college student, making a few hundred bucks that quick was a true blessing.
Today, Roger has announced as many as 63 rodeos in one season. In 31 years, he has announced approximately 4,000 rodeos and counting. Traveling 45-49 weeks a year, Roger stays very busy on the road. He said travel is the best and the worst part about his career. It helps that he has such a supportive family. His beautiful wife, Ashley Mooney, and his two kiddos just adore him. We’ve seen this firsthand! His wife Ashley travels with him from time to time and assists from the audio booths.
We were fortunate enough to spend a little time with Roger. We asked him if he was nervous during that first rodeo. He responded that he had no fear going into is since he was just thrown into the arena. “I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I took one foot out of the stirrups and let the feathers fly.” He told us it doesn’t matter if there are 300 fans in the stands or 35,000, those are all his friends. “When people put their lives and wives on the line, there is a big responsibility to deliver. I carry that with me and get the job done.”
Rodeo bloopers always give us a great laugh. Roger’s had many blooper moments. Choosing only one to share with us was difficult for him. “I was in Del Rio, Texas announcing. I wanted to learn how to say, ‘I want to be the big cat daddy’ in Spanish.” So he asked a friend, Jaime Garza, how to say it properly in Spanish. He practiced the line until he got it right, then repeated it to the crowd. Well, after the rodeo, during an autograph session, fans couldn’t help but laugh at Roger. One man finally came up to Roger and said, “Man, you are funny.” He was beaming. Roger later found out that Jaime actually taught him to say, “I have a big cat in my pants.” His buddy pulled one over on him!
Roger shared with us that his dear friend Bob Tallman is his role model. He told us he has learned a lot from Bob over the years. According to Roger, “Bob Tallman didn’t teach us to walk on water, but he sure showed us where the rocks were!” At the RAM National Circuit Finals, we are truly fortunate to have both of these amazing men announce our rodeo.
Roger announced our very first RNCFR hosted here in Kissimmee last year, and he will be making his debut for the second time this April. We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Roger and Bob back to the Silver Spurs Arena. Roger has traveled to Kissimmee a few times. “The people are the best part about Kissimmee. The people and the facility are top notch. I am looking forward to a return to Kissimmee.”
Roger has no plans of slowing down or retiring anytime soon. “I will work until the day they plant me,” he says. He calls his career a true labor of love.
From under the hat quote: “Your strongest timber never grows in the shade.” – Roger Mooney’s grandfather