HOUSTON — High above the dirt stage, the chutes and the tens of thousands of people herded into NRG Stadium, one sound is unmistakable.
“Hello, Houston!” Bob Tallman says.
Nothing says "rodeo" like the voice of the legendary rodeo announcer.
“I love doing that,” Tallman said.
For 50 years Tallman has been announcing rodeo, and since 1982 he's been the voice of Rodeo Houston.
“Tell me a story. I'll be your friend," Tallman said of his style.
The rodeo isn't the only thing he's passionate about. For Tallman, Houston is bigger than the rodeo.
“Everybody has to have a love of something that you want to give back to,” he said.
His inspiration for the something he wants to give back to came from his friend and former Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo COO Leroy Shafer, whose son Aaron was just 22 when he lost his battle with cancer. Now, he's made it his life's work to help other children beat it.
“Children are defenseless," Tallman said overcome with emotion.
For 23 years, Bob Tallman's Children's Charities has raised money for MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital.
Tallman has become a household name in the rodeo community and beyond.
“The stories that I know of living on the road with them watching their families grow," Tallman said.
With a candor that fans and athletes alike seem to appreciate.
From the city to the country, Tallman's down-to-earth persona is just who he really is. Authentic.
“You see horses in a pasture you see cattle, you've got to teach them how to relate to it and where we come from and all this," Tallman said.
When you speak to Tallman, you realize he resonates with people because he's lived it.
“I was raised in a wild west,” he said.
He grew up in Northern Nevada, and given the choice to pursue golf or rodeo, Tallman chose bucking broncos over birdies. But he admits he knew he wasn't going to make it as a rodeo athlete.
“I was a little guy. Pretty frail. Kind of a weenie arm," Tallman said. "You know, I was a good six seconds buckin’ horse rider, that was it. But I love telling stories about my friends," Tallman said.
He got his start hanging up speakers in little towns in Nevada, California and Idaho. One night he got paid $100 to announce and he never looked back. He said he's always had two or three jobs at a time, but it's been a journey filled with people and places that have shaped his life.
"I've been very blessed with a lot of wonderful people," Tallman said.
He's traveled all over North America, announcing rodeos, and since the days of the Astrodome, Tallman has seen it all at Rodeo Houston.