Youngest Int'l Finals Rodeo Announcer Makes Debut In OKC

Sunday, January 19th 2014, 6:07 pm
By: News 9

It's the Super Bowl of rodeo, the International Finals Rodeo, where cowboys and cowgirls compete for world championship titles right here in Oklahoma City. But this year, one cowboy made history just for showing up, and it wasn't to compete.

His name is Garrett Yerigan, and at just 19 years old, he is the youngest announcer for the IFR.

"It's always been something I've been passionate about, to be here where I am today," he said. "It's truly a dream come true."

This isn't Yerigan's first rodeo. He grew up at the rodeo. His dad, Dale Yerigan, was an 11-time World Champion steer wrestler and current general manager of IPRA. His mother, Kathy, was a champion barrel racer. But Garrett never had his eye on the arena, not as competitor anyway.

"Never competed," he said with a smile. "I never really got the itch for it as we say."

But instead he longed the hold the microphone and got his chance early. 

"We have slack after the performance, which is the excess of contestants that don't go into the paid performance and most of the time the announcer really wouldn't want to do it, so I would offer to go up there and take care of it for them," he remembers. "Most of the time they would say yes and it just snowballed from there."

Garrett went on to doing youth rodeo and at age 12, did his first professionally sanctioned rodeo. Now, he can add the big one, the IFR.

"It's kind of surreal actually," he said. "I'm sure it will set in in a couple of days. It's definitely a very big honor for me to be able to come in here and do it."

To say he's living the dream would be an understatement. But Yerigan stays grounded in his roots, bringing the excitement of the rodeo to the fans in the stands.

"We have this saying that you can go to the penthouse to the outhouse real fast, so the excitement of the 90 point ride and the fast runs and from the zero to hero, that's probably the best part, is just being able to see those ups and downs  and go right with the cowboys, watch them progress," he said. "We get excited, we get the crowd into it and that's our job to make people feel the energy."

An excitement he hopes to ride out as long as he can.

"As long as the good Lord will let me keep doing what I love, I'm gonna keep doing it and the best part is, I get paid to do it," he said.

Yerigan also says the best compliment he could get is to be asked to come back next year, so that's exactly what he's hoping will happen. The IFR, in its 44th year, ended Sunday at the Oklahoma City State Fair arena.