story by Lindsay King If Andee Jo Haden has anything to be proud of, it’s the barrel horse she’s made out of her gelding Superman. […]
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Meet the Member: Brandon Wren
story by Kyle Eustice
The first time Coweta, Okla. native Brandon Wren got on a bull, he was hooked. The adrenaline rush he felt was like unlike anything he had experienced before—even during his time as a wide receiver on the Coweta High School football team.
“Bull riding was more fun and exciting,” said Brandon. “It was awesome and something I wanted to pursue.”
When Brendon was 15, he entered his first open rodeo in Coweta while juggling his school work, but his life was about to change in ways he couldn’t have imagined. In 1996, his high school sweetheart and current wife Tabitha announced she was having their first daughter, Makayla. Although it was a huge responsibility for the young aspiring bull rider, it’s something he credits for making him the man he is today. Brandon and Tabitha got married in 1997 and had another daughter, Madison, who is now 15.
As an announcer for the ACRA and resident of Haskell, Okla., 37-year-old Brandon doesn’t go anywhere without Makayla, 19, who is his sound tech. She helps set up his sound system and makes sure everything is running smoothly.
“If she doesn’t go, I don’t go,” said Brandon. “We’re a package deal.”
Rodeo is a family affair for the Wrens. His wife is a secretary and timer and youngest daughter Madison helps her mother with secretarial duties. They routinely travel in pairs from event to event. Eighteen years in, Brandon commands each event with his booming voice and sheer confidence. It took him a few times, however, to get over his initial stage fright.
“My friends thought I was crazy, but knew I would end up there,” explained Brandon. “I was really shy at first and didn’t like talking to people. lt took four or five shows to come out of that shell. I finally realized everyone is there to have a good time, which helped pull me out of that shyness.
“I was terrified the first time,” added Brandon. “I was sweating bullets the whole time. It was absolutely nerve racking. I wrote an entire script down and finally got into my comfort zone after a few tries.”
These days, nothing is scripted. He calls it “Script 1A,” which means whatever he comes up with is par for the course. It provides for some funny moments. In 2012, he was announcing an event at an Iowa State Fair when a transformer blew. Rather than shut the event down, he ran to his truck and grabbed a generator.
“I hooked up one speaker, my mixer and a laptop—just enough so I could talk,” remembered Brandon. “I bought this laser light deal at a garage sale and it was the only light we had, so I hooked it up to the announcer stand and pointed it towards the arena. We basically turned it into a disco and for two hours had a great time.”
That’s essentially the philosophy Brandon lives by; whatever life throws at you, roll with the punches.
“If you’re not having fun, no one is having fun,” said Brandon. “You have to have fun first no matter what happens.”
As the Director for Wagoner County Emergency Management, Brandon stays extremely busy responding to natural disasters, including tornados, which Oklahoma gets a lot of during the summer. In between time, he’s preparing for rodeo events and nurturing his journalism career. His work has been featured with Texas Ranch and Rodeo Weekly, and he previously worked as a radio host for True Cowboy Radio. Although he retired from bull riding in 2000, rodeo is still something he loves to do and something he will never give up.