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 Brett Wellden
story by Lindsay King
From one side of the rodeo arena to the next, Brett Wellden from Guthrie, Oklahoma, was once “the world’s worst bareback rider,” but is now a top-of-the line rodeo announcer. “I was also the world’s worst rodeo clown at one point. I came up through high school and a little bit of college in the bareback riding and team roping,” said the former Marine and retired patrol officer. While he was a police officer, Brett continued to ride bareback horses until getting hurt on the weekends was no longer a favorite past time. “I tried to walk away from rodeo when I started working in the narcotics unit, but then I got a phone call that would set the stage for the rest of my life.”
It was from an old Marine buddy, Clint Dickes, who eventually hired Brett to announce a string of bull riding events in Iowa. “He hired me for four rodeos and told me to buy a sound system. Then another guy hired me for about ten more rodeos. I still kind of stuck it at the back of my mind.” Then a bizarre situation involving hay bales and a broken-down cattle truck led Brett to 44 more rodeo gigs. “I had over 50 rodeos on the books before I ever announced anything. I went to Iowa that year and everything that could go wrong, did.” This all took place in 2007, and Brett has been announcing rodeos ever since.
Brett came back to Oklahoma and put in the time to find his groove as an announcer. “Mark McGee, Sam Howry and several other guys that had been there, done that helped me out. I started listening to what they would say and putting my own things together. The next year I announced, it just clicked, and it has been good ever since.” Retiring from the police department early allowed Brett to kick rodeo into high gear. “I am to the point where I will probably rodeo full time next year. I am busy just about every weekend April through October.”
In 2012, Brett was blessed to work with Goobie. Announcing the Rooster Days Rodeo in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, for several years could not prepare Brett for his first performance with Goobie. “He showed up at Rooster Days and I knew he was nervous because he was giving me all these scripts and I told him that I just winged it. About 20 minutes into the rodeo the lights went out but the sound system still worked. It was just him and I for about 30 minutes. We just clicked.” Brett took Goobie with him to Iowa for his typical summer run of almost 40 rodeos. The pair ran together for several years to the point they had to turn away rodeos and then their careers grew enough that they started getting booked separately.
“We have been told we have a life sentence at a couple of rodeos. This has been contagious, it has been fun.” As it turns out, Brett can never get rid of Goobie even if he wanted to as they are related by marriage. “Goobie married into my family, so I am stuck with him. If I could work with anybody every single rodeo, it would be him. I work with a lot of great guys though. We just know each other so well and when I look back on my announcing career Goobie is right there in the middle of it.”
Brett will admit that one of the main ingredients to any success he has enjoyed as an announcer has to do with his children: Chaisey, Garrett and Carmyn. They have all taken care of the music and sound mixes at rodeos across the country at one point or another. “They are all very talented and I couldn’t have done it without them.”
As an Okie, Brett knows the region is blessed with tough competition, ample opportunities to rodeo and a knowledgeable fan base. “We have so much talent here, so when I work an ACRA rodeo I see multiple world champions from the IPRA, PRCA, high school, college, all of the associations. We have so much talent and they are all from right here. Combine that with the history of rodeo, what better place is there to rodeo?”