Just days after the 2017 San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo ended, one of its most iconic figures passed away at age 87. Hadley Barrett, the voice of the San Antonio Rodeo for 28 years, died on March 2. Details on his passing are forthcoming, rodeo officials stated in a news release Tuesday.
Barrett joined the San Antonio Rodeo as its announcer in 1999 and quickly became a beloved part of the event that drew more than 2 million visitors to its grounds in 2016.
“Hadley had the unique ability to explain idiosyncrasies of rodeo to those less familiar with the sport – he intimately knew the resume of the contestants, would explain the scoring system, and even knew the demeanor and habits of the bucking stock,” the release stated.
Barrett was well-known for his jovial interviews with the rodeo’s youngest contestants, the winners of the crowd-favorite Mutton Bustin’, as well as his heartfelt tributes to U.S. servicemen and women.
“He will perhaps be most remembered for his faithful, heartfelt opening invocation at every Rodeo,” according to the release.
In his younger years, Barrett competed in rodeos as a bareback bronc and bull rider. In 1960, he filled in for an announcer in his home state of Nebraska and found his calling as a rodeo host.
Barrett was named PRCA Announcer of the Year on four separate occasions and was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1999.
He is also listed as having portrayed a rodeo announcer in the 1994 film “8 Seconds.”
The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo was established in 1949 and drew more than 250,000 people in its first exposition in 1950. The rodeo moved from the Freeman Coliseum to the SBC Center – today known as the AT&T Center – in 2003, allowing for larger crowds and expanded exhibition space.
“Of all the years I’ve been announcing, that San Antonio Finals was the best rodeo I have ever announced,” Barrett told rodeo officials in a meeting after the 2017 rodeo concluded.