Twirp Anderson, the man behind the voice of the Snowmass Rodeo Series for all but one of the past 30 years, is back.
Anderson's familiar rodeo commentary was absent from last year's series - the first time since 1973 - after the town awarded the contract to Frahm's Rimrock Rodeo Co., which hired its own announcer. But the Snowmass Western Heritage Association (SWHA), which has taken over the reins of this years Snowmass Rodeo Series, has named Anderson its man.
"Well pard', it's good to see the locals get [the rodeo] back again," Anderson said.
Anderson, who grew up on a ranch in Idaho before moving to the Roaring Fork Valley close to 40 years ago, became involved with the Snowmass Rodeo in 1973.
"He was one of the people who planted the original post holes for that arena," Arnie Mordkin, a town council member and rodeo fan, said about Anderson.
A competitive saddle bronc rider in those early days, Anderson worked out a deal with the Snowmass Rodeo.
"They'd [waive] my entry fee for announcing the rodeo, and that's how I got into rodeo announcing," Anderson said. "It's a good thing I didn't have to make a living riding broncs."
When he stopped competing in the mid 1970s, he became the full-time announcer, and over the next 30 years, he became an icon in the Snowmass Rodeo.
"He's a great guy, he knows the rodeo business and the game," Mordkin said. "He was a rodeo performer and he's got a good audience banter.
"Last year, they had a guy from Grand Junction, he'd never announced a rodeo before."
Anderson's daughter, Wendy Anderson, who owns the Novel Tea Shop in Carbondale, said she's glad her dad will be a part of the rodeo again. His voice, she said, lends itself to the cowboy tradition and provided some familiarity to a "dying culture."
"Things have changed here a lot," she said. "But I think that's the thing with my dad is the sense of familiarity - he did the rodeo for 30 years."
Wendy said her dad didn't take it personally when Frahm's Rimrock Rodeo Co. hired another announcer.
"When he found out he wasn't doing the rodeo, it was no big deal," she said. "I admire that he allowed for the changes and to see if someone else could do it."
But apparently nobody else could do it like Anderson.
"I know people are really glad he's going to be back at it," she said. "I know he's glad to be back at it."
Anderson, who used to offer pack trips and trail rides in the valley, now divides his time between fitting horseshoes and playing music with John Sommers, who played in John Denver's band and wrote "Thank God I'm a Country Boy."
The duo will play before the rodeo every Wednesday night, with Anderson on guitar and Sommers on fiddle, banjo, and mandolin.
Anderson will not announce the Saturday rodeos, since he and Sommers have weekend music commitments throughout the summer.
This year's Snowmass Rodeo Series kicks off Wednesday, June 23, and will be held every Wednesday and Saturday through August at the Snowmass Village Rodeo Grounds.
Live music, barbecue, and children's activities will accompany every rodeo, and daily horseback rides and educational events will be offered by the SWHA at the rodeo grounds throughout the summer.
Steve Benson's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org