An iconic voice in the rodeo community went silent when legendary announcer Hadley Barrett of Kersey died suddenly in early March. After more than 60 years behind the microphone, he was a familiar voice at rodeos around the country.
Many other top announcers learned the tricks of the trade from Barrett, including his son-in-law Randy Corley and friend Wayne Brooks. Barrett had been scheduled to share the announcer’s booth at Rodeo Austin with Brooks this week.
Hadley Barrett was a ProRodeo Hall of Famer and was named announcer of the year many times.
“He just didn’t paint a smile on to look good on camera on ESPN. He’d have had the same smile at a small rodeo even when no one would see his face,” Corley says, “there are a hundred rodeo announcers in the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association and there’s only a small handful that have the ability to own a crowd like Hadley did.”
Barrett was a rodeo competitor before he started announcing and he was a professional musician for many years.
Over his long career Barrett announced at big time rodeos like the national finals in Las Vegas and at much smaller events in places like Eads out in Colorado’s eastern plains.
Barrett was announcing right up to the end of February, his last rodeo was in San Antonio. He spoke with Fox29 there two years ago and said, “if I can make a young man reach down and take his four year old kid by the hand and then when the rodeo is over I see them walking out the gate smiling and laughing. That’s the deal for me. I been there and done it then.”
Hadley Barrett was 87 when he died on March 2.
Randy Corley and Wayne Brooks spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner. Listen to the conversation and see more photos at cpr.org.