In rodeo arenas around the world, Bob Tallman is legendary. He'd hoped that status would come as a competitor.
"All I ever really wanted to be was a cowboy," he said. "I did not have the dedication and the practice."
He does have the gift of gab and the ability to paint the picture of the action in the arena.
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"My grandfather was a politician. My father was a storyteller. And it became easy and natural for me to tell stories about my friends. Then they started paying me to do it! I got a hundred dollars the first time I did it," he smiled.
"It's at the top," Tallman paused, then quickly explained why. "My wife Kristen deserves this award -- 51 years I have drug this woman all over the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand."
She's from California; He's from Nevada yet home is Parker County, a place Tallman has stayed close to during the pandemic.
"We shut down the biggest, richest rodeo in the world in Houston. I go seven months - April, May, June, July, August. I go into September before I go to a rodeo in Abilene, the West Texas Fair," Tallman said.
Tallman was okay with it all; he's learned to have other irons in the fire.
And now, it's back to the rodeo business. He'll work a record 26th National Finals Rodeo during the competition at Globe Life Field in Arlington Dec. 3 -12. NFR relocated from Las Vegas in 2020 due to the pandemic.
"I'm lucky I get to work in my own backyard. Parker county guy, get to come to the city," Tallman joked. "We got the toys and we're gonna use 'em. We got things we're gonna fire off in there that go 80' in the air. We've got production people that are gonna light your fire and you're gonna feel the heat. And then we're gonna buck 'em and run 'em and chase 'em, and oh, I'm excited!"
A bigger production; a bigger stage for a story teller.
"I have got to get a hold of that audience so they know where I'm at. They need to trust me. They need to understand that when I say, 'yippee, yay, yoh,' they go 'yippee, yah, yo.' When I go, 'Ohhh,' they go, 'oh."
Tallman has honed his craft over the year, never taking his vocal ability for granted.
"I've had an opera teacher teach me how to breathe; 40 years ago, of how to put air into your system and let lt it out slow," he said. "I've had psychologists teach me how to think and act 'cuz you think and you have to act."
It turns out Tallman did have the dedication and practice to be the best.
A story - gold buckle worthy.
Tallman will be honored Monday night at the Wrangler Gold Buckle Gala at Billy Bob's Texas in Fort Worth.