No disrespect to the PBR, but Brandon Bates would rather have a bow in his hand than a microphone.
Bates, who has been the in-arena announcer for the past 10 years for the Professional Bull Riders, also is executive producer and co-host of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's television show “Team Elk” which is broadcast on the Outdoor Channel.
Last year Bates hunted elk in five Western states for the television show and occasionally has bull riders such as Austin Meier of Kinta along on the hunting trips.
“I appreciate and respect the job I have with the PBR, but that is definitely the dream job,” Bates said. “It's probably the one that means the most to me. I really, really enjoy that.”
Bates' passion is the outdoors, especially big-game hunting. The Edmond resident even sold his home in Oak Tree so he could move to a place with a bigger backyard so he could shoot his bow.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation partners with the PBR which led to Bates' involvement with the television show. It premiered last year and is the first television program fully owned and produced by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
It was voted the Fan Favorite Best New Series on the Outdoor Channel. Season two has been filmed and will begin airing in July.
Most of the show involves hunting elk, but some mule deer hunts also have been included.
“It doesn't have to be elk, but it better be in elk country,” Bates said of the show.
Bates said The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is making a difference for the future of elk and elk hunters. It has conserved 6 million acres for elk habitat since the organization was formed in 1984 and wildlife conservation is an important message of the television show, he said.
“We want to portray the fact that hunting is conservation,” said Bates, who emphasizes that it is hunters and anglers who pay for wildlife conservation through taxes on hunting and fishing gear.
“A lot of people don't even know that,” he said. “I truly enjoy and have a deep love for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation just for what they do. People need malls but there are certain places that we believe need to remain wild.”
One place where Bates hasn't hunted elk is in Oklahoma. He tries to win a tag every year for the elk hunts on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge but has yet to be chosen. However, Team Elk did film a show on the refuge last year after a friend of Bates was drawn for an elk hunt.
“I lived in Oklahoma a long time and I really didn't know what was down there,” Bates said. “That place is amazing. It's absolutely incredible. Thank God we had a president like Theodore Roosevelt.”