Brandon Bates got his start in announcing by introducing the starting lineups at Atoka High School basketball games.
“I wasn't scared to talk on the microphone and I knew it would get me out of class,” said Bates, who for the past 10 years has been the arena voice for the PBR.
The Edmond resident wears many hats. In addition to working for the PBR as the arena announcer, Bates, 32, also is executive director of the Express Sports Agency in Oklahoma City.
The agency handles endorsements for Oklahoma bull riders such as Austin Meier and Ryan Dirteater and rodeo cowboys such as Hunter Herrin and Billy Etbauer.
He also works for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, where he is executive producer and co-host for the organization's television show, Team Elk, which is broadcast on the Outdoor Channel.
But it is his job with the PBR for which he is best known.
His career with a microphone began in Atoka where he finished high school after persuading his parents to let him move from Louisiana to Oklahoma and live with his grandparents in Atoka County.
“As I grew up, I spent my summers in Oklahoma,” Bates said. “I just really liked Oklahoma. By the time I was 14 or 15, I somehow convinced my mom to let me move in with my grandparents, all because I just really wanted to live in the country.”
Upon discovering at the high school basketball games that he had a knack for announcing, Bates starting looking for similar work where he could find it.
“The first Western event where I picked up a microphone at was the Atoka Trail Riders Play Day on a Wednesday night when I was a senior in high school,” Bates said.
Bates loved the rodeo life and had began riding bulls at age 12. He started announcing at rodeos in exchange for his bull riding entry fee.