“The judge would stick around for me,” Bates said. “I would usually get drilled. For a long time I did that until I finally quit riding bulls and started focusing on the announcing.”
At age 20, Bates was the youngest announcer to ever earn a PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) card.
He worked as the announcer at small rodeos to eventually prestigious events such as the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo and the National Circuit Finals Rodeo.
While living in Atoka, Bates had met Mark Cain, one of the 20 original founders of the PBR. When announcer Justin McKee became the television host for the PBR in 2002, Bates took over as the announcer in the arena.
He was offered 18 events in 2002, and it's turned into 10 years. He has called PBR events at some of the most famous arenas in the country, such as Madison Square Garden in New York City.
About the only thing lacking on his resume is announcing the National Finals Rodeo, but Bates said that's not a career goal.
“If I don't ever do the NFR (National Finals Rodeo), I really don't care,” Bates said. “I did the PBR Finals and that was my NFR. I have a lot of respect for that rodeo, don't get me wrong.
“The NFR means a lot of to me as a fan, but I don't lie in bed at night wondering if I am going to do the NFR. The PBR, to me, is currently the marquee Western event out there.”