ELKO — As the Silver State Stampede gets underway, there will be excitement, action and a new man on the mic.
Gone forever — except for in our memories — will be the ultra-talented, well-spoken voice of rodeo announcer Chad Nicholson.
Nicholson announced rodeos for a quarter of a century — beginning his career in 1993 — and has called the RAM National Circuit Finals (2002), three Wilderness Circuit Finals, two Mountain States Circuit Finals, five California Circuit Finals and a Turquoise Circuit Final.
He was the 2005 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association announcer of the year and has emceed ProRodeo Hall of Fame Ceremonies and the 2018 PRCA Awards Banquet in Las Vegas.
Annually, Nicholson traveled to and announced 100-plus rodeos per year.
From 2015 through 2018, he was the man behind the mic of four Silver State Stampedes.
Nicholson was an extremely-unselfish man, routinely putting others before himself.
He died in the same fashion on May 17 outside Woodlake, California.
Nicholson was helping pull a vehicle that slid off the road and got stuck, but a tow strap broke and sent his Jeep over a steep embankment — Nicholson partially ejected before the vehicle rolled over him.
He was 50 years old.
A healthy number of rodeo fans may have seen the trick riding and roping of the Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls, but many may not know the matriarch of the specialty act is none other than Chad’s widow, Jennifer Nicholson.
Nicholson and the Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls picked up the pieces of broken hearts and have continued to perform, including recently at the Reno Rodeo.
Chad Nicholson’s body has left this world, but the impact he left on it remain — forever touching those he met, talked to, helped and been in the presence of.
In 2005, at the urging of Class of 2004 ProRodeo Hall of Fame announcer and friend Bob Tallman, Nicholson started the Chad Nicholson Rodeo Announcer’s School — which has now graduated more than 130 students from the United States, Canada and Australia.
He made famous his signature “If Old Glory Could Speak” tribute to the American flag during every grand entry, one which was and is a fan favorite.
The Stampede announcer for 2019 is Jody Carper — the two-time voice of the RAM National Circuit Finals (2010, 2011) — and Carper is giving back a large portion of his income from the Stampede.
“Well, the contract for the announcer is $4,500. Jody just wants to take $1,500 to cover the expenses of his trip — meals, hotel room and transportation costs — and he’s giving $3,000 to Chad’s wife,” said Stampede President Alkie Mariluch.
Nicholson eloquently stated before every rodeo performance during his recital of the “Cowboy Prayer,” written by Clem McSpadden, “when we make that last inevitable ride to the country up there — where the grass grows green, lush and stirrup high and the water runs cool, clear and deep — that you, as our last judge, will tell us that our entry fees are paid.”
Chad Nicholson’s entry fee to Heaven was paid long ago.