“South Bound and Down. The louder you cheer the faster they get here.”
Those are the familiar and comforting words of Les McIntyre and if you’ve ever sat in the Grandstands of the Dawson Creek Exhibition and Stampede it’s about as settling as your grandmother’s cooking.
McIntyre calls rodeo and chuckwagon action a lot like two old friends on the back porch sharing a cold one.
He’ll slip a joke in about a Ram truck, a grand tour around the arena, or a small river in Chester, Alberta.
“Sometimes, I get to a place where my mouth is at the finish line and my head is still doing a practice lap,”McIntyre says in a self-deprecating moment during Sunday’s Rodeo action.
It’s times like this that endure the long-time rodeo announcer to crowds and fans across Canada.
That casual nature comes with more than 20 years of experience and about 15 stops on the rodeo and chuckwagon circuit each summer.
Of all those stops of course, there’s always a special circle on the calendar for Dawson Creek.
“I think this is my 22 or 23 year coming to Dawson Creek and I’ve been doing wagon races for over 30 years,” McIntyre said. “It’s always fun to come here. It’s a great community; a great area. Pretty country. Of course ,the Dawson Creek rodeo is the 10th of 11 on the wrangler pro series. So you’re going to get top cowboys and the best bucking stock in the world with Kesler rodeo.”
During the rodeo competition, McIntyre tells the audience everything from the cowboys and cowgirls family history to the small town beach they frequent in their hometown. The secret to all that knowledge?
“From being around for a while,” he said with a laugh. “From doing your homework and getting stuff right. Some of it’s true and some of it’s not but I never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”
Whether it’s the greatest show on earth at the Calgary Stampede or the 1,000 seat grandstand in Dawson Creek, McIntyre’s voice is synonymous with rodeo and chuckwagon racing in the west. He brings the same unwavering enthusiasm to every small town or big stage where he let’s his voice boom out over the speakers.
“I love what I do,” McIntyre explained. “I have a huge passion for this sport and I have a great appreciation for the competitors and how hard it is to make a living at this. I love the horses and the animals and I like watching them work because they too love what they do or they wouldn’t do it.
“Same with chuckwagon racing, I have a passion for that as well. It’s neat for me to come to Dawson Creek as part of our summer tour and enjoy just a different atmosphere and the great bunch of rodeo fans up here.”
His qualms seemingly come from nowhere and in quick succession, like a “bay pony having more movement than two colliding tornados” or telling a tie down roper their “fishing license has expired” after a miss. It’s those phrases that will leave an impression and that cleaver ‘I’m one of you’ voices that will leave an everlasting memory in minds and hearts of rodeo fans. If he has anything to say about it you’ll be hearing it for a long time to come.
“I’m 62 now and my goal is 102 like my grandfather. So, sorry, you’re going to have to put up with me for another 20 or 30 years anyway,” McIntyre teased.
However long he lasts, his words will ring in arenas long after he decides to step away from the mic.