Sometimes, life has a way of working out in ways you’d least expect. For Sylvan Lake resident Brett Gardiner, who has a successful career as an announcer for the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA), the work found him, instead of the other way around.
Gardiner was recently named the CPRA’s Announcer of the Year, an award he has now won 11 consecutive times.
“My career kind of started by accident,” Gardiner said. “I grew up playing hockey and that was my focus. But we grew up in a rural lifestyle and my brother competed in rodeo and I had always been a rodeo fan. Like all little brothers, I wanted to be like my brother, so I competed as well, but I wasn’t really that good.”
As it turned out, Gardiner’s talents were found elsewhere when it came to the rodeo industry.
“I was loud and I liked to be in the middle of everything, so it was suggested that I try announcing,” he said. “I didn’t think it was that cool, but I thought I’d give it a whirl. I did some little events, and then I was asked to do some larger events, and the rest is history.”
Gardiner has been announcing for rodeos for about 20 years.
“I was still in my late teens when I started,” he said. “It was never a career choice; it was a career that found me. And I’m very grateful that it did.”
Gardiner has travelled all across Canada and into the US to announce for rodeos, but he said the vast majority of his work is done in Alberta. He works CPRA and Professional Bull Riding events.
“I really enjoy telling the stories of the competitors and creating a particular feel or set of emotions with the audience,” he said. “I think that’s the coolest thing. It’s all about how you make them feel. To tell the stories of these athletes that I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for, to be able to make that connection between them and the fans, I really enjoy that.”
In addition to being a rodeo announcer, Gardiner also spent 15 years as a teacher, with 10 of those years at HJ Cody School. He was born and raised in Drayton Valley, but Gardiner, his wife and their three kids have lived in Sylvan Lake for 15 years.
“I’m excited about the future,” he said. “Personally and professionally, I’m in an exciting place. I’m looking forward to the future and I think my best work is still ahead of me. I’ve won this 11 times and I get to work the biggest and best rodeo events in the nation. I’m going to continue to improve and continue to tell those stories.”
Listen for Gardiner as he announces for the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer from Nov. 2 to 6.