What do you do with a Broadcasting Diploma from Conestoga College? You could become a broadcast technician, a traffic reporter, a program scheduler, a camera operator or a successful, high-energy, international award-winning rodeo announcer. That’s right, a rodeo announcer. Meet Joe Scully, a Conestoga Broadcasting graduate from the Class of ’00 who has made a successful career for himself doing just that.
Scully refers to himself as a "country kid”. He grew up on a farm in Rockwood, Ontario and competed in various roping and bull riding events at local rodeos when he was younger. By the time he was 15 years old, he was making the crowds laugh and protecting the cowboys from angry bulls as a rodeo clown; a position that Scully had a natural talent for. When his dad asked him what he planned to do after high school, he thought it might be cool to "clown around across the globe”. Threats of having to move out of the family working rodeo ranch if he were to follow this path, motivated Joe to turn to the Conestoga College calendar to find an educational program that would lead to a career similar to "clowning” to satisfy his father and offer him more options. Radio Broadcasting seemed to be a "logical fit”.
It wasn’t long after Scully started classes in the Broadcasting program at Conestoga, that he discovered a true fondness for being a radio deejay. Between his second and third year he got a job on-air with CJOY in Guelph for overnights Sunday through Thursday and loved it. When he finished the Broadcasting program, he went into a full-time sales position with the Zone 92.9 in Kitchener and found he had an affinity for sales. From there, he moved on to another sales position with Z103.5 in Toronto and earned the title Senior Account Manager. He had the highest number of accounts, most billings, most tenure and had an incredible $850,000 in sales his final year. Not surprising, other stations started to notice and Country 95.3 out of Toronto/Hamilton, recruited him for their growing sales department.
With the exception of some time away while working at Z103.5 to focus on his broadcast sales career, Scully never really gave up the rodeo scene. He continued to "clown” weekends during school then picked up a weekend rodeo announcing job while at Country 95.3. During that time he had the opportunity to host the "Canadian Country Superstar” contest at Nashville.
Having a solid background in sales at this point, combined with his flair for entertaining, knowledge of rodeo and his on-air experience and education, Joe Scully was a perfect candidate for the Rawhide Rodeo Company Canada’s newly launched tour, "The North American Professional Cowboys Extreme Tour”. Hired originally to sell sponsorships during the winter and to announce at some tour events during the summer, his gift for connecting with the audience earned him the opportunity to announce all of their Anglophone Eastern Canadian events. Ideally, Scully would love to be behind the microphone at the rodeo year round but because rodeos aren’t held all year through in Canada, he is able to work full-time with Rawhide Rodeo picking up the sponsorship end during the down time.
He may, however, start to see some changes in his yearly routine. In January 2007, he entered the International Finals Rodeo 37 Contract Act Showcase Announcer competition in Oklahoma. It was the first time a Canadian had competed in the division of "Announcers, Bullfighters, Barrelmen and Specialty Acts”, a division of considerable prestige in the international competition. Along with the usual wisecracks and jokes expected of the announcers, Scully threw in some winter driving tips and coliseum food critiques. "It was a blast,” Scully said. "I just had fun with it. Sure, it was a competition with a lot on the line, but, like any other time I’m behind the microphone, I just wanted to make everyone giggle at least once.”
Giggle? Surely, it is safe to assume they did a lot more than giggle and more than once. At the end of the 19-hour marathon, the Championship buckle went to the quick- witted, enthusiastic "county kid” from Canada, titling him International Finals Rodeo 37 Contract Act Showcase Announcer Champion.
Since then, Scully has found his timetable getting heavy on the announcing end of things. Last year, in 2006, he had over 60 performances and already this year he’s surpassed that with an estimated 80 performances booked so far. He plans on visiting 40 different cities in 5 provinces and 4 states and the calls keep coming.
Aside from his impressive broadcasting and sales resume, he has an announcing portfolio that includes the PBR (Professional Bull Riding) Canada Rocky Cup, Ontario Finals Rodeo, North American Professional Cowboys Extreme Tour, Ontario High School Rodeo Association Finals, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Farm Show Rodeo and the list continues. He says his job as a rodeo announcer is very similar to that of a radio announcer: "It’s just like being a radio personality. I play music, talk about the time, try and ‘one-up’ my side-kick and all that … except instead of introducing tunes, I introduce some of the Continent’s most talented athletes”.
Scully credits Conestoga’s Broadcasting program for much of his success. "I apply my broadcasting education and experience in every aspect of my announcing. I ‘patch-in’ to house sound systems, run all my music off of laptops, commentate with enunciation, edit audio and video for openings and show pieces, do radio and television interviews, write copy, voice commercials … and more”. He mentioned that before Conestoga he didn’t even know what "Windows” was and now his colleagues refer to him as the "Computer Guru” for his knowledge of the computer and technical systems they work with.
According to Scully, Rodeo and Bull Riding are the fastest growing sports on the planet. It has more viewers in the South than hockey in the North (Hmmmm as a Canadian I don’t know about that). PBR, the major league of bull riding, recently launched PBR Australia, PBR Mexico, PBR Canada and PBR Brazil and is taking the sport to new heights. They have grown over 300% in the past few years. Even locally, for example, in 1984 there were seven events in Ontario and this year there will be over 35.
What does this mean for Scully? A bright future if he plans to continue in the rodeo realm. Announcing at the World Famous Calgary Stampede is on his list of goals for the next 10 years and perhaps hiring an agent. Although he isn’t currently reconsidering broadcasting, he says he could see himself going back to being a radio deejay someday because of his love of the work. Modestly though, he said he wasn’t sure about that because "you have to be really good in order to make enough to survive”. One thing is for sure, Joe Scully is "really good” at rodeo announcing and is not only "surviving” in this position, he is thriving. We look forward to hearing more from this award-winning talent, both as a rodeo and radio success.
By Vicki Noels-Cornish