Although not born into a family of cowboys, Mike Mathis of Lufkin, Texas, is one of the most notable cowboys in the rodeo world – and while you might not remember seeing him on a bull – you certainly can’t forget his voice. If you’ve gone to rodeo events in Texas, any of the other 48 contiguous states, or even Canada, then you know him. He’s the big, booming voice behind the microphone that encourages rodeo-goers to cheer for competitors and laugh at bullfighers, but to also pay respect to our country and to God, before the fun even begins.
He developed a love for horses and rodeo at a young age, and that love turned into a lifelong affair that has inspired and impacted the rodeo world. He was fortunate to attend a rodeo school, directed by one of his early cowboy heroes, Jim Shoulders, where he learned the cowboy way: how to ride bulls and broncs. However, it was while in college at Stephen F. Austin State University, that he found the facet of rodeo life where he really belonged when he began promoting and announcing the university’s rodeo. After graduation, although he began his career at Lufkin National Bank, he kept at the rodeo business, rebuilding the local pro-rodeo, competing in team roping, and announcing at small-town rodeo events. In 1983, he joined the PRCA and began announcing part-time, and in 1990, he finally made his full-time passion, his full-time career, announcing major rodeos across the country about 45 weeks of the year.
This man behind the mic, the voice of Texas rodeo, has been highly praised and highly demanded. He was selected to announce for the Professional Bull Riders World Finals nine times, the National Finals Steer Roping four times, the Texas Circuit Finals twenty times, the Ram National Finals twice, and once for the Wrangler National Finals., Although he announces and travels throughout the U.S., Mathis still announces where it all began, at his hometown rodeo every year. His passion for rodeo and his memorable voice has left a resounding echo in the history of Texas rodeo that will continue as long as the tradition of rodeo exists in Texas.