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Having worn many hats during his professional career, Jeff Medders gears up for rodeo’s Super Bowl as the TV voice of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. By John Tranchina Photos by Sarah Eliza Roberts Jeff Medders

Jeff Medders grew up on a ranch and rodeoed in high school, but he thought his cowboy days were long behind him as he pursued a career in sports broadcasting. As it turned out, though, he ended up becoming the national voice of televised rodeo. Along the way, as many of his paths crossed through Tulsa, Medders started his own production company (Geronimo Productions), which now produces the broadcasts of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR), the 10-day event every year in Las Vegas that serves as the final championship tournament for the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association). He is also a significant player on the national rodeo scene. “It’s been fun,” Medders says of his winding career path. “I don’t know that I envisioned this being the path that I was going to take, but it’s been fantastic. And I like the rodeo cowboys. You’d like to see those guys make more money, but it’s not like the money has ruined the game. They treat you like you’re one of their own.” The fact that the athletes in both of rodeo’s governing bodies, the PRCA and Professional Bull Riders (PBR), don’t appear to have changed their humble demeanor as the sport’s popularity has skyrocketed over the past decade or so is gratifying to Medders and makes him proud to be a part of that world. “The PRCA renegotiated their deal with Las Vegas a couple of years ago, in terms of keeping the NFR there, and the [overall] prize money jumped to $10 million,” Medders says. “It’s helped them a lot. You got guys making $350,000-400,000 now. The

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December 2019 (Vol. 33, No. 12)  

Where to Dine. What to Do. Where to Find It. When It's Happening. Preview 918 A regional magazine of national stature, Preview 918 has rema...

December 2019 (Vol. 33, No. 12)  

Where to Dine. What to Do. Where to Find It. When It's Happening. Preview 918 A regional magazine of national stature, Preview 918 has rema...