Skip to main content

Sports Announcers I Grew Up With: Wes Strader


There is a special place in my heart for the radio and TV sports announcers I grew up with. From ABC's Wide World of Sports to roller derby and wrestling, and everything in between, sports was a big part of my life growing up. At my house, we watched on TV whatever sport was 'in season,' especially on Saturday's. If there was a sports event on radio, we listened to it. I was very blessed to grow up with many now- legendary voices and characters. Today, I want to pay tribute to Wes Strader.


Known as the 'Voice of the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers,' Wes Strader spent 36 years, from 1964-2000, calling play-by-play for Hilltopper football and men's basketball, and he was behind the microphone for some of the most memorable moments in WKU history, including men's basketball's appearances in the 1971 Final Four and the 1993 Sweet 16 and football’s trips to the 1973 and 1975 national championship games. Strader still works for the Big Red Radio Network. He hosts a radio show, and has been doing pre and post-game shows for football and men's basketball games.

In 2010, I was sitting beside Sid Scott in the front row behind the broadcast tables at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green waiting to do a broadcast in the boys regional tournament. On the opposite side of the arena, up at the very top was the Big Red Radio Network press box. I had been a visitor there a few times in recent years and on one occasion, a couple years prior, had actually met Wes Strader.

Previously, I had spoken on the phone with Wes maybe twice in my life. He is familiar with radio folks here in the Lake Cumberland area, specifically my dad, Sid Scott, Welby Hoover, Steve Staples, Stephen Staples and Ray Mullinix. As we sat there at court side awaiting our turn to broadcast, I looked to my left and noticed that Wes was making his way toward our area. I figured he had spotted Sid from the press box was coming to chat with him.

I was surprised when he stopped directly in front of me and said, "Randy? I thought that was you!" Well, I sat up a little straighter as he continued, "I was up in the press box, looked down here and thought it was you." At that point I was sitting up a whole lot straighter and I am pretty sure my head started to swell. After all, I was sitting beside one legend and had another legend standing in front of me saying he had spotted me from across the arena and had made his way down and across to where we were sitting, and instead of going straight to Sid, he first spoke to ME! My first thought, after the initial shockwave had passed, was that I had officially arrived!

And then he said, smiling, "Wait, is this THE Sid Scott sitting beside you? And then, he began a conversation with Sid, whom he had not seen in a while. As they 'caught up' with each other, I wondered if anyone had noticed Wes Strader standing there speaking to me, or even better, had anyone heard what he had said? I actually looked around. No doubt, he had noticed Sid beside me and that is the main reason he made his way from the press box to us, but I was happy with the attention Wes Strader had given me. Yes, I had arrived, lol! Wes Strader is a class act.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Tornado at Beaty Swamps

Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, May 10, 1933, Beatty Swamps, TN ( also known as Bethsaida), a small rural community located in Overton County, Tennessee, approximately 6.7 miles from Livingston, was struck by an F4 tornado that completely devastated the community. The funnel, anywhere from one-half to three-quarters of a mile wide, destroyed every home in the community, and killed or injured virtually every single resident. Much of the area was swept clean of debris. This is the second deadliest tornado ever to strike Middle Tennessee.

There have been tornadoes that have gained greater notoriety, such as the Super Outbreak of April 3, 1974, but never has a tornado affected a community as completely as the one that struck Beatty Swamps.

According to the National Weather Service, it had been a humid evening in the rural Cumberland Plateau community. In nearby Allardt, the temperature that Tuesday afternoon had climaxed at 82 degrees, a warmer-than-normal reading for early May. …

Ode To A Mule

James Arness died today. Gunsmoke was every one's favorite TV show back when I was a kid. For years, at my house, we watched every single episode that came on the TV. There's isn't any need to explain the show because I am sure that most of you have seen an episode of Gunsmoke at one time or another.

When I heard that Mr. Arness has passed away, I went online, because I wanted to read some quotes from the TV show - more specifically, I wanted to read some dialogue between Festus, played by singer Ken Curtis (Sons of the Pioneers), and the rest of the cast. Festus had a way of speaking, but he always spoke the truth and what he said always made sense, well in a Festus-sort-of way, I guess.

So, I went online to do that, and well, one click led to another click, and then another and another, and before I knew it, I found myself on YouTube, and that's when I heard, for the first time in many years, this beautiful story that I want to share with you.

If you paid close atte…

Long Live The Goat Man

(This photo was made in the 1950's as the Goat Man passed through my town)
Charles McCartney was born on July 6, 1901. In 1915, at age 14, he ran away from his family's Iowa farm. He eventually wound up in New York, and was soon married to a Spanish knife-thrower. When she got pregnant they tried to make it as farmers, but bad weather and the Great Depression wiped them out. About the same time, he experienced a religious awakening. A man on a mission, he hitched up his team of goats to a wagon and took to the open road with his wife and son. His wife made goatskin clothes for him and his son to wear as a gimmick during their travels, but she quickly grew tired of the road and returned to Iowa, taking their son with her.

Charles McCartney looked like a goat. He smelled like one, too because he rarely took a bath. You take a fellow who looks like a goat, travels around with goats, eats with goats, lies down among goats and smells like a goat and it won't be long before peop…