Hadley Barrett, 87, of Kersey, Colorado passed away in Aurora on March 2, 2017. He was born to CJ and Mattie (Hill) Barrett in North Platte, Nebraska on September 18, 1929.
Hadley started his rodeo career in the early 1950’s. In the early days, Hadley would ride bulls and bareback horses, fill in for the announcer, then set up and play the rodeo dance all night long. Hadley and his band “Hadley Barrett and the Westerners” played music for 34 years and was inducted into the Nebraska country music Hall of Fame and even featured in the Smithsonian. A legend is a word that comes to mind for many, a hero, a friend, the voice of rodeo and so many more.
Hadley continued to play in his band while his announcing career grew around the Nebraska rodeo circuit in the early 60's. Once the Buffalo Bill Rodeo, the Beutler family and other rodeo professionals heard about Barrett it wasn't long before Professional Rodeo came calling.
A PRCA member since 1965, Barrett has announced all the big rodeos and a great number of the smaller ones across the country.
Barrett was named PRCA Announcer of the Year in 1983, 1985, 1989 and 2002. He worked five National Finals Rodeos (1968, 1976, 1979, 1983 and 2008) and the 1967 National Finals Steer Roping, as well as called the action at the Canadian Finals Rodeo seven times.
He has worked as an NFR television announcer since 1980.
He was among the first to announce while on horseback, and had always been credited with an honest approach to arena accidents and mishaps.
Barrett’s legacy is his willingness to share his talent and experience with others. He is known for taking rookie announcers under his wing and sharing hard-earned information.
For 200 plus days of the year Hadley was out doing what he loved, bringing the rodeo cowboys and cowgirls to life for the fans. Hadley described the action in the arena with his golden voice, he knew every horse and bull and every cowboy and cowgirl. Hadley painted pictures with his words that we all could see, we hung on every word. We all felt like we knew each and every rodeo athlete that Hadley spoke about on a personal level, we all felt like part of the family.
There are few people in the world of rodeo, inside or outside of the arena, more recognizable and respected than Hadley Barrett.
Hadley reached fans out on the road, through radio, movies and on TV. Hadley shared his colorful and entertaining world of rodeo with millions of fans across the world. Hadley once said, “I guess you are a cross section between a sports reporter, master of ceremonies and in some cases a stand up comedienne and entertainer.”
Hadley never met a stranger. When he saw you he made you feel special, like you were the superstar. Hadley said, “I don’t think the fans will ever know how important they are to rodeo and I don’t think they will ever know how important they are to me.”
Hadley is Survived by his wife, Lee; children, Trent (Rebecca) Barrett, Michelle (Randy) Corley, Kimberly Jurgens, Travas (Alaina) Brenner, Katie Brenner, Taleah Barrett; brother, Bob Barrett; 17 grandchildren and 11 Great-Grandchildren.
Hadley was proceeded in death by his parents; siblings, Wilma Loftus, Moreen Van Buren, Milli Ulmer, Mike and Jay Barrett.
Celebration of Hadley’s Life will be held at 1:30 pm, on Monday, March 6, 2017 at the Budweiser Event Center in Loveland, Colorado.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to a memorial fund that has been set up by the family for Hadley Barret at First National Bank in Kersey, Colorado.