NFMS Freshening Part 2: Show Announcers

Published February 24, 2012 06:56AM, by Jake MorganViewed: 3942 times

Butch Krieger, Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame Announcer at the 2012 NFMS
This is Part 2 in a multi-part series about the National Farm Machinery Show.

Let's not beat around the bush, this is the premier winter event. This is the oldest and most prestigious indoor pull in the world. This is one of the top events in all of pulling, both indoor and outdoor. So my question is this: why can I go to a local state hook and hear just as many announcers as I hear in Louisville? Why isn't this event a little bigger a little better?

It's a huge event and a huge amount of fans are sitting there and there is tons of action, but they still haven't taken the announcing to the next level. Yes, you can have too many microphones and make it confusing (Bowling Green can get that way at times, but they can have upwards of 5 or 6 announcers), but I just don't think two announcers is enough. First things first let's evaluate what we currently have:

Let's start with Butch Krieger. Butch is the voice of the show, his signature sound is easily identifiable and his voice is still electric year after year after year. It's almost like he never ages and his voice has been consistent since I started going to the Farm Show almost two decade ago. His credentials are beyond compare in this sport. Butch is a legend and a soon to be Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Famer, an accolade of which he is well deserving. I just can't say enough good things about the way Butch sounds and how he conducts himself.

Now the bad: Butch isn't a workhorse. Now before anyone gets upset, I honestly believe that's not a bad thing, because I honestly believe that Butch shouldn't be seen as a work horse. Some announcers can talk and talk and talk and talk and they keep the same pace the entire show. Butch isn't a workhorse, Butch is a thoroughbred. Butch has a level and excitement and enthusiasm in his voice that can't be matched in this sport. You don't ask a thoroughbred to pull a plow all day in the field; that's not what thoroughbreds do. That's not what Butch should do.

Butch is one of the best masters of ceremony I've seen. He's professional, clear spoken, and he just has a tone in his voice that sounds exciting. I've never been able to put my finger on it, but when Butch is energized it's hard not to get excited. If he's pumped about a class or a pulloff it's almost impossible not to get pumped up as well.

I think Butch needs to continue to be the lead, the chief, and his mic should override all other mics when he has a comment that he wants to share. He shouldn't be a work horse, but he should have the ability to say what he wants when he wants. He's the guy that should save energy and use that energy to get the crowd fired up. The man is a legend and I honestly think they aren't utilizing him in the best capacity.

Dave Bennett works the crowd at the 2012 NFMS (if you see him heading your way, duck or run!)
Let move on to Dave Bennett. I'll be honest, the first year I wasn't used to Dave and I wasn't enamored with him as an announcer. Maybe it was the accent, maybe it was the jokes, or maybe I just expected something different (I think I expected a Doc Reilly type). The next year I started to come around a little. He stepped up his game. He left the jokes at home and he brought more details and more professionalism and he got a feel for the Farm Show crowd. Fast forward to this year, Dave made me laugh out loud a few times at the pull. He shines when he sticks a microphone in someone's face. If his interviewee is good, Dave can make that into a great conversation. If his interviewee is bad, AKA a deer in the headlights he can make that into a humorous, awkward, and wonderfully uncomfortable train wreck. Dave's quick wit can instantly comeback to even the most bizarre answers.

Now the bad: I'm not going to say that Dave and Butch have the greatest chemistry in the world… yet, but it's gotten better and better as time goes on. I'm listing this a s Dave's negative because he's the new guy.

I'll also admit that Dave can be an acquired taste. If you're from the West you probably love him, if you're not you might not like his accent. I see a comment or two on here every now and then about his cowboy hat or some other nonsense (Dave, if you're reading this, don't feel bad, I get bashed on my own page more than anyone) and personally, I think either Dave is getting better and better, or I'm changing my view of what I was initially looking for when Harold was let go. Whether you like Dave's cowboy persona, accent, or whatever… he appeals to a large number of fans that come from areas west of the show, and a good portion of Farm Show attendees come from that region.

I'll admit that I was wrong, after Dave's first year I was ready to send him packing, now I'm ready to watch him wander the crowd and stick a mic in the face of an unsuspecting fan or puller. When the smoke tube breaks (and it will) Dave is the guy you want wandering around and filling time. The guy could have a conversation with a wall and he'd get the most out of it. Heck two years ago he even got me to say something intelligent on the mic and that takes talent.

So where do we stand? Well, the two we've got are doing a good job given the circumstance and workload they are asked to carry. They are also starting to click a little more each year. Better and better chemistry each year is great, but no matter how good they are, I think the pull is too big for just two announcers. It's time to add a third.

So what would I look for in a third announcer? The first thing I'd look for is an announcer with the stereotypical Midwestern non-regional dialect; someone who will appeal to fans of all regions. There's a reason why the people on the nightly news don't have an accent, and that same logic is why a non-regional accent fits the show perfectly. Nascar has a mix of Southern, Western, and Non-regional and it appeal to everyone. There are usually three or four guys sharing the air time and they do it seemlessly. That distinction in voices is very important (both in Nascar and pulling), and Dave and Butch have very distinct sounds already.

Next on my list, knowledge! It's time to add an encyclopedia. I want someone with facts. I want someone who can clarify minor mistakes, a guy who knows the sport inside and out. Someone who's followed it forever.

I'd also like a nut's and bolts guy. A guy that either knows how everything works, or a guy that can learn how things work and then explain that to the crowd. I think Dave is a little stronger than Butch in this area, but they both do a good job explaining some of the technical details, I just want a little more, I want that next level of how and why it works.

So what should this announcer do you ask? Well, obviously they will carry some of the load for Butch and Dave which will free them up for what they do best. I don't want a guy that just announces distances, I want an announcer who wanders down to the start line or even spends the entire event at the start line and ask pullers about the track, where they plan to run, what they see out there, what changes they made compared to the outdoors, what upgrades (if any) they made since the summer, etc…

I want an announcer who gets on the sled and talks with Vaughn (and I don't care if Vaughn wants to be interviewed), the sled is part of the show and I'd like to know a little more about it and how it's set. I'd like to know how it is setup compared to how it was setup for the same class in the previous session. If you can't get Vaughn on the mic you talk to him and then relay all the info.

I want an announcer that interviews the committee members and gets us the behind the scenes scoop. As nuts as Larry Richwine is (or can be), he does an excellent job on the mic at an event. He tells the fans about the track, the holes forming at the starting line, why they are getting the grader out after the class, etc… Heck, I'd even like the announcer to interview the other announcers to hear their history, how they got started. I want the behind the scenes info.

So who you ask? I have two names that come to mind: Miles Krieger or Dan Mayer. For those who don't know, Miles announces a number of PPL events and Dan announces Empire State Pullers events. Miles grew up around pulling, and Dan runs Both are walking encyclopedias and both are very capable announcers.

The strike against Miles is that he's Butch's son. Some people might cry nepotism. I'd argue that Miles has made his own path and he's quickly becoming an excellent announcer in his own right. His sound is different enough from Butch's to still keep a distinct sound. Plus I think the father son interplay could be very interesting. If you don't know Miles, check out his blog (

The strike against Dan Mayer is Dan who? Well, Dan is very capable and has an excellent voice. I was at an event last summer and the people behind me were arguing about what radio station Dan was an announcer on. I didn't have the heart to tell them that he doesn’t do radio (even though he sounds like he could). Dan's knowledge is first rate and you can see his ridiculous commitment to the sport and its history on his website (

Those are just two that come to mind quickly mainly because of their knowledge and year round dedication to the sport, but there are a number of excellent announcers out there. If I were an announcer I'd be sending my audition tape to the Farm Show and I'd be making sure they knew who I was. You'll never get asked if you aren't on their radar.

No matter who they pass a third microphone to, I earnestly believe that a third announcer could be extremely beneficial to the show. With the right chemistry a third announcer could be exactly what it would take for Butch and Dave to click and for all three to showcase their strengths.

Well, maybe I did have a comment on the production value of the show after all.

So what's next? Now it's time to look at the classes… kind of!

Jake Morgan
Independent Pulling News

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Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 03/03/2012 07:13AM by Jake Morgan.


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