News

Nebraska’s Big Rodeo in Burwell Welcomes Gizmo McCracken for 2017

Gizmo McCracken has been entertaining crowds across the Country for many years. He became a member of the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) in 1992 only 25 years ago. Since that time the list of accomplishments has grown beyond our belief. Working 14 PRCA Circuit Finals Rodeos, Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo, Cheyenne Frontier Days twice, Nominated “Coors Man in the Can” 3 times, Nominated “Clown of the Year” in ’16, Nominated for Comedy Act of the year 5 times and our biggest accomplishment being a feature act at the 2005 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Gizmo takes pride in the fact that his humor is good, clean, family style comedy. Gizmo travels the country from Canada to Texas, from the East Coast to the West Coast logging thousands of miles a year through dozens of states. Gizmo started his career as bullfighter and moved into stand-up comedy on a show in Branson, MO. Gadgets and gizmos that went sour were often part of his routine, hence the name “Gizmo, The World’s Greatest Inventor.” ” A lot of Clowns and Specialty Acts ​sell themselves with a bucking car or a dancing horse.” said Gizmo “I supply a Character,” and that is just what Gizmo is. Many Characters will find their way into your town and your arena. “I like to keep people looking for me and wondering what I am going to do next.” said Gizmo. The acts share a high energy, clean, family oriented feel which adds a fresh new atmosphere to any rodeo he is a part of. Gizmo is the Best Comedy Entertainer that this sport has to offer. Regardless of whether you have seen him before or this is your first experience I am confident that you will leave laughing.

Gizmo McCracken

Hadley Barrett

With heavy hearts, the directors of Nebraska’s Big Rodeo in Burwell share in the loss of longtime Burwell announcer and friend, Hadley Barrett.

Hadley Barrett, 87, of Kersey, Colorado, passed away March 2, 2017, in Aurora, Colorado.

He was born to CJ and Mattie (Hill) Barrett in North Platte on Sept. 18, 1929.

Hadley started his rodeo career in the early 1950s. 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. They were inducted into the Nebraska Country Music Hall of Fame and even featured in the Smithsonian.

Hadley continued to play in his band while his announcing career grew around the Nebraska rodeo circuit in the early ’60s. 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 had 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. He called the action at the Canadian Finals Rodeo seven times.

He had 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.

A legend is a word that comes to mind for many to describe Hadley — a hero, a friend, the voice of rodeo and so many more.

Barrett’s legacy is his willingness to share his talent and experience with others. He was 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 to 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 TV. Hadley shared his colorful and entertaining world of rodeo with millions of fans across the world. He 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. He 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 was proceeded in death by his parents and siblings, Wilma Loftus, Moreen Van Buren, Milli Ulmer, and Mike and Jay Barrett.

Hadley is survived by his wife, Leeana (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.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the family through First National Bank in Kersey, Colorado. Online condolences may be shared at ncccremation.com.

Services will be at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, March 6, at the Budweiser Event Center in Loveland, Colorado. Northern Colorado Crematory is in charge of arrangements.