The Eye: Rockies tap Tracy for anthem at Coors

Thousands of Coors Field eyes — and ears — were fixed on new Greeley Chamber of Commerce President Tim Tracy just before the Colorado Rockies’ third game of the season when Tracy stepped to the microphone to belt out “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Tracy, a dapper man with twinkling blue eyes, is a newcomer to Colorado but not when it comes to stretching his vocal cords in public.

The big event was to have happened after The Northern Colorado Business Report went to press, and we can only assume his singing hit a home run with fans. But a conversation with Tracy a few days before the game revealed that hitting the high notes before tens of thousands of onlookers is no big deal for the Iowa native.

“I’ve been singing most of my life,” Tracy said. “I’ve done one-man shows, community theater, I was in a ’60s band — you name it.”

Tracy, who grew up in Des Moines loving baseball, said he’s also sung at the Glenn Miller Festival in Clarinda, Iowa, and the Donna Reed Festival in Dennison, Iowa. He’s crooned at three major-league baseball parks and once before a Globetrotters’ game in LaCrosse, Wis., where he served as chamber president before starting his new job in Greeley in January.

Unlike you or Eye, Tracy had no qualms about “Oh, say can you see”-ing for 40,000-plus baseball fans.

“Actually, I’m looking forward to it,” he said with a self-assured smile. “There’s lots of different versions of the anthem. I try to do it in the traditional style, with the double octave on the ‘free-eee.’ I like to get the crowd fired up.”

Did he say double octave?

The Eye would certainly like to get an earful of that sometime.

Does he worry about forgetting a line of the Old Chestnut?

Nah.

“Most stadiums have the words on the JumboTron, so that helps,” he said. ‘But I’ve done it so often, I don’t worry.”

So how did he get roped into an appearance under the blazing spotlight of potential shame and ridicule? Who dared him to step up to the plate, so to speak?

No one. He volunteered.

‘There’s a Web site on Rockies information and a section on the national anthem, and you can send in a tape if you want to sing, so I did,” he said. “I asked if I could sing during a Cardinals game and they got back and said I could sing at Game Three.”

Why a Cardinals game?

“I’m a big Mark McGwire fan, so this is kind of nice,” he said.

Imagine — your baseball hero listening to you sing.

Greeley, your new chamber president is some kind of guy.

Pro-rodeo radio? MK Inc. inks deal

The National Finals Rodeo, held each December in Las Vegas, is the cowboy Super Bowl.

Sure, the Eye and other fans here in Northern Colorado can experience firsthand the calf roping, barrel racing, bronc busting and bull riding at the Greeley Independence Stampede or Cheyenne Frontier Days.

But, well, it’s just not the Super Bowl. Not just anyone can attend the National Finals Rodeo. Those tickets can be hard to come by.

Luckily for us, a small Northern Colorado radio station recently won the exclusive rights from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association to broadcast play-by-play action from Las Vegas.

That’s right. No other radio station in the world can do play by play except those owned by MK Inc., which operates three AM stations: KFKA in Greeley, KHPN in Loveland and KEZZ in Estes Park.

MK paid the PRCA an undisclosed amount for the three-year deal, said Steve Fleming, PRCA communications director.

“They came with a good proposal,” he said. “It fit our needs. & Television is our No. 1 priority right now, but we don’t want to forget the importance of radio.”

Neither do we. Just how big is the NFR play-by-play audience anyway?

Wayne Wise, a professional rodeo announcer and partner in the deal, did the play by play last year. The problem with ESPN’s television coverage, he said, is that it’s tape-delayed and comes on late at night. Wise said a big listening audience would tune in for live coverage.

“It’s the biggest thing our company has ever done,” MK owner Monte Spearman said.

“It could lead to bigger and better things in the years to come.”