Amy Flake is the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) Music Director (Sound) at the Lakeside Rodeo. Amy and the Lakeside Rodeo Announcer, Reed Flake, are married and Amy shared how she became involved in the production side of rodeo.
Amy was a paramedic and she found herself working long days on shift... and often when she was not on shift Reed would be away at a rodeo as he built up his Announcer's experience, often trying to call the rodeo and do sound production by himself. Amy decided to take the lead on Sound and through hard work and training Amy earned her PRCA Music Director's card which is a mark of top-notch professionalism in rodeo.
How many songs and sound effects does Amy have?
Amy shared that in her "rodeo toolbox" she has several thousands of hours of music, songs, and sound effects". Amy does listen to the radio constantly, but it is always with the thought of..."how the song playing will work with the arena action... hmmm, it would be good here".
How does she choose music?
When asked how she chose songs and sound effects for a rodeo, Amy said, "Music is a form of communication (with the spectators and contestants), and it changes with every rodeo because every rodeo town is different, has a unique flavor".
Most people are not aware that production personnel arrive a few days before the rodeo starts and this gives them time to get to know the town, the people, the rodeo committee, and helps them begin to create a wonderful sound package just for that event. But is the music just all pre-choreographed, we asked? "No, I have to pay (constant) attention to the Announcer and to the arena. Because timing and arena action changes in a split second, so will my music and sounds effects choices. It is a rollercoaster ride through the whole rodeo, and it is a privilege to be involved, to help people feel the emotions!" As a truly seasoned sound person, Amy shares that she can now do the job with her back turned to the arena as she can recognize the actions based on sounds and the Announcer's words.
So how do the announcer and Music Director communicate?
No set cues, it simply comes down to Amy being hyper aware of what Reed is saying as he calls the action, the action out of the chutes or gates, and immediately responding with a fun sound... Amy shared that she does have a personal goal during a rodeo performance... "I know that, if I can get Reed to laugh at something (with a sound effect or song), I've done good because Reed is the ultimate prankster!"
So, although Amy and Reed travel to rodeos most weeks, what do they do when not on the road?
"Reed is a Jack of all trades, a hard worker, and he lends a helping hand where needed. Our oldest son, Skyler owns 4 semi-trucks, so Reed is always busy." They also have 2 more children who are married and enjoying great careers from Entrepreneur to Ranch Foreman. Along with their wonderful sons and daughter and their wonderful spouses, Amy and Reed are also blessed with their own small herd of amazing grandchildren. Amy spends time with family, playing with her grandkids, and in her garden… and of course she has to keep up her end of ‘being the quiet prankster in the family” and trying to make Reed laugh every day. She shares that they have a very active Youtube Channel and vlog, which means Amy also spends many, many hours every week editing videos (she has a part time co-editor to supervise too) as well as responding to their growing legion of fans who communicate and message because their fans truly matter to Reed and Amy.
Give Amy a Thumbs ups and a wave!
As you sit in the bleachers at the rodeo performance, stomping your feet to the rockin’ music, cheering when the rider hangs on for 8 seconds, or groaning as you hear the buzzer as the rider dismounts before time, remember to look up at the Announcers Booth in the tallest structure above the chutes and give a big ol’ wave to Amy, your Fantastic Music Director for the Lakeside Rodeo!