Announcers are quick to poke fun at ropers, and often relay their adventures to the crowd.
But there are few that have walked the walk like Anthony Lucia.
You may have seen Lucia trick roping at the National Finals Rodeo, the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo or one of the many venues he’s graced in his career. Maybe you know him from announcing your favorite ProRodeo, or doing the broadcast from a WCRA or PBR event. Or, you could recognize him from that time he was a reality television star on Rodeo Girls, or you watched him during the season he was on America’s Got Talent.
You might think you know Anthony Lucia, but we guarantee you haven’t heard his full story.
Here are five things you need to know before you say you know the man behind the microphone.
1. Rodeo’s in his blood.
Lucia grew up working alongside his father, Tommy Lucia. Tommy was a three-time PRCA Specialty Act of the Year, member of the 2019 ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductee class and one of the biggest names in rodeo entertainment. Once it became clear that Anthony shared his father’s love of performing, and had the talent to back it up, he began to work with his father and learn the art of entertaining.
“I grew up in rodeo. My dad had specialty acts—a monkey named Whiplash that rode sheep around, all that. Everything I knew was rodeo. I always admired rodeo announcers, plain and simple. I admired what they did, what they could do with an audience, I just loved it.”
Eventually, Anthony gained both confidence and skill, and his father decided to set up an independent show for the two of them in Austin, Texas. This marked the start to Anthony’s career serious behind the microphone.
“We did three shows a day for 15 days with our own arena, bleachers and everything,” Lucia said. “For five years we did that. Then we took it places beyond Austin—whatever needed to be done, that’s what we did to make a living.”
2. He’s a true fan of the sport.
Lucia is a self proclaimed “total rodeo geek” and fan of the sport as a whole. When it comes to competing in traditional rodeo events, Lucia worked his way into the team roping community from the most humble position.
“Being around all the rodeos when I was younger, I was infatuated with team roping. I would go and push everyone’s steers—that’s how I got involved in team roping. I was enammored by it— Jake (Barnes), Clay (O’Brien Cooper), Speed (Williams), Rich (Skelton), Colter Todd and Cesar De La Cruz—I would go during the slacks and ask everybody if they needed a shove.I’d just hang out there, and yeah, I’d be covered in cow crap, but I got to push their steers and got to feel like I was a part of their team. I would watch them and learn.”
3. He recently got to rope with his childhood hero.
At the Days of 47 rodeo in Salt Lake City, Utah, Lucia got an unexpected opportunity to check an item off his bucket list.
“Sami Jo (Smith) with the WCRA called me and asked if I was excited to announce (The Days of 47 Rodeo in) Salt Lake,” Lucia said. “Then she said ‘How would you feel if I told you that you were going to get to rope at Salt Lake?’ I was excited, nervous—all of the things.”
Lucia was shocked. He had only nominated one event—a PRCA in Gladewater, Texas, where Lucia placed with Cody Tew on the heel side. Lucia also worried that in such an intense environment with a top tier production and televised performance, he might not be able to pull off both announcing and competing.
Meanwhile, Smith worked on finding Lucia a partner, and she mentioned to Lucia that Speed Williams—who was heading for his son, Gabe–could fill a spot in the heeling. Lucia had met Williams from his early days of pushing steers for the pros, and Williams had become a mentor for Lucia in his team roping career.
“I called and asked Speed if he wanted to heel for me at Salt Lake,” Lucia said. “He said ‘Well, I can’t say no. It’s guaranteed money.”
Note: The ‘guaranteed money,’ Williams was referring to the guaranteed $500 bonus that athletes received for their entries at the Days of 47 from the WCRA.
Things may not have gone as exactly as the two had hoped—Lucia reached, caught the neck, and Williams did all he could to snag a leg on a wild heel shot. However, they still walked away with $1,400 each for their efforts—a great bonus for an unforgettable moment in Lucia’s career.
4. He’s trained himself to handle the pressure of both announcing and entering rodeos.
Just like he did in Salt Lake City, Lucia is known for stepping away from the mic and backing in the box on select occasions. He also competes in team roping at Prorodeos and jackpots where he isn’t on the clock, something he feels helps him have an advantage over other entertainers.
“Being competitive in the team roping world gives me an insight into understanding what competitors go through—the preparation, having a good horse, what goes into those few seconds in a team roping run. That has helped me immensely and I feel like gives me an edge.”
5. He had to learn how to find his unique voice.
Lucia will be the first to admit that at the start of his career, he was learning as he went. He knew where he stood in the trick roping world—his high energy, rock and roll themed performances gave him a unique vibe—but it didn’t come so quickly from the announcer’s booth. One day, legendary entertainer Lecile Harris made an observation at a rodeo that stuck with Lucia and helped change the course of his career.
“Lecile said to me, ‘Anthony, tonight I heard about six different announcers out there,'” Lucia said. “Then he said, ‘Every once in a while, I heard a little bit of Anthony Lucia, and that’s the guy I liked.”
Overall, Lucia has worked tirelessly to not only advance his own career, but try to do what’s best for the sport and the audience members that pay to watch cowboys and cowgirls compete.
“My purpose in life is to be more than a rodeo announcer. It’s to make a difference in people’s lives. When people come to a rodeo, they spend their hard-earned money—that’s their two or three hours of entertainment and fun.”Anthony Lucia