Cattle calls

Oldham County’s Timmons
a fixture in the show ring

He has 35 years of experience
at the mic at Freedom Hall

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

LA GRANGE, Ky. (February 2010) – After a long successful second career as a radio and show ring announcer, Hayden Timmons has retired to rest upon his laurels. Thirty-five years ago, this Webster County, Ky., native began a journey that would make him many acquaintances and lifelong memories.

Bill Timmons

Photo provided

Bill Timmons of
La Grange poses at
the arena in
Louisville where
he announces
cattle shows.

Timmons, who now lives in La Grange, grew up on a farm and attended the University of Kentucky, majoring in agriculture. In the past, he has held full-time positions with the Conservation Department for the state of Kentucky, was an assistant to Barney Arnold, Farm Director for WHAS radio, and conducted Public Relations work for the Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative.
While working for Arnold, Timmons was asked to do spots on the radio and various other emcee jobs, such as announcing beauty contests and horse shows. He found that he really enjoyed the work and has “had a lot of fun over the years,” he said.
Timmons, 83, got his big break as an announcer at the second annual North American Livestock Exposition, held at the Kentucky State Fairgrounds in Louisville in 1974. “They asked me to emcee it 35 years ago,” he said of his long tenure as the show’s announcer.
Known as the largest all-breed, purebred livestock exposition in the world, Timmons says he is honored to have been a part of the experience for so long. “It makes me feel good to go there and see people I’ve known for many, many years – some for three generations of families that have been in the show,” he said.
The exposition draws nearly 22,000 entries and approximately 200,000 visitors to Louisville annually, officials estimate. Along with his distinctive voice, he’s definitely knowledgeable about the shows, said Harold Workman, president and CEO of the Kentucky State Fair Board.
“He’s led a legendary career in broadcasting,” said Workman. “There’s no one better than him.”
Timmons said he does not have any particular show he enjoyed announcing the best but rather enjoyed all that he was a part of. He has had the opportunity to travel a lot as well with this longtime second career.
One reason he may have felt at ease at the livestock shows is because of his own farm upbringing and the fact that he has been acquainted with a lot of farm people in the past and cultivated friendships with them.
“He’s probably the best and most professional livestock announcer in the country today. When he commands the show ring, everybody respects him,” said Workman. “Replacing him will be difficult.”
While working in Frankfort, Ky., Timmons met his future wife, Nancy Catlett, who also worked in Frankfort. They married in 1953 and migrated to Oldham County more than 35 years ago. They were looking for a good school system in which to enroll their children and decided Oldham County was the perfect place to raise a family.
Timmons was the first Commissioner of the Governor’s Council on Agriculture under Gov. Ned Breathitt’s administration from 1963 to 1967. Timmons had known Breathitt before he ran for governor.
“I would see him periodically and we became friends,” said Timmons, who was not looking for a career in politics. Some mutual friends suggested him for the Commissioner’s position, which he held for four years.
This farm boy from Webster County has enjoyed his years in the ring at Freedom Hall, often surrounded by more than 100 head of cattle at one time. Although it might not compare to the running of the bulls in Spain, Timmons wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Back to February 2010 Articles.



Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta