a fixture in the show ring
has 35 years of experience
at the mic at Freedom Hall
Helen E. McKinney
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.
La Grange poses at
the arena in
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 shows 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
Ive 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, hes definitely knowledgeable about the shows,
said Harold Workman, president and CEO of the Kentucky State Fair Board.
Hes led a legendary career in broadcasting, said Workman.
Theres 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
Hes 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 Governors Council on
Agriculture under Gov. Ned Breathitts 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 Commissioners position, which he held for
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 wouldnt have had it any other way.
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