- Associated Press - Saturday, February 8, 2014

HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) - Attend a Hastings High home football or basketball game and you’re likely to hear the “Voice of the Tigers” announcing the action.

Dressed in a Tiger orange sweater, Rick Klamm can be seen in the announcer’s box at football games or the scorekeeper’s table at every high school home game.

Klamm, who holds the informal title of “Voice of the Tigers,” has been announcing games and giving color commentary at high school events for nearly 20 years.

“I love sports,” Klamm told the Hastings Tribune. “I really like high school sports. It gives me the opportunity to be close to the court or be in the press box so you always get one of the best views of the game.”

Klamm, who serves as executive vice president of Heritage Insurance, started doing the commentary for junior varsity football and basketball at Lexington High School years ago when his family lived there. Then he worked for radio station KRVN for six or seven years, giving color commentary for high school sporting events.

When he moved to Hastings in 2006, Klamm filled in a few times for his brother-in-law Tom Hawes, who was an announcer at some of the Hastings High games. Soon, then-activities director Gregg Holliday asked whether Klamm would take over as announcer full time for the rest of the football season. The job continued into basketball season and he has been doing it ever since for the past six years.

As the “Voice of the Tigers,” Klamm is tasked with not only announcing the names of the players before the game starts but also giving some play-by-play and commentary throughout the game.

“It’s something I just have fun doing,” Klamm said. “It’s fun being around the kids and giving some excitement to the crowd. It’s about being around sports and kids.”

When he’s announcing football games in the fall, Klamm depends on his spotters who stay in the booth with him to give him the names of players who make tackles and to provide him statistics.

“In football, the secret is having good spotters and good help,” Klamm said. “In basketball, it’s having good communication with people next to you.”

The speed of basketball can make it a challenge when there’s no break between plays like in football. However, he does more announcing at basketball games, where he’ll name the player who made a basket or made a foul. Before announcing the player who made the foul, Klamm said, he will confer with the scorekeeper next to him who gives him the exact number of fouls on each player.

“There’s a lot that goes on,” he said, “but once you get into the rhythm of the game, it’s pretty easy.”

One thing Klamm does before every game is review the roster to ensure that he knows how to properly pronounce player names. He said a simple last name can have four different pronunciations. That’s why he’ll go to an assistant coach or someone else from the opposing team to get the proper pronunciation.

The biggest struggle for him these days is the unique way parents are choosing to spell their children’s first names.

“If it’s something that’s obvious, I kind of write it out phonetically. I make mistakes, but I try to limit those as best I can,” he said. “But I’ve been known to correct myself on the microphone.”

And when he’s announcing, Klamm said, he always tries to speak with a smile on his face to give that positive and upbeat sound.

“It’s tough to go to a sporting event when the announcer is monotone,” he said. “I try to give voice inflection and make it fun.”


Information from: Hastings Tribune, https://www.hastingstribune.com

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