Officials with Rodeo Houston announced that retired rodeo announcer Bill Bailey passed away earlier this week at the age of 78. Bailey had served as the voice of the event since 1961 until his retirement in late 2015. In addition to announcing many of the events at the rodeo, he also acted as a board member and lifetime vice-president of Rodeo Houston.
Milton Odom Stanley was born in East Texas in 1939. He adopted the name “Bill Bailey” after taking a job as a radio disc jockey when the station was promoting the song, “Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home?” Bailey was an on-air personality on country music stations since the 1960’s and hosted popular drive-time shows at both KIKK and KENR.
One of Bailey’s major contributions to the rodeo was his creation of the “World Championship Barbecue Cookoff” in the 1970s. The annual event draws dozens of pitmasters seeking the title of best barbecue chef on the planet, as well as thousands of visitors who come to taste their wares and enjoy the atmosphere.
Bailey also earned the nickname “The Constable” while he served as a Harris County Constable for Precinct 8 from 1983 until his retirement in 2011. According to a press release from the Constable’s Office, Bailey was the first Constable in Texas to serve as president of the Texas Association of Counties in 2002. He was also an active member of the Justice of the Peace and Constables Association.
Bailey was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Country Radio Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2010. Generations of Houstonians knew Bailey’s voice from his rodeo days at the Sam Houston Coliseum, at the Astrodome, and at NRG Stadium.
For all those years, Bill Bailey was the “Heart of the Show.”