CBS7 SPECIAL REPORT: Voice of Generations
Garden City’s Delmer Batla has served as the Voice of the Bearkats for 51 years, announcing games for sons, grandsons and great-grandsons
ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - It’s part of the joy of football: you never know what could happen on any given Friday night.
“You start wondering, ‘I wonder what they’re gonna come up with.’”
In Garden City, there’s been one constant for 51 years.
“Second down and fourteen for the Rankin Red Devils,” Delmer Batla announces into a microphone.
“Batla the man under calling signal, or Hillger the man under calling signal,” grandson Brian Hillger jokes. “He’s said that for, I guess 52 years.”
“‘And there you have it ladies and gentlemen.’ Ain’t that what he always say?” son Larry Batla asks his brothers.
“It’s kinda crazy that he’s done it for so long,” great-grandson Cohen Batla said.
“Relax and enjoy the ball game. Thank you.”
Delmer Batla was asked to announce Bearkat games in 1972. Not shy to a performance, he agreed.
“Of course, I had a country Western band, I wasn’t scared of no microphones,” Batla said. “I did a lot of singing in my day. So they asked me and of course I kinda became addicted to it,” Batla said.
For the past 51 years, Delmer’s had the best seat in the house for three generations of Batla’s playing at Bearkat Stadium.
“I seen four sons. I announced their ball games. And then I had ten grandsons, I spotted them. And then I had the enjoyment of announcing this year, my three great-grandsons.”
For the past 41 years, Delmer has had Travis Pate by his side as his spotter. At the end of this season, they were both recognized for a stunning combined 92 years of loyal service.
“I really appreciate it,” Pate said. “I didn’t expect it. I enjoy doing it so much that it wouldn’t have mattered if they never even mentioned us.”
“It’s a pretty proud feeling. It really is. Yeah,” Batla said.
While they didn’t do it for the recognition, the praise couldn’t be more well-deserved.
“Thinking back in the games, you don’t really hear him. You don’t know he’s up there. You don’t really think it’s that big of a deal. As you get older and coming back here, at the games, you really understand how special it is that he’s still up there,” grandson Max Batla said.
The legacy of community service isn’t lost on even the youngest of the clan.
“You always know you’re a part of something that’s been going on for a long time,” great-grandson Thomas Hillger said.
“To me it feels a little weird because you’re just carrying on that... leading up to all of the accomplishments that they’ve done,” great-grandson Wyatt Everett said. “it’s a neat experience and something I want to do all throughout high school.”
Don’t worry. Delmer isn’t planning for his retirement.
“I hope to keep on, I guess,” Batla said. “Next March, if the good Lord leaves me here until March 19th I’ll be 90. So I’m hoping I can make another year or two run at it. We gon’ find out.”
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