Darrell Barron started working at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo before some of its current contestants were even born.
Barron will celebrate his 25th year as the riding event chute boss at the Wrangler NFR this year, a job he said he's been honored to have for so many years.
"I've been the chute boss since 1982, and this will be my 25th year to selected," he said. "It's a great job. I get to work with the greatest cowboys and livestock in the world."
Barron recently retired from the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company after a 29-year career and, although he isn't "working" these days, he's still a very busy guy.
Along with his long-running Wrangler NFR duties, he's also worked at Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days for 20 years, acting as chute boss. For 12 of those years, he was also the livestock director, but now he concentrates solely on the chute boss position.
They're jobs Barron got started on while working for USSTC, where he started in 1977 as a promotions coordinator. He later moved up to promotions manager, and at the time the company was doing mostly college rodeos, promoting its scholarship program.
In 1985, the USSTC started its partnership with the PRCA, and then its involvement became more widespread, with hunting and fishing shows, NASCAR, fairs, festivals and other shows.
USSTC got into the scoreboard business in 1991, so Barron was there to witness the program from its humble beginnings. He took over the scoreboard program in 1998.
"I was really fortunate," Barron said about his job. "I got to travel to a lot of states, see a lot of stuff, meet a lot of people. It was really great. And at the time I was able to do rodeo work on the side, so it was great."
So far, Barron said he's enjoying retirement at home in Paradise, Texas, and has plenty of things to do to keep busy. He has found some time for team roping and has also been riding colts and moving cattle.
"With my wife (Lee), there's always something to do," he said, chuckling. "I'm really enjoying it, being outside and working. In fact, I don't know how I ever had time to work before."
He said he plans to work at the Wrangler NFR and the Cheyenne Frontier Days for many more years. And he's been a staple in both arenas for so long, they might not seem the same without him.