June 28, 2014
If you follow Division 1A athletics in Northern Nevada, or have taken in an NIAA state championship event in the past 10 years, you know the booming voice of Will Bumgardner.
Bumgardner has served as the public address announcer of the Dayton High Dust Devils football and basketball teams for the past 10 years, and has done PA work for the NIAA since 2004. He does the NIAA state basketball tournament every year in Reno and Las Vegas, and every other year he does football and baseball games.
While he continues with those jobs, he's also grabbed another plum assignment as PA announcer for the Reno Aces. For 72 days, he's living a dream, and like Triple-A players, is just one step away from his dream of being a PA announcer at the major league level.
"I love it," the 37-year-old Bumgardner said. "The only thing better is announcing for a major league team. To be able to watch baseball all the time and do something I'm good at, it's amazing. I used to have a lot of time off between the end of high school basketball season and the start of the high school football season. Now I think it's just three days between the end of the Aces season and the first Dayton football game, depending on whether the Aces make the playoffs or not. It puts a dent into vacation plans."
Ah, time off. Now, instead of having summers off with his family, free time is managed between homestands. The Aces begin a seven-game homestand Friday against the Sacramento River Cats.
Bumgardner attracted the attention of the Aces prior to the 2013 season when a friend alerted him about a possible opening.
"He said he wasn't going after the job, but that I should," Bumgardner said. "I sent in my stuff, and I had a live audition at the stadium. The gentleman (Michael Haggerty) that had been there before hadn't been able to find work where he moved to, and he ended up coming back. They said he may not last the entire year. He was there most of the season. At the beginning of this season I did a live audition and ended up with the job."
The live audition consisted of reading from a script regarding promotional announcements and announcing fake lineups. He also sent the Aces a YouTube link from his announcing work at the state basketball tournament.
"I was pretty ecstatic when I found out. I felt confident. I felt I nailed it (the audition) last year."
And, the Aces are pleased with their newest addition.
"He sent us a few different tapes which is good," said Brett McGinness, the Aces' director of marketing. "He knows his venue and gets it right. It was nice he came in with a little bit of experience. We challenged him with different concepts. We wanted to see if he'd be ready for the unexpected (like a power outage). We wanted to see how he would do in a situation like that on the fly.
Before the Aces' job came through, Bumgardner had explored the possibility of trying out for the San Diego Padres PA job. Bumgardner said the cutdown process could have required several trips back and forth to San Diego. He grew up in nearby El Cajon, Calif.
It was during his high school days at Valhalla High School he started announcing.
"My sophomore year in high school, the baseball coach knew I knew how to keep book," Bumgardner said. "I was up in the booth doing the scorebook and the scoreboard. Some upperclassmen did the announcing. One day while I was waiting for the game to start, the coach came up and asked if I wanted to announce. I ended up doing that for the next four years."
Two years after high school graduation, Bumgardner attended the University of Nevada, but didn't graduate from there. He ended up with a bachelor's in marketing from an on-line university, and eventually earned a teaching credential. He would like to make teaching a carer.
"The hardest part is finding a job," Bumgardner said. "I subbed at Dayton this year. It's easier because everybody knows me."