Coleman Peveto, the man behind the Mic
Anyone who has been around rodeo in Southeast Texas for the last 40 years has likely crossed paths with Coleman Peveto.
There may not be a rodeo producer in the region he has not worked for. He also has one of the most distinctive voices in rodeo.
It was never his intention to be a rodeo announcer. The late Laurence Winfree put him in that position.
“I was working for Winfree and felt lucky to be doing so, any boy who was interested in rodeo wanted to be doing what I was doing. One night Mr. Laurence told me to go to the announcer’s stand and watch the announcer. He told me I was going to start announcing for him. The announcer that night was Danny Sheridan from Iowa, La. I watched everything he did and at the next rodeo I was the announcer. When it was over I told Mr. Winfree, I was terrible and was never going to announce again,” said Peveto. “That was about 1971 or so. I’m still trying.”
Peveto was raised in Mauriceville and was in FFA in school. Raising cattle and attending rodeos was a big part of his life. A picture from those early days shows him in a coat and tie with a Santa Gertrudis bull, ready to show. The picture was taken at the first livestock show in the newly built Astrodome complex in 1965.
“I really had a good bull that year. What knocked me out was a trailer full of the same breed from Winthrop Rockefeller. Rockefeller had some of the leading cattle in the nation and I had to go head to head with them. I got a ribbon and I guess I was lucky to get that,” said Peveto.
After high school, raising cattle became a sideline to Peveto’s “real job” as a welder. His announcing career that started with the Winfree Cattle Company rodeos became a second career.
“I spent a lot of time with Winfree and people got to know me and I began to get calls from other producers. After my first night of doing bad, I began to improve and settle down and learn the job. Larkin Franklin from Vidor was producing rodeos in East Texas and asked me to work for him. I bought a sound system and began to go to places like San Augustine, Tarkington, Madisonville, Deridder and a bunch of other places. I would work all week and rodeo all weekend,” said Peveto. “I hauled my kids to so many rodeos when they were young that they don’t go to many now.”
In addition to working for Winfree and Franklin, Peveto also worked for Mutt Neumann.
Neumann produced rodeos in East and Central Texas. Peveto started a relationship with Neumann that lasted for several decades. Neumann still produces a Saturday night rodeo at his ranch near Dayton.
“I stayed with Mutt for five or so years. We spent a lot of time on the road. He had a lot of rodeos that were hours away. We’d be on the road and away from home nearly every weekend. In the weeks I did not have a rodeo with Mutt I may get a job with Johnny Ackle, Larkin or some other producer. It was a lot of work in those days,” said Peveto.
Perhaps the most interesting phase of his career was the time he announced rodeos at Gilley’s in Pasadena.
“Working at Gilley’s was the fanciest arena I ever worked in up to that time. It was air conditioned, heated and had a great sound system. When I got there, they handed me a microphone and asked me what else I needed. Sheldon Cryer and Mickey Gilley were business partners in the big night club and Cryer decided to build the indoor rodeo arena a few blocks from the club. It was a big deal and was crowded every Saturday night,” said Peveto.
“Sheldon Cryer had heard me announce a rodeo and came up to me and offered me the job. I really liked working there. I had the job for nearly a year when one Sunday afternoon after the rodeo the producer called me and told me the rodeo was shutting down. All I ever knew was that Cryer and Gilley had some sort of business dispute and ended the partnership. I lost the job as quick as I had gotten it.”
Once while working a two day rodeo at Deridder, Peveto was contacted by a representative from Wrangler who asked him to do a job announcing a benefit rodeo.
“It would not have paid me, so I turned it down. I always wondered if I made a mistake by turning Wrangler down,” said Peveto.
After Gilley’s string of rodeos ended, Peveto continued working for various producers and doing rodeos in many areas of Texas and a few in Louisiana.
Over the years he had become friends with Ray Cotton.
Cotton built a large entertainment complex in Vinton and in 2006 asked Peveto to work with him on building an indoor bull riding arena in the club. Peveto took that job on and became the announcer for the indoor bull ridings held twice monthly in the club. Cotton wanted to expand his rodeo business and convinced Peveto to become the rodeo director at the Texas Longhorn. Cotton’s dream was to build an outdoor, covered arena. Peveto took on the job of designing the arena.
Eventually the arena was built and several bull ridings, rodeos, team ropings, barrel racing events, ranch rodeos and a nationally sanctioned cutting horse event were held before the Longhorn management phased out the rodeo phase of the complex. Future rodeo plans at the Longhorn are not known at this time.
Since the rodeos at the Longhorn have ended, Peveto is taking a little well deserved time off. He will always be on call to do a rodeo. In his career he has done many benefit rodeos for injured cowboys or for some civic organization, or for any other good reason.
Announcing rodeos will always be a possibility, even though for now he is enjoying the time he spends with Linda, his wife of 45 years. They are the parents of their twins Shane and Shanna, and sons, Bruce and Scott.
Peveto is also an active member of the Buna Masonic Lodge. He has been a Mason for 16 years and progressed through the ranks to become the Past Worshpful Master of the Lodge.