Radio guy loves rodeo

Ruth Nicolaus
Special to Hays Daily News
Longtime Phillipsburg radio personality Tad Felts laughs as he interviews a rodeo guest. Felts has attended the rodeo nearly every year since he and his wife Patt moved to Phillipsburg more than fifty years.

PHILLIPSBURG – Tickets for Kansas Biggest Rodeo go on sale at Heritage Insurance Group in Phillipsburg on July 1.

Tickets for the rodeo, to be held July 30-August 1 have been on sale online since June 1, but purchasers can now buy them in person if they choose.

And it’s a safe bet that Phillipsburg’s most famous radio personality will be in the stands for the rodeo.

Tad Felts and his wife Patt moved to Phillipsburg in 1968, and except for two years in Idaho, have made the Kansas town their home.

Felts, who was on the air at KKAN/KQMA radio in town, is also the person who draws the winners of the raffle done during the rodeo on Saturday night.

“That night, I always make one friend and 299 enemies,” he quips, about drawing the winner from the 300 tickets sold. “When I was in the arena (for the drawing), people would holler at me, ‘pull my name.’”

Felts is no stranger to sports. As a radio DJ, he’s covered high school sports for Phillipsburg, Smith Center, Osborne, Stockton, Plainville, Logan, Northern Valley, Thunder Ridge, Palco and Norton.

The 87-year-old estimates he’s broadcast between 4,00 and 5,000 basketball games and 750 football games, and has been to every Kansas high school state track meet since 1968, except for this year’s meet that was canceled due to the COVID-19 virus.

He’s also interviewed many rodeo celebrities, including world champion cowboys and cowgirls. Some of his favorite interviews were with Greg Rumohr, a long-time Phillipsburg bullfighter, and Rick Young, who clowned the rodeo for years.

He loves the rodeo and the feeling of family and welcome it brings to town. “It’s a special crowd,” he said. “They all enjoy it, and there are as many people outside the stands as there are inside. A lot of people only see each other once a year, and that’s at rodeo time. It’s a big gathering.”

Felts admires the grit it takes for a cowboy to get on a bull or horse. “At times, I would sit up in the chute seats and I’d see these cowboys getting on bulls. I’d say, no way would I ever do that,” he laughed. “It takes a lot of extra stuff to get on the bulls or the broncs.”

Now retired, Felts still does a weekly podcast called “The Tadpoll,” and during rodeo week, interviews rodeo guests.

And when Aug. 1 rolls around, he’ll be in the back of the raffle vehicle as it comes into the arena, for the raffle drawing, ready to call out the name of the winner.

This year’s rodeo begins at 8 p.m. each night, July 30-31-August 1.

Tickets range in price from $12-15 for children and from $16-$19 for adults. For the Thursday, July 30 rodeo, kids up to the age of ten are free with the purchase of an adult ticket.

Heritage Insurance Group in Phillipsburg is located at 685 Third Street and is open from 8 am to 5 pm.

Tickets can also be purchased online at

For more information, visit the website or call 785.543.2448.