Handed a microphone and an amp at just 19 years old, Chelsea Dygert Sutton became an announcer by accident. Her life has always been surrounded by horse shows and reining, but she was focused on being a scribe when life handed her a platform that better fit her personality better.
“As a teenager I got involved in horse shows because my dad was producing them, so I was the gofer. I enjoyed seeing all aspects of the show and how much my parents poured into it. As soon as I could start making money at it, my dad told me to start scribing.”
During the Carolina Classic Derby, a show manager placed their full trust in Chelsea when an announcer didn’t make it to the show.
“I’ll never forget the show manager telling me, ‘Hey, you grew up in this, you basically know what needs to be said, you know how to get a horse in the ring, so you’ll figure it out.’ I remember every mistake I made at that horse show. But I also remember at the end of it realizing this was my favorite thing to do.”
Showing was never Chelsea’s sweet spot in the Western horse industry, but she’s tried her hand at reining enough to appreciate the sport for more than the fast spins and long slides.
“I’ve been in the showpen enough times to know that if I walked out with a score, it was a good day. I think that was enough to give me an appreciation for the sport and for horsemanship.”
Experiencing a reining pattern from a completely different angle is one of Chelsea’s favorite parts of announcing.
“I’m in love with reining as a sport and how the judging system gets applied. I love being able to see how the beauty of the run and the technicality of the scores come together. And then I’m the one who gets to create a presentation for the exhibitor and audience to experience.”
After graduating from Arizona State University, Chelsea found herself in a typical 9-to-5 job. After turning down two shows, she realized her job needed to be flexible enough to fit announcing into the mix. She is the founder and CEO of ConsultMent, a marketing agency based in Cave Creek, Arizona. (Link: https://consultmentaz.com/?fbclid=IwAR2GPmMBcSItWOqvAML6NndhyHWdJVFyDdLhuOnLaJaCwPVK99LDWYhvTnI).
“I remember very clearly deciding I wanted to continue to announce and stay involved in the horse world. I’d love to make this a larger part of what I do professionally, but I also respect the size of the industry and the other announcers who I’m constantly trying to learn from.”
As an announcer, there are two specific moments Chelsea lives for.
“The first: the anticipation and build up as I announce a new high score. And secondly, when I see a parent pick up their kid and dance to my music. There’s nothing more rewarding than when I get to share those moments of authentic joy and raw excitement with them. And most of the time, they don’t even know they’re sharing it with me.”
Catch Chelsea and her tunes in the Adequan® Arena for the duration of the 2020 NRHA Derby presented by Markel! Rumor has it, if you tell her what song you want to rein to, she can make that happen.