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Kurt Becker



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1801 W. International Speed Blvd

Daytona Beach, Florida 32114

United States

Company Description

Conveniently located in uptown Charlotte, N.C., the 150,000-square-foot NASCAR Hall of Fame is an interactive, entertainment attraction honoring the history and heritage of NASCAR. The high-tech venue, designed to educate and entertain race fans and non-f ... more

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Background Information

Employment History


Triple Crown

Track Announcer



Dogwood Stable


Altamont High School

Bachelor's Degree

Political Science

Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

political science degree

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

Web References (129 Total References)

Testimonials - Diamond Ochs Enterprises Tennessee Auctioneer – Real Estate, Livestock, Charity & Equipment Auctions [cached]

-- Kurt Becker Play-by-Play Announcer for NASCAR's MRN Radio Anchorman for Horse Racing Radio Network Barrett-Jackson/Keeneland Announcer

Testimonials - Diamond Ochs Enterprises Tennessee Auctioneer – Real Estate, Livestock, Charity & Equipment Auctions [cached]

-- Kurt Becker Play-by-Play Announcer for NASCAR's MRN Radio Anchorman for Horse Racing Radio Network Barrett-Jackson/Keeneland Announcer

Announcer reflects on career leading up ... [cached]

Announcer reflects on career leading up to big day at Keeneland | Kurt Becker has been Keeneland’s announcer and was inspired after listening to Tom Durkin who called the first Breeders’ Cup race. PHOTO BY MICHAEL REAVES I STAFF

Kurt Becker has been Keeneland's announcer and was inspired after listening to Tom Durkin who called the first Breeders' Cup race. PHOTO BY MICHAEL REAVES I STAFF
Kurt Becker has been Keeneland's announcer and was inspired after listening to Tom Durkin who called the first Breeders' Cup race.
On a chilly, drizzly day in November of 1988, 19-year-old Kurt Becker sat in his parent's barn-style living room watching the Breeders' Cup races. Coming from a family in the Standardbred business, his parents were puzzled by Becker's interest in thoroughbred racing but never discouraged it. Becker watched, eyes glued to the television as Alysheba took over the field with Tom Durkin's voice announcing, "Alysheba wins the world's richest horse race and he's now the richest horse!"
Becker began his announcing career alongside his father who was also an announcer for races at county fairs in his home state of Illinois. In the summer of 1985, 16-year-old Becker called his first race at a county fair that his dad was supposed to call. His father was scheduled to announce two county fairs on the same day so he sent his son to the second county fair to work in his place.
"Even though I was young, I was confident I could do the job and part of the confidence stemmed from the fact that I remember there were short fields scheduled for the races that particular day," Becker said.
After the day was done, his parents were impressed at his natural ability to call races and encouraged him to pursue announcing as a career. Becker had a different opinion and wanted to become a political commentator and live in Washington, D.C.
After receiving a political science degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Becker began more actively pursuing careers in announcing. "I must say as I stand here now at age 46, I'm grateful that my dad pushed me outside my comfort zone," Becker said. "If he had not challenged me in the way he did, I don't think I would have the career I've got today."
Becker started off at Red Mile in Lexington from 1988 until 1992 as an announcer. He later began his job in 1994 as a play-by-play announcer and anchor for Motor Racing Network's radio coverage for the top three touring division of NASCAR, covering the Sprint Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and Camping World Truck Series, and is still involved with MRN today.
But Becker's big break in thoroughbred racing came when he heard news that Keeneland was looking for a track announcer. After 60 years without a track announcer, Keeneland decided it was time to keep up with the times.
But they didn't want an announcer from another racetrack; Keeneland wanted their very own announcer to have their own sound. Becker was hired in April of 1997, becoming Keeneland's first track announcer. Although Becker did announce for Churchill Downs from 1997 until 1998, his schedule at Keeneland allowed him to maintain his job with MRN and gave him more leeway to juggle both jobs.
Kurt Becker prepares for calling a race at Keeneland.
"The experience at Churchill was fantastic, that will be something I will always be grateful having and to say I was the track announcer there," Becker said. After two years working for Keeneland, he was able to expand his role and work the sales. The prospect of spending more time with Keeneland allowed him the chance to also get more involved with NASCAR.
"It was really a case of me wanting to diversify my schedule," Becker said.
There is no other," Becker said.
As a man who loves his job, Becker describes announcing as "painting a picture" for the audience; always inspired by good sportscasters and good announcers who can paint that picture for the audience who is unable to visually see the race.
"Here at Keeneland, for example, for the caretaker who might be working and doesn't have time to walk up to the fence and watch the race, I want that person to have a picture of exactly how that race is unfolding," said Becker of NASCAR. "The listening audience doesn't have a visual reference and I like being able to paint the picture. Whether it's describing the colors of the cars, whether it's painting a picture of what the surrounding countryside or the speedway looks like, whatever it might be, that to me is a challenge and a thrill to be in that position to bring that type of information to the public and to enhance their experience."
Becker is looking forward to announcing the play-by-play of this year's Breeders' Cup.
"I love the fact that every horse in these Breeders' Cup races has a legitimate shot to win," Becker said. "It's exciting to me to have a chance to describe horses that may be 20 to 1 on Breeders' Cup day that any other day of the year they would probably be an even money or an 8 to 5 favorite."
Becker believes that any good announcer enjoys a good challenge, and he believes that his next challenge in announcing will be during the Breeders' Cup to remember to call every horse in the field. Because all of the horses in the field are high level horses, he has to stay on his toes and watch for any horse that may come up and take the race.
"You have to put the odds out of your mind and realize every single horse has a shot to win," Becker said. "As a result, you truly don't know from race to race where the winner is going to come from. That's the thrill and the challenge of it."
In preparation for the Breeders' Cup, Becker plans to spend a lot of time in the barns as well as watching morning workouts.
"I am a firm believer that things are less intimidating as they become more familiar," Becker said, "Lack of familiarity breeds intimidation, at least for me as a race announcer.

Kurt ... [cached]

Kurt Becker

Kurt Becker ready for Belmont Stakes
Saturday figures to be a hectic day for Kurt Becker.
And Kurt will be a part of it all.
He will serve as an analyst for the national radio broadcast that will be a joint effort this year between the Horse Racing Radio Network, NBC Sports Radio and Westwood One. Larry Collmus, from NBC Radio, will call the race, and Kurt, who is employed by Horse Racing Radio Network, will provide expert insight and commentary for the event.
"It's exciting," Kurt admitted.
And Kurt went with his Dad as often as possible.
"I went with him to county and state fairs in the Midwest," Kurt recalled.
"As it happened, Dad was supposed to be at Coles County and Edwards County on the same night," Kurt remembered. "I told him I'd like to give it a try and he agreed to let me."
So on August 1, 1985, Kurt's career was officially underway as he called the harness racing events that night.
He was hooked and hungry for more.
Kurt graduated from Altamont High School in 1987 and then attended Southern Illinois University-Carbondale where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science eight years later.
Why did it take so long?
"I went to school one semester at a time," Kurt explained. "Then I'd drop out as announcing opportunities came up. I fit schooling in whenever I could."
By age 19, Kurt was hired to call perimutuel harness racing at "The Red Mile" in Lexington, Kentucky. By January 1993, he transitioned to parimutuel thoroughbred racing in Chicago, calling races at Arlington Park, Sportsman's Park and Hawthorne Race Course.
"I just happened to pick up a copy of the Chicago Tribune one day and read that the longtime announcer at Arlington Park was retiring after 35 years," Kurt noted. "It also said they were accepting applications and I thought what the heck."
Kurt was hired.
"In hindsight, being young, willing to work hard and not having a high salary demand all worked in my favor," he said.
Kurt's skills and work ethic continued to open doors. In 1997, he was hired to call races at Churchill Downs in Louisville; and Keeneland Race Course in Lexington. He still calls races and conducts horse auctions at Keeneland.
Along the way, the opportunity to get involved with motor racing came along. He began covering NASCAR races for the Motor Racing Network in 1994.
"The Demo Derby at the Effingham County Fair was my first exposure to motor sports and I never got over it," Kurt admitted.
Kurt, who said his life is still based in Altamont and owns a home there, noted the bulk of his work is done from April through Thanksgiving. In addition to motor sports and horse racing, he also announces at several horse auctions during the year and at the week-long Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Sale in Scottsdale, Arizona, in late January.
But Saturday, he will be focused on horse racing and American Pharoah's shot at becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. Seattle Slew did it in 1977 and the great Secretariat won all three legs in 1973.
This will be the fourth time Kurt has been involved with the radio broadcast of the Belmont Stakes. He has also called the Kentucky Derby, which he refers to as the pinnacle in horse racing.
Kurt has already started preparing for the race. He spends a minimum of two hours a day looking up resources and reading articles on American Pharoah and the other horses entered. He will contact other horsemen and racing experts, trying to determine why this horse might or might not accomplish this rare feat.
He will watch previous videos of American Pharoah and other Belmont races. He will also rely on the notes he has accumulated over the past two months and his observations from the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
"I have to be as prepared as possible on Belmont day," Kurt emphasized.
As for Saturday's race, Kurt expects American Pharoah to be standing in the winner's circle.
"I just don't see a real threat," he said.
Kurt said the one question seems to be jockey Victor Espinoza.
"Some critics say he's the weak link in the equation," Kurt added. "I think that criticism is unfair. If he comes out of the gate and rides with confidence, I think he's good to go."
Kurt admitted it's going to be a hectic two days.
On Friday night, he will be calling a Camping World Truck Series race at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. He probably won't even get back to his motel room until midnight or after.
But that will not affect his anticipation and enthusiasm for the big race day.
"Whoever wins deserves their day in the sun and we have an obligation to discuss either outcome," Kurt said.

Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club | Enhancing and protecting our professional interests [cached]

Next Membership Meeting: Kurt Becker

Kurt Becker
Kurt Becker Kurt Becker was hired in the spring of 1997 to be the first track announcer in Keeneland history. A native of Illinois, he had previously called races on the Chicago circuit. Kurt also serves as an announcer for the Keeneland sales, a position which he has held since 2000, and he is an analyst for Horse Racing Radio Network's coverage of the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup. A graduate of Southern Illinois University, Kurt also serves as a play-by-play announcer for Motor Racing Network's coverage of NASCAR racing, in addition to working as an announcer for Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Events.
Next Membership Meeting: Kurt Becker

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