Watching and listening to the greyhound racing action at bestbet, you would probably consider Joe Ross to be one of the best track announcers. Continuing our interviews with greyhound racing announcers, we recently spoke with Joe, originally from Boston, Massachusetts, where he grew up with greyhound racing. Joe loves the sport, his job, and those involved in the greyhound racing industry, which is very clear in the way he announces and the conversation we had with him.
Joe’s dad really enjoyed greyhound racing and had a few dogs that raced. This spurred Joe’s interest in greyhound racing as he would head to the racetrack with his dad and help out with the dogs. This allowed Joe to get a lot of hands on experience in the greyhound racing industry at an early start.
Growing up, Joe played all sorts of sports, but he found greyhound racing to be a good spectator sport and a good way to earn a little extra money on the side. This was especially nice while he was in college, where playing the dogs at Raynham Park in Raynham, Massachusetts, gave him the opportunity to earn cash to help him through college.
Living in Florida, Joe and his wife, Jennifer, decided to move to Arizona. Joe visited Phoenix Greyhound Park one night to bet on the dogs and ended up working at the track for 15 years. While at Phoenix Greyhound Park, Joe participated in many different jobs, including announcing. During this time, Joe ran a couple race books at the Native American casinos in Phoenix, so he has a lot of experience working in the industry. Those 15 years at Phoenix Greyhound Park came to a close because Joe and Jennifer wanted to move back to Florida. Joe received a couple of job offers in Florida before accepting an announcing gig at bestbet, where he has now been for 10 years.
Working at bestbet, Joe has had the pleasure of calling many amazing races. His favorite stakes event is the Orange Park Derby and some memorable races of his include the 2009 James J. Patton Marathon won by Penny Candy and the 2007 and 2008 Marathon Championships won back to back by Kiowa Wish Frank. Currently, Joe has been a fan of Real Good Feeling and Herstal, both fantastic greyhounds that have stakes experience under their belts. Seldom Told, who recently retired, has also been a recent favorite of Joe’s. While Joe likes all greyhound racing, he really enjoys the marathon races where the pups can show their skills.
“A dog can get bumped around and still get a chance to win.”
While calling greyhound races can be fun and exciting, it’s not an easy job. Announcers need to stay focused during a race and in the know of everything greyhound racing. They have to be able to speak quickly and follow the fast-paced changes that occur during a race. Those, like Joe, who can call the races and do it well are quite impressive.
“A racetrack announcer is kind of like an umpire. You only notice them when they screw up.”
Joe is a joy to listen to while watching a race. He is descriptive and energetic, both great qualities in a track announcer. While Joe was announcing in Phoenix, an older gentleman, who was almost completely blind told Joe that he loved the way Joe called the races because of how descriptive he was. Joe’s calling style made it much easier for this nearly blind man to follow the live racing action that he could not visually see. This is one of the most gratifying things that has happened to Joe and he really took that exchange to heart, choosing to call the races while including as much information on the dogs as he can.
Over the years, Joe has learned a lot about calling races. Some announcers that Joe really admires and likes to listen to are Frank Ashman and Bob Haberly from bestbet, his good friend Jim Peake from Derby Lane, Mike Jameson, Ramon Cadavieco, and Dale Simons from Palm Beach, Jerry Esherman from Wheeling, and Bob Thacker from Sanford Orlando. Everyone has their own style, but they can also learn from one another, which is something that Joe really appreciates about announcing. They all have a common goal of caring about the dogs and trying to do the best that they can.
There is one announcer that Joe considers the best of the best, and that is Steven Steel. Steven worked at both Raynham and Ebro Greyhound Park at one point and Joe describes him as being extremely descriptive. He would call every dog’s name, which is hard to do in greyhound racing, how many lengths behind they were, and why they did or didn’t win.
“He was the most amazing race caller of dog racing I’ve ever heard in my life.”
Working as an announcer is a career that Joe truly loves. Taking advice from his father, Joe made sure he had things in his life he enjoyed doing, including his job. Greyhound racing is something that Joe has been involved in nearly his whole life and he is very passionate about it. This makes his job all the more enjoyable and fun for him.
“I learned something from my dad. I took one thing before he passed and he said, ‘Son, you’re going to work your whole life, make sure you do something that you love.”
Sounds like Joe has done just that.
We would like to thank Joe Ross for speaking with us. Make sure to listen to Joe at bestbet for some really greyt announcing and racing. One of our main goals is to promote the greyhound industry. Do you work in the greyhound racing industry or know someone who does? Would you be interested in being featured in our blog or podcast? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.