Meet Bob Brown, an avid cyclist, outdoorsman and race announcer who grabs life by the horns and encourages others to do the same
By Savanah Bandy
Even if you’ve never met Bob Brown, if you live in the Four States, you probably have at least heard of Bob Brown.
That’s because, as the owner of BoCa Enterprises LLC, Bob is the race announcer and emcee of 5k races, marathons and triathlons throughout the region, including the annual Joplin Memorial Run. At events all year round, Bob’s thundering voice can be heard cracking jokes and cheering folks on at the finish line.
“I love doing the race announcing to see these individuals finishing their event. It’s all worth it if I can encourage them to give their all.”
Bob is an insurance agent by trade and owns the Bob Brown Agency – American Family Insurance, located at 1921 South Garrison Avenue in Carthage. He stumbled into his side hustle accidentally after years participating in countless races and triathlons. When sports injuries took him out of participating for a year, he started using his other talent — being everyone’s biggest hype man — to stay in the game.
“When I got injured, we were going great guns and all of a sudden, the foot injury and the knee injury held me back and then spurred the announcing,” Bob said. “We can always keep lemons as lemons, but the good part of life is taking them and making lemonade.”
In addition, the injuries took Bob out of running for about five years, but in true form, he turned lemons into lemonade and took his passion for cycling to the next level.
Bob has participated in three century rides, and most recently, an Ironman 70.3, which took place in Augusta, Georgia, September 26.
Perhaps his proudest accomplishment to date is Big BAM (Bike Across Missouri), a ride from Joplin to the St. Louis area.
“Eight of us from this area went in together. We just wanted to do it as a friendship ride and a challenge,” Bob said. “We did it over a five-day period, and we averaged 80 miles a day. We had duffle bags with our clothes, and tents, and we set up camp each night. We saw awesome sights along Route 66. It was unforgettable.”
Riding across Missouri is just the beginning for Bob. He has big goals on his Bucket List, including riding across all 50 states. That might sound like a lot, but Bob is no stranger to big goals.
“I hiked the Grand Canyon in one day. We started at the south rim and, all day and some of the evening, we got to the other side, just for the challenge. I canoed the Missouri River from the place where Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri meet to the opposite Missouri border. I went all the way across Missouri, down the Mississippi River to the Arch. Why? Why not? We get so passive in life. Life is just kind of there and we don’t grab it by the horns and shake it. These little challenges I do are just me living my life and taking hold of what’s out there.”
As much as Bob loves stacking up miles and busting personal records, the bonds he has formed with friends along the way are his greatest rewards.
“I believe the main reason I ride the bike is to socialize with my friends. We ride together training for events, and we ride together just from points A to B and chat along the way. I have countless hours and probably thousands of miles of training rides with a group of friends. In this world where we are gathering less and less and depending more and more on social media contact, it’s awesome to physically gather with friends and enjoy an outdoor activity together. These rides are even better when I get to meet people I don’t know, and we come together with this common interest.”
See more photos with this story in our print edition, October 2021.