Voices of Marymoor, part one

As the season kicks off we'll be taking time to introduce our community to the announcers that bring life to our race nights. Who are they? How do they know so much about track racing? How can they tell who won that race?

Part one introduces you to Phil "Bilko" Stephens, one of the voices of Friday night racing.

Let’s start with the well-known “Oh my mercy!” Are these catch phrases that excite the crowd spur of the moment, or are they thought out before hand? Does any preparation go into announcing a Friday night at the track?

Some of these I have just made up over the years…. And they morph to fit the situation.  Whatever works when I need it. 

Does any preparation go into announcing a Friday night at the track?
Some prep goes into the night.  Making sure events are covered.  VIP and Sponsor items that come up each week – they are worth thinking about.  I hope to be insightful enough to try to talk about other things in Marymoor Park – concerts/movies, our classes etc…  maybe even some results of locals who are racing elsewhere….  i.e. - Kids at Jr. Track Nationals, etc..
 
I have raced for a few years now – starting as a junior racer in 1983.  That and having an Officials, Coaches licenses and having been a District Rep (IN/KY) have let me see USA Cycling and it’s events from many different angles.  That experience and the time and network are also some things that I think I bring to the mic at each race….
 
How did you get into race announcing?
1992 - I was Asst. Manager of Programs at Major Taylor Velodrome in Indianapolis and we didn’t have funds to hire a pro announcer from a ways away, so I stepped up and did it.  I had some fun, and others didn’t seem to think I was horrible… from there I got to do multiple National Championships, Goodwill Games, Para Worlds, Police & Fire Worlds, etc… 
 
As for Marymoor, Kenny and Annette Williams who have traveled often to so many tracks and races all over the country had heard me a Nationals and World Cup Qualifiers, and they said they’d try to influence things to get me in the door when I moved here.  Phil Miller was another who vouched of my past events where he’d been officiating.   I guess I didn’t blow it when Jerry Baker let me on the PA?
 
How long have you been the voice of races? (Not just at Marymoor) 
 
1992 I got rolling.
 
What is your favorite race to announce, and why?
I like races with good crowds.  I value the energy from others and use that to bolster my own.  Races with crazy crowds, beer gardens and lots of action are my favorites – always.
 
What excites you the most about announcing track racing?
To me the track community and the strategy from having to do three races a night provides so many sub-stories to the action.  I wish the average spectator knew of all the different races that are going on each evening of racing
 
We know that you do some racing yourself. Do you ever commentate to yourself while racing? A little… personal motivation??
Funny.  Yes, but it is fear of failure that does the most talking then… 
 
Have you ever thought about doing ringtones?
Nope.  No crowd.
 
Thanks Bilko.
 
You heard it here folks, not only does a great crowd atmosphere motivate the racers but it helps the announcer as well. Come on out and support bike racing in Marymoor Park!