Riders of the radio waves

By Martha Frost: QCS staff

Duel Paris and Virgil McDonald enjoy being the eyes and voice for the Tucumcari Rattlers football team.

“We get the best seat in the house,” said Paris, who has spent 15 years as an announcer for 92.7 KQAY-FM radio, “and we’re glad to do it for the people who can’t make the game.

“I really enjoy sports anyway — and good sportsmanship,” he said, adding announcing lets him get to know the kids involved in sports who are trying to juggle athletics with academics and all their other extracurricular activities.

Duel’s wife, Dianne Paris, is the station vice president.

“They love it — it’s their passion. They love to see the kids play,” Dianne Paris said. “They’ll do anything for me — I couldn’t do it without them.”

McDonald announced away games over the radio and home games over the public address system for 12 or 13 years.

“You can’t say the same things over a P.A. system that you say over the radio — you might give away the play.

“We can talk about the game as we see it unfolding,” McDonald said.

McDonald was shy at first about talking over the radio, he said, especially if he had to go down to the station and talk.

“But now, give me a mike, and I can’t get enough of it.”
McDonald’s son, Nathan, plays on the team. “They are all my kids,” he said.

“When one of them gets hurt, I hurt with them.

“Of course when Nathan (McDonald) goes down, I’m on the edge of my seat, but injuries are a part of sports, and unfortunately some (athletes) have to pay the price.”

McDonald mentioned the injuries suffered by some of the Rattlers this season, including Eric Holt, Drew White, Brian Lopez and McDonald, who didn’t even get to practice this week because of a shoulder injury.

The Rattlers, who have already qualified for the Class 2A playoffs, hosted Bernalillo on Friday in a non-district contest.

“He (Nathan) wants to play, but I doubt if the starters play past the first quarter,” McDonald said Friday morning.
“The coaches will want to protect them, but we want to win, too — we want to start the playoffs in the right frame of mind.”