Sports broadcaster Verne Lundquist looks at a framed display of Sports Illustrated covers featuring Doak Walker, Skeeter Werner Walker and Buddy Werner that hangs on the wall of his office. It’s one of the many items the longtime broadcaster has hanging on his wall marking special people or events in his life.

Photo by John F. Russell

Sports broadcaster Verne Lundquist looks at a framed display of Sports Illustrated covers featuring Doak Walker, Skeeter Werner Walker and Buddy Werner that hangs on the wall of his office. It’s one of the many items the longtime broadcaster has hanging on his wall marking special people or events in his life.

John F. Russell: Verne’s reality is a good one

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— Walk through the doors of sports broadcaster Verne Lundquist’s home in Steamboat Springs and prepare to be blown away — and not just by the beautiful home he shares with his wife, Nancy, but by the warm greeting the couple will give you once inside the door.

It doesn’t take long to figure out that Verne’s a genuinely nice guy — and pretty much the same one we’ve come to know through our TV sets throughout the years.

There are times when I wonder what the people we watch on TV are really like.

Do you ever stop and ask yourself if Charlie Sheen is really acting on “Two and a Half Men,” or is he simply being himself? OK, maybe that’s a bad example.

Still, my guess is that most of the people on shows such as “The Bachelor” do it in hopes of finding fame. I also would venture a guess that the contestants on “The Apprentice” are not as bad, or as good, as they come across on the show.

And then there’s Verne Lundquist.

If you watch college football or basketball, you probably are pretty familiar with Verne’s voice. If you’ve ever watched the Masters, the PGA Championships or any other high-profile round of golf, you’ve probably heard his one-of-a-kind belly laugh.

Not into those sports? That’s OK, maybe you’ve heard that laugh somewhere else.

He was the lead announcer for CBS’s coverage of figure skating at the 1992, 1994 and 1998 Winter Olympics. He also made an appearance, playing himself, in the movie “Happy Gilmore.”

His extensive credits at CBS Sports also include track and field, swimming, diving, boxing, volleyball, gymnastics, soccer, weight lighting, freestyle skiing, archery, horse racing and horse jumping. During his career, you could have heard his voice on a number of networks including CBS, ABC and TNT.

Verne was the radio voice of the Dallas Cowboys (1972-1984) and knows many of the biggest names in sports. He could drop names faster than the New York Stock Exchange does points on a bad day.

But that’s not Verne’s style.

Sure, he’s got more great stories than a library, and if you ask, he’ll show you a wall filled with pictures of him with famous athletes and others. But despite the things he’s accomplished, the people he has met and the opportunities he’s enjoyed, Verne remains a down-to-earth guy.

He’s the type of guy who’s willing to give his time and money to things such as the Strings Music Festival, Routt County United Way and Boys & Girls Club of America. The kind of guy who is willing to sit down with a reporter from the local paper and share a few stories despite the fact he really doesn’t need any more media exposure.

When you talk to him, he makes it sound like he’s the lucky one. I guess that’s why there is at least one celebrity out there who still blows me away. Thanks, Verne.

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