The voice of Fonner Park dies after battle with cancer
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Steve Anderson, known by many as the Voice of Fonner, has died.
In a post on the I Skated @ Skate Island Facebook group, Kelly Schuller announced the news of the longtime Fonner Park announcer’s death.
“It is with a very heavy heart I tell you that Steve Anderson lost his courageous battle with Cancer. He is now pain free & flying with the angels. Please keep the family of Steve Anderson in your hearts and prayers. RIP my friend.”
Fonner Park CEO Chris Kotulak said Anderson first began calling races at Fonner Park in 2004. Fonner Park was the first track he became a track announcer and did it for 19 years. His last day of race calling was on April 2, 2022.
Kotulak said he was the fabric of Fonner Park, but also a friend.
“He was so humble and that often is not found in an announcer position and Steve had that, and that’s what made him so likeable,” he added.
One of his favorite race calls was the win of Diamond Joe in the April 27, 2013 Bosselman Gus Fonner Stakes; race 9. You can watch the race via the Fonner Park website.
Anderson not only was the longtime announcer of Fonner Park horse racing, but he also was the owner of Skate Island.
Back in January, Anderson spoke with Local4 about the demolition of the longtime Grand Island staple.
He said seeing the building torn down was gut-wrenching.
“I raised my family in here. My kids were 2 and 4 when I came back to town,” he said. “It’s something you never expect to ever happen.”
Skate Island was closed for 3 and a half months in 2020 due to the pandemic. He said they were able to overcome that, but then the roof collapsed in February 2021 and then he learned of his serious health issues. He said it was hard to come back from that.
When it came to calling races, he loved what he did.
Back in 2019, Anderson was interviewed during Local4 Today at the beginning of horse racing season.
He told former morning anchor Russ Batenhorst that he loved a $2,500 claiming race as much as a high-dollar stake race. He said the biggest criticism he would get from some people is how can you get excited for the cheaper horses running for a half mile.
This was his response.
“I just love racing so I try to inject that enthusiasm into my race call and I’ve patterned myself after a lot of other race callers so there are not a whole lot of original things that come out of my mouth but my enthusiasm bleeds over and just adds to the atmosphere of the racetrack and has kept me going for 16 years,” Anderson said back in 2019.
Anderson also worked at KHAS-TV, currently KSNB-TV, for a short time in the early 80s. Prior to that he worked for NTV for many years.
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