Labor of love
Banks' Trevor Beard is living the dream.
Ever since he was a child, growing up in the small southern Oregon town of Yoncalla, he knew he what wanted to do. .
"A high school advisor once told me, 'find something you really enjoy doing and do that for a career,'" Beard said. "The fact that I love to talk and love sports, broadcasting was a great combination for me."
Beard is the voice of Banks athletics: Football and volleyball in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball and softball in the spring. If you follow Banks and the games they play, you've likely seen or heard the 43-year-old Beard broadcasting a game or 20 from the press box or grandstands at Banks High School.
Beard admits he's not always perfect in his play-by-plays, but what you can always count on, he said, is a passion for high school sports few can match.
"I've always loved sports, and the opportunity to describe sports and what's going on in a game is so much fun for me," Beard said. "I just have a passion for sports and I hope that comes through when you listen to my broadcasts."
Small town beginnings
The 1994 graduate of Yoncalla High School played a little baseball growing up, but it was basketball that really caught his attention. The son of a high school shop teacher, Beard would regularly come home from school and shoot hoops for an hour at their home in the small logging town wedged between Roseburg and Eugene. It was there that he grooved his formidable outside shot, but it was also there that he forged his love for the game — and later discovered a niche he'd tap into later in life.
"The area I grew up in had no radio or television station, and Yoncalla went to state quite a bit, but never got covered," Beard said. "That was a big influence on me and why I wanted to go into broadcasting, so I could get coverage for these small schools."
After graduation, he moved with his family to Newport, where he got his first job at a local radio station in Waldport. He started as a color analyst for local high school football, and over the next decade worked for a couple different stations in the central Oregon coast area as a board operator and weekend on-air announcer — but never quite enough in sports. After marrying in 2004, Beard moved to Banks to be closer to his in-laws, and hoped at the time the larger market would offer him an opportunity to get his foot in the door at a local radio station. He worked for a short period of time for KUIK in Hillsboro, but after being let go, noticed that the Internet appeared to be the avenue to what he hoped would be a career in play-by-play.
"I actually talked to a kid back home in Yoncalla who was doing some Internet broadcasting," he said. He used a live audio recording and broadcasting platform to stream his play-by-play to fans. "So he showed me a little bit about it and I got started covering Banks."
Internet broadcasting is remarkably easy to get started. According to Beard, you really just need a laptop, a headset and an audio mixer. Depending upon the location, you can broadcast from a press box, but Beard often just does so from the grandstand or bleachers. He worked his first Banks game in the fall of 2015 — a football game — but since then has been a staple at boys and girls games throughout the school year. Banks High Principal Jacob Pence appreciates the broadcaster's effort and says the community is lucky to have someone so dedicated to covering the teams — and in turn, a community interested in supporting that effort.
"It's great for the players and fans of the Braves, some of which have relatives across the country that can tune in and follow the team and hear the games live," Pence said. "It's great to have someone broadcast our events. I don't think many other schools our size have something like this, and it's only possible due to the community and business support, and of course, Trevor."
Always looking to improve
Like anyone, he's still mastering his craft. Beard grew up listening to local broadcasting legends, including the University of Oregon's Jerry Allen and Portland Trail Blazers icon Bill Schonely. He still listens to Oregon State's Mike Parker and has long been a fan of outgoing Blazers play-by-play man Brian Wheeler. He still hopes to someday secure a full-time broadcasting position, and dreams of maybe working an NBA or big-time college football game.
In addition to working days for a manufacturing company in Forest Grove, Beard has also spoken to local high schools about teaching an Internet broadcasting class.
"I've talked to some other schools about possibly teaching this as a career development program," Beard said. "It's very easy to learn and very teachable, plus it's a pretty fun career path for people like me who weren't good enough to make it at the college level playing sports, but still want to be involved with the games."
Beard said he's had a couple different opportunities to pursue positions in both Idaho and Henley in recent years, but with two kids — Kaleb, 14, and Graciee, 10 — he prefers to stay put in Banks, where he and his kids are comfortable. He's also branching out with his Westside Mobile Media, taking on the Hillsboro Barbers American Legion team this summer. He hopes that as he broadens his audience, he'll be able to build a bigger brand better capable of covering an underappreciated Washington County.
"There's 250,000 people in Washington County and there's no local coverage," Beard noted.
Count Banks boys head basketball coach Marc Roche as someone who appreciates Beard's work, and knows that others both in and out of town do as well.
"Trevor does an excellent job covering our sports teams," Roche said. "He is very passionate about what he does and provides a great service to our community with his broadcasting. I know many who cannot catch the Braves live in action appreciate his efforts to broadcast for them at home and on the road."
Beard recently dropped Mixlr and is now broadcasting using Open Broadcasting Software (OBS), which lets him use video, along with allowing him to include graphics, scoreboard, logos for sponsors and video commercials.
"It should be an upgrade for the people who love to follow Banks sports, and should be a much better way to follow the game," Beard said.
He typically sells about 10 sponsorships a year, but hopes to get more as his audience grows. His rates are very affordable, and he aims to keep them that way in an effort to properly serve the community he loves so much.
"I've always been kind of a people person and put others in front of myself, so in that sense it gives me the opportunity to serve the community and school where I live," Beard said. "Plus it allows me to do something I have a passion for."
And what does he ultimately hope will come of this? Obviously, something bigger and better, but also more of the same experience to which he owes so much.
"When I got started, I was struggling and not real happy with life, and I needed something to occupy my mind and make me happy," Beard said. "Once I started doing it, the community support I've gotten in Banks has been incredible and has really kept me going. I have a lot of gratitude for that."
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