On a farm outside of Stoutland in mid-Missouri, he practiced jump shots on a goal in the barnyard and, in the summer, day-dreamed of being a big-leaguer by picking up rocks and swinging a wiffle ball bat.

See the tree line to the left at the bottom of the hill? That was the outfield wall at Kevin Stubblefield’s farm home.

“I can still hear my mom yelling at me to, ‘Do something creative,’” Stubblefield said. “I guess it turns out that I was.”

Those rural days emulating Stan Musial or the latest Mizzou basketball star fueled Stubblefield’s love for sports – a passion that led to what’s now a four-decade career in sports radio broadcasting.

Which is why the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame proudly inducted Stubblefield with the Class of 2021.

This football season marks the 41st for Stubblefield, who has covered nearly 4,000 games in a variety of sports.

A 1977 graduate of Stoutland High School and a 1981 graduate of Missouri State University, he got his start on KLWT in Lebanon and has been with KJEL the past 25 ½ years.

Stubblefield has been a Friday night football fixture for the Yellowjackets since 1981 and has been on the call for Lebanon boys and girls basketball games, plus the Yellowjackets baseball and softball games for years.

Highlights include Lebanon’s 1991 football team (the first in program history to qualify for the postseason), baseball’s 1982 and 2002 state semifinal teams, and Lebanon softball’s state semifinal in 1998, as well as Camdenton football’s 1996, 1999 and 2005 state championship games. He also called the championship runs of Hartville boys basketball (2016, 2020, 2021) and Skyline girls basketball in recent years.

This for a sports fan who, in his youth, tuned in to his bedside radio and listened to Vern Hawkins calling Missouri State Bears games, or followed games thanks to the 50,000-watt stations piped in from Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Dallas, Minneapolis, Denver and, of course, St. Louis.

A statistician for Stoutland basketball games during his high school years, Stubblefield found his calling while attending Missouri State. There, he took a production class taught by Arlen Diamond, then the general manager of KSMU radio.

“I thought being the voice of Lebanon sports would be fun, so I applied and was persistent and, ultimately, fortunate that an opening developed at KLWT in September 1981,” Stubblefield said.

In essence, Stubblefield is a pro’s pro. His straightforward delivery fits right into the Ozarks, and it’s enhanced because he does his homework on teams well ahead of the games. That includes stats but also each team’s recent stretches, plus their histories and what it all means.

“My style revolves around creating energy that’s evident to the listeners. Postseason games don’t require much effort for that to happen; it’s the nature of those types of contests,” Stubblefield said. “Keeping the regular-season games to where the audience doesn’t want to leave is key.”

Even better …

“You develop integrity by trying to be balanced in covering events,” Stubblefield said. “I attempt to show excitement for both teams that are competing and try to be an advocate for everyone’s efforts.”

Stubblefield was inducted into the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2016.

He credits Warren Goforth for hiring him at KLWT, and also counts KJEL’s Mike Edwards and Mike Morris as important mentors over the years. Plus, David Millsap has been his broadcast partner for more than a quarter century. He also never forgot Charlie Brown (MSHOF President’s Award 2014) and Bob Garner – two big Lebanon sports fans – for their encouragement and support.

Along the way, Stubblefield developed a great rapport with Lebanon coaches, especially basketball coach Jacky Payne (MSHOF 2018) and football coach Will Christian, as well as many others whose games he covered.

Overall, he cannot thank his wife, Rhonda, and their sons, Andrew and Trevor, enough for their understanding and support.

He also learned much from Ozarks broadcasters Art Hains (MSHOF 2016), Don West (MSHOF 2019), Scott McCaulley (MSHOF 2020), Mike McClure, Perry Phillips and Marv Luten.

And it all started on a farm near Stoutland. His dad, C.A., took him to Cardinals and Royals games, and his mom, Claudia, pushed him to be better. Likewise, sisters Charla, Melissa and Melanie helped him love sports even more.

“It’s been a blast for 40-plus years covering sporting events, enjoying the competition and making lifetime friendships,” Stubblefield said. “I’ve definitely been blessed and hopefully represented my stations and the community at a high level.”