Starr Yelland was born in Mason City, Iowa, and graduated from the University of Iowa in 1937 with a degree in journalism. Some of his closest associates might argue that Starr Yelland was a prominent member of Denver’s sports media before his time. They point out that if he were in his prime today, he would be right at home in the high-priced ratings game of modern television. His qualities would make him a sure thing for national exposure in what has become Denver’s major-league world of sports.
For almost 40 years from his start in 1940, Yelland was the dominant sportscaster in the Denver area. Yelland’s credits included coverage of the University of Colorado for 26 years. He was the play-by-play voice on the first baseball broadcast from Bears Stadium, which became Mile High Stadium. He was part of KOA’s first television newscast. But golf was Yelland’s specialty. He reported golf, and he played the game to a fashion. During his media days, Yelland had airtime for the game’s giants as well as its hackers. Local golfers soon learned that if they had a hole-in-one, it was part of Yelland’s sports report.
Yelland attended the U.S. Open at Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minn., where Bobby Jones was on his way to a grand slam in 1930. In 1963, Yelland earned honorary membership from the Colorado PGA. Yelland was a transplanted Coloradan, but a Coloradan through-and-through. “We’ve got it all right here,” Yelland explained. “And golf has become such an integral part of the sports scene here.”
Yelland’s time in Denver was interrupted by service in the Navy during World War II when he participated in the battle of Iwo Jima. He became a giant to his associates and friends during a period of tragedy when he lost his son, Starr, in an accident. “He never missed a day at his son’s bedside,” said Steve Kady, an associate of Yelland’s for years at KMGH, Channel 7.