The Tailgate Entertainer | Performers | Performance Business | Creatives | Artists | Talent Buyers

Tailgate Entertainer is a podcast about the fair industry and the exciting people involved in it. The goal of the show is to help those involved in the industry succeed by sharing years of collected wisdom. You will not find a more eclectic mix of people in the world than those that work at fairs. Their exciting journeys, lessons, and humorous anecdotes are woven together here to provide encouragement, education, and support for the industry.
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The Tailgate Entertainer | Performers | Performance Business | Creatives | Artists | Talent Buyers




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Now displaying: 2016
Dec 27, 2016

Today we are kicking off our last episode of 2016, it’s going to be a bit of a short one, but a good one. If you haven’t heard our show before, we are all about the fair industry. Also, here is a message to some of the fair boards, we asked on our Facebook what you all want to hear in 2017, so we’ll talk a little about that today and I also asked what your greatest lesson was in 2016. All of that will be captured in today’s show, glad you’re here with us. 


Listen to the episode as Alan also discusses:


  • Get people who can bring you a fresh perspective and use younger people to get to the demographic you want to reach 
  • God’s mercies are new every morning and each moment is a new moment to align your mind and will with God’s and the result is perfect peace 
  • Never Assume 
  • Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good 
  • Read the sports page on the front of the newspaper so that you’re not a sports illiterate 
  • There is always a way with the help of many 
  • There are at least three sides to every story
  • Cherish each moment spent with family and friends
  • Try to put yourself in other people's shoes 
  • Do not judge others 
  • Being a professional entertainer is a team effort 




Tailgate Entertainer Facebook Group

Know Grow Prepare Love Facebook Group









Dec 20, 2016

Welcome to my show everyone! Merry Christmas to you! Now, if you’ve never heard our show before, we are all about the fair industry. We don’t spend a lot of time talking about corn dogs or Ferris Wheels, even though those are two important parts. We spend most of our time talking about the amazing people involved, and that’s why I stay in it.

I decided to make this episode a Christmas episode, but that doesn’t mean I’m leaving out all the people who celebrate in a different way.  We have a fantastic guest coming your way, and her name is Teddy Anne Cunningham.

She is originally from Wyoming and lives there now with her husband and two kids. She has been playing at fairs for over 25 years, mostly with her brother Cal. They are both amazing artists. She told me a funny story about them growing up, she said they were “reluctant graduates of the wooden spoon youth movement program, under the supervision of Mama Lark Lindford”. Which kind of reminds me a bit of my mama as well.

I love her story, plus, she is a strong woman of faith, has an angelic voice, loves her family, and loves her career. You might want to put your headphones on for this episode because you’re going to hear some cool songs. I even included one that her brother Cal sings. So sit back ladies and gentlemen, here is Teddy Anne Cunningham.



  • She played with her family over 27 years ago for the first time because the band didn’t show up
  • Talks about her husband being a fair manager
  • Events that have happened in the fair industry that she needed to walk in faith
  • Did you feel the stronger your faith was, the stronger the resistance was?
  • As an adult, what kind of things are challenging you now?
  • Created to have a family and be a performer
  • It’s okay that Teddy is not a super established musician because Teddy has also concentrated on all her other dreams (like her family)
  • Everything Teddy does is for her kids
  • Mothers just spend all their time taking care of their kids, which is Teddy’s biggest challenge in taking care of her own career
  • John Dunnigan was her biggest aspiration as a kid
  • Teddy and her brother mostly perform locally
  • The ultimate dream for performing somewhere: meeting Vince Gill or Ronny Crowell
  • For self-improvement, you pray


Resources & Links:

Dec 13, 2016

If you have talent, as yet untapped, or you love watching performers do their thing at fairs, Terry Fator will certainly inspire you. Whether or not you are in the fair industry, you will love Terry. Listen to his down to earth approach to becoming successful as he talks to Alan Bruess about his meteoric rise to fame since 2005, on today's episode of Tailgate Entertainer.


Terry, singer, comedian and ventriloquist/impersonator,  a great, funny, regular guy, won America's “Who's got Talent” in 2007. One year later, he signed a five-year deal with The Mirage for $100,000,000! All this, with skills he honed while performing at fairs. Listen in today, as Terry talks to Alan about his incredible experiences and the fascinating people he has met, in the world of the fair industry.

Join Terry and Alan, as they discuss:


  • Terry's passion for performing on stage.
  • How Terry started performing at age three.
  • The touching story of Terry's sensitive handling of an autistic boy at a “meet and greet” session.
  • What it takes to win in life.
  • How Danny Gans really inspired Terry to become a ventriloquist/impersonator.
  • Terry's standing ovation in 2006, at the Rocky Mountain Showcase.
  • How Terry got to perform on “America's got Talent”.
  • How you can work your way up, as an entertainer, through the fair industry.
  • Terry's unprecedented rise to success.
  • What you put out, comes back to you.
  • What Terry does with the money he earns from selling merchandise at fairs.


Connect with Terry:

Get Tickets for Terry's show in Las Vegas


Join our Facebook Group! We'd love to get to know you better!


Dec 6, 2016

Karla MajewskiThis week, we have Karla Majewski to tell us about her animal business. She and her family live on 4 acres in California with almost 200 exotic animals. For nearly 3 decades, her company, Pacific Animal Productions, has been helping to conserve wildlife and endangered species while educating people about the wonders of wildlife. During animal “edu-tainment” exhibits, she lets people see and touch the animals.  She comes up with inspired ideas that are mutually beneficial to both humans and animals. She even feeds people with crickets – stir-fried, in tacos, to provide safe animal protein to people.

Show Notes

  • How eating insects is becoming more popular around the world
  • Her school programs – educational show about animals
  • What edutainment accomplishes
  • The most renewable protein source for humans - crickets!
  • Making cricket tacos in her shows
  • She likes grasshoppers too!
  • Bugs are pollinators therefore beneficial for men and nature
  • Why kids today know more about animals than kids did in the past
  • She employs 5 full time zoo keepers to take care of almost 200 animals
  • Her purpose for teaching children about animals
  • The biggest challenge she had encountered 
  • The regulation and licenses she has for her animals
  • Her plans for the future





Nov 29, 2016

Welcome to a conversation with my friend, Marty Davis. Marty has been in the fair industry longer than anyone I know. This is an honest interview from Marty’s heart with a little bit of crazy thrown in! If you listen all the way to the end, you’ll be treated to a yodeling lesson, a story about streaking, some great advice, and some cowboy songs, too! Don’t miss it!

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • How Marty started his lifelong love affair with the guitar
  • Working as a DJ and singing with a band
  • Stories from The Golden Nugget in Las Vegas
  • Why Marty felt like cowboy band costumes were important
  • How he met his wife, Kate---and got engaged after just ONE HOUR of conversation! (47 years of marriage followed!)
  • Bored and unsatisfied with not being the very best
  • Why Marty longed for the “old cowboy sound”
  • “God Bless Old Glory”
  • Yodeling 101
  • Why Marty believes in mentoring kids
  • Marty’s beginning in the fair industry—1976
  • Why Marty has mentored many in the fair industry, even offering up his home to many as a stable place to live
  • Mistakes that young people make today: not learning the basics of a solid foundation
  • “Love people enough to tell them the truth.”
  • How Marty struggled in the beginning to find someone to help with his career
  • What happens when too much ego gets in the way
  • Marty’s message to younger people: “Ask for help.”
  • Why regrets are a waste of time
  • Streaking off the stage---for $100
  • A story (and a song) from the old West—by Marty
  • Find out more at
Nov 22, 2016

Welcome to a great show with my friend, Pam Shultz. Pam and her husband of 34 years, Rob, run The Imagination Gallery, a business which provides hands-on, interactive science displays for fairgoers. You’ll be inspired by Pam’s passion for what she loves to do and what she’s learned. Join us!


What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • How Pam and Rob started with sand sculptures and teaching science to science shows
  • The evolution of their current fair business
  • How things got out of balance initially with their family
  • The teamwork now in their business and family
  • The agreement about “the final say”
  • Rules for employees and why they exist
  • Fairs that “took a chance” on them in the beginning
  • “How much can I charge?” vs. “How can I provide great value?”
  • Loving what you do and having an impact on people
  • Barbara Walters: Pam’s inspiration
  • Pam’s favorite thing about fair work? Engaging with others
  • Why Pam loves reading and learning
  • Pam’s book recommendations for young people starting out in the fair industry: How Starbucks Saved My Life by Michael Gates Gill and The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
  • Why Pam will still be doing her work at fairs in 20 years
  • Who Pam looks up to-- and why
  • Email Pam:
Nov 15, 2016

How does a couple travel non-stop, perform shows all over the United States, and still manage to love each other at the end of each day? Professional magician Jeff Martin and his wife Pam share the secrets of keeping it all together."

Show Notes

  • How the relationship started
  • Their show is an organized business with Pam behind Jeff
  • Is it tough to be just behind the limelight, not among the show performers
  • We are all stronger when we become a community in show business or entertainment industry
  • What is Jeff’s biggest struggle?
  • What is Pam’s biggest struggle?
  • What is Jeff’s favorite food on the road?
  • What Jeff would buy if he won the lottery?
  • What Jeff likes about Pam
  • They’re both on the same wavelength





Nov 8, 2016

A win-win strategy for both buyers and sellers trying to find common ground at trade shows. In this discussion, Elisa Hays and Alan Bruess talk about how to communicate more effectively between the two sides and the importance of creating dialogue centered on added value.

Elisa Hays

Show Notes

  • What does “negotiating up” mean?
  • What buyers and sellers can ask each other to start negotiating
  • How can an entertainer provide more value to get higher pay?
  • Solving the problem of maximizing value with a limited budget
  • Trade shows and conventions matter to both the fair management and fair service providers
  • The trade show interaction is transactional and relational, according to Elisa
  • When fair managers decide to “negotiate down” they bring in LESS to the fair
  • When entertainers try to book their business and they look at big holes in their calendar
  • Nobody wants to step up their game when somebody keeps negotiating down
  • When entertainers say: “ I guess I’m not a good fit for you”
  • Can entertainers emphasize their main skills and prominently display more?
  • Service members can negotiate up by being problem-solvers
  • When asking more and telling less is highly appropriate



Nov 1, 2016

In this heart warming episode, Tammie Ryan shares her lifelong involvement in the fair industry.  She talks about her challenges as an entrepreneur, living on the road, and where she sees the greatest opportunities for others.  Tammie is highly respected and loved by many in the industry.  As you listen to her open up about her life in this episode, you will quickly understand why.  

  • Tammy is instrumental in getting Alan Bruess into the entertainment industry
  • Tammy invited Alan into the convention
  • The biggest takeaway in the job that she remembers
  • She knows almost everybody in the industry
  • Talking about your products to build relationships?
  • Her biggest struggle when she was starting
  • She always wanted to be a teacher
  • She believes the younger generation needs to get involved in the industry
  • Tips in building relationships  
  • Tips for success in the industry
Oct 25, 2016

Let’s talk about the biggest struggles or challenges that artists encounter as performers. My own biggest struggle is:  losing my voice.  Here are 5 different artists and their challenges:

  1. Washboard Willy Washboard Willy He was our guest in Episode 4. He travels  all the time and often looks forward to a downtime.  His hardest struggle is about losing his sense of community with his own hometown, the place where he grew up.  Listen and learn what it is he is struggling with and what the 3 things he does to countercheck the situation. You can find him at http:///


  1. Elisa HaysElisa HaysShe has been performing  onstage for a very long time and her biggest challenge, she says, is how to be like the children who have undistracted, sharp focus on everything around them. What does she do to be like these authentically undistracted cute audience? Her website is


  1. Steve Hamilton (also known as Steve the Pretty Good) Steve HamiltonWas our guest on episode 5. He said his biggest challenge is how to get booked. One day, he asked a friend for advice. His friend gave him the tools he needed. Find out what it was and how he fixed his little problem.


  1. Carrie Cunningham Carrie CunninghumFinding the right support team was her biggest challenge.  She was trying to be everything and she reached out to different avenues.  Listen to her revelation-- her solutions.   


  1. Ken McMeans. Ken graced our episode 6.  He would be away from home and on the road approximately 150 to 200 Ken McMeansdays.  The hardest thing in his life and career was the balancing stuff.  His wife and the children had helped him a lot.


Please join our Facebook Group, Tailgate Entertainer where you will find the 5 performers we interviewed here.  You can find them at:

Oct 18, 2016

Through hard work and dedication to his craft, Brady has launched into the music scene with a style all his own.  He talks about how he developed his own style as a unique blend of many of his music heroes.

He sharpened his musical skills day after day but his parents decided he should get formal training.  Brady dreaded the idea of taking real lessons and says he had an “attention deficit disorder” when it came to structured piano lessons. He would play the piano in his own way and with awesome creativity! Brady’s dad loved the style of Jerry Lee Lewis and so did he. The diversity and creativity of Jerry Lee Lewis fed and bred Brady’s innate musical mind – from country music to jazz, and rock n roll – he improvised. Brady was born to play music and sing but he is also a great rancher and a baseball player. He was told he had a keen ear for music. Others think he has a great voice and savvy fingers on the instruments. We think he’s got all of the above.


What you’ll hear from Brady and the Tailgate Entertainer staff:

  • How Brady began his musical career
  • How his dad helped him become what he is today
  • The musicians who influenced his music
  • All his mentors and his favorite one
  • How his mentor helped him become what he is today
  • What he loves about the fair industry
  • What else he does besides  playing the piano and guitar
  • What advice he wants to give to new musicians
  • What is the quickest step to success, according to Brady
  • He was told he had a “strong ear” for music
  • He thinks it’s the way he delivers his music.




Facebook Page 

Facebook Personal: 

Twitter: @BradyGoss

Email:  bradygoss88(at)gmail(dot)com

Oct 11, 2016

Our guest is Louie Foxx, a comedy magician who discovered his knack for playing tricks when he was in kindergarten. It’s the very first time in our show that a guest reads a long introspective entry from his personal journal. Louie read a lengthy entry and I’m thankful for his childish candor. In his journal, he admits to himself that he’s scared of the audience, most likely, his audience’s reaction. He also struggled to keep his speech slower and more coherent.  In high school, he got really serious about making people laugh. He built and carried with him a rickety table and rode the bus into downtown to perform magic tricks on the street corner and got paid by “passing the hat”.  

Louie Foxx


In 1996, the Society of American Magician voted Louie as the Best Stage Magician and Best Close-Up Magician in Minnesota. He has also been featured twice in the prestigious Linking Ring magazine which is a magazine for the 13,000 members of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. Louie has also written several books about magic tricks for professional magicians.

He keeps a journal about what he did, how the audience reacted and reviews it to figure out what worked and what didn’t work. In addition, he and another performer watch each other’s shows and exchange notes. He’s come a long way since then. Today, his daughter Ella travels with him and lately also performs in his shows. He has appeared on New Day NW, Tru TV’s Guinness World Records Unleashed, Otra Movida TV in Spain, the Nationally syndicated television show How ’bout That or on NBC’s America’s Got Talent. He is also a  2-time Guinness World Record Holder and has been on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, the nationally syndicated television show How ‘Bout That, Evening Magazine, and New Day Northwest.


Louie is indeed living his childhood dream of being a magician.


Show Notes:

  • What Louie’s biggest challenge is
  • How he keeps up with the competition
  • How he keeps himself sane by just inventing magic tricks
  • What he thinks is missing from the fair industry
  • Why it’s important for the fair entertainment
  • We all need a variety of entertainment
  • Quote: At the end of the day, we need to connect with people, not with the tricks. 
  • Advice: Come up with as many original tricks as you can, invent one a day, be creative.






Download Louie's One Sheet 


Oct 4, 2016

Wow! It’s the 26th episode of Tailgate Entertainer! I’ve gone this far, more than halfway in meeting my personal commitment to the show. My personal commitment is to deliver a show every Tuesday of every week. It’s not an easy task for a guy like me, 52 years old, who works 12-15 hours a day on my regular job; and I have to add more work hours talking to our guest performers and scheduling their interview, preparing interview questionnaires, setting up the hardware, recording the actual interview, editing the audio to be able to share with you the tips, advice, strategies, and secrets of talented performing artists in the fair & entertainment industry. At this point, it’s not a revenue generator for me and I spend a couple of hundred bucks each month to produce the show so I can present the colorful lives  and career of fair people.  I learned I have been able to spend quality time and collect wisdom from them and how they succeeded in the fair industry; and I happily shared everything with my audience.  This is one way of contributing advice to the people who may want to enter the industry to preserve and perpetuate this form of entertainment for future generations.

Alan Breuss


In this episode, I share with you:

  • The reasons I created this podcast
  • My life history – the role played by my stepmother Irene in making me rethink what I wanted to become as a grown up
  • Why I chose the fair industry in my podcast
  • My role in the fair industry - What I do for a living
  • My audience – approximately 30,000 kids attend these shows
  • A new product that is coming soon which is actually a by-product of this show
  • How much doggone work this podcast is-- I don’t earn any revenue from it yet I spend about two hundred bucks each month to produce it
  • Sometimes I go hungry or fall asleep with fatigue while working on the show
  • The difference between a podcast and a live show – in a live show, I get instant feedback and see the immediate reaction of my audience. I know what they like and what they don’t like whereas, in a podcast, feedback isn’t immediate and sometimes I don’t even get your feedback. I don’t know if you like my show and what you want to listen to and know. Although the show is downloaded in 9 different countries, unless I get your feedback, I won’t know how you like my show.
  • Society has benefited positively from the entertainment provided by the fair industry –it helps build one's sense of self, country, belief system, and culture.
  • Fair and circuses today present acrobatic performances and exhibitions of skill, strength,  and daring
  • Fairs often require immense numbers of performers and even complicated and expensive machinery.
  • The importance of the fair industry - Fairs are unique in our country. They are a reflection of our Communities--a place where people  can be entertained, educated,  and experience new things
  • Fairs can teach children valuable skills, even life skills
  • Fairs can teach children how to raise animals, care for them, and train them tricks
  • The fair serves a great purpose-- a positive impact on our society, county, and state fairs
  • I’m not quite sure I could continue maintaining this show but I do want to keep it going
  • I love the fair industry for a lot of reasons. Do you?


Thank you for listening. Thanks for your time.  Please help support this podcast by subscribing to Tailgate Entertainer on Itunes . The show’s life is in your hands. Do pick your favorite episode and share it with your family and friend. Send me your feedback, too. You can contact me directly at Tailgate Entertainer website.   Join our Facebook group: Facebook

Thanks again. :)

Sep 27, 2016

This week’s guest is Karen Quest, a cowgirl performer born in St. Louis, Missouri, raised in Studio City, California, studied and taught in New York City, and now based in San Francisco, CA. After earning a B.A. in Theatre Arts from California State University at Northridge, she moved to New York City to join the No Elephant Circus and taught with Circus Education Specialists.  She continues to blaze a trail with her one-woman act which she calls “Cowgirl Tricks”. Karen trained at the Dell' Arte School of Physical Theater, Ringling Brothers and Barnum. She is an instructor at the San Francisco School of Circus Arts. She has performed to audiences between the size of 5 to 10,000 persons. Did you know that her grandma sent her to a modeling school?

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Where she had trained
  • What tricks are included in her show
  • What else she does while stilts-walking
  • What she calls her 8-foot tall cowgirl (herself, on stilts)
  • Why she is the perfect choice for your events – fair, festival, corporate, private,or special events
  • Her age (yes she says how young she is)
  • Countries she had performed in
  • Movie stars she had trained
  • Historical personality whom she would have wanted to meet
  • Circus bands she had joined
  • Characters she had portrayed on stage
  • The book she recommends for reading
  • The shows she recommends for watching
  • Her tips to those interested in the same career
  • The awards she has won
  • Her secret dream



Website Cowgirl Tricks 

Facebook, Personal:

Facebook Page:

 Email: kq(at)cowgirltricks(dot)com

Sep 20, 2016

Tailgate features Alan’s best friend, John Dunnigan, a most amazing musician who is of the same caliber as the legendary musicians that generations have applauded.  He learned to play the guitar as a child because his dad played well and the guitar was always in a corner waiting for him to play it.  He writes his own fine music and keeps his albums acoustic and loose-sounding. The highly humorous album “Censored” has 12 songs of which half was written by John. He lives in Montana with his family and spends his leisure time fishing, his favorite pastime. He performs throughout Montana and the Northwest mostly at  fairs, and at corporate events, weddings, schools, and other venues.

His voice and his instrument blend in perfect music. Indeed, John Dunnigan can sing a song so beautiful he can make you cry; and he can blurt out a joke in another moment to make you laugh. His music can make you think, laugh, and sing or dance along.

John Dunnigan, musician

 John has 5 music albums and he sang excerpts from about 7 singles in this episode. You’ll love  the fine, heart-warming music of John  and more:   

  • His humorous anecdotes
  • Listen to him sing his fine songs
  • Listen to him sing his humorous songs
  • John shares his life with you
  • John sings his cover tunes
  • His hospitalization changed the way he played his guitar and music…but the quality never changed.
  • His advice to fans: 1 ) Play the game a little bit, but be true to your own soul and your music, and 2) Work hard, stay late, but have fun doing it.


Sep 13, 2016

For the first time, we have a co-host-- it’s John Dunnigan! Our guest is the only one of its kind, Eric Haines, a classic one-man-band entertainer, stand-up stilt walker, artist-illustrator, comedian, juggler, unicyclist, guitarist, and variety artist.  Eric has a bass drum slung on his back, a banjo over his shoulder, and plenty of bells and whistles everywhere else! Kids and adults have the chance to play along on maracas, spoons, and a special washboard equipped with a cowbell.


Eric began his career as a corporate entertainer in 1985.  Then he went full time as a professional comedian in 1995.  He now has over twenty-five years total experience working as an all-around entertainer, both as a comedian and in the professional fields of theater, children’s theater, school assembly programs, fairs and festival entertainment, school workshops and corporate entertainment. 

Eric Haines


Listen to Eric’s  story, music, and comedy.

Show notes 


  • How Eric became a one-man-band
  • When clients regard him as a great value,
  • How he markets his shows
  • That he becomes a multiple personality “disorder” when he transforms into multiple personalities by means of his various costumes
  • He has hurt himself many times during his comedy shows
  • His plan when he gets too old and weak to carry his 60-pound musical equipment
  • When his body parts wear out for his physically-straining stunts, he plans to evolve into something else.
  • Juggling is the most wearying
  • What makes him different from the rest of the comedians
  • He composes his own music and plays it while he’s walking on his stilts
  • He draws pictures of himself
  • He has a very strong drive to learn new things, a strong compulsion
  • His secret to being multi-skilled and multi-talented
  • His advice to young people who want to follow his footsteps
  • He has learned to package his art
  • His biggest challenge is how to market his shows

Like Eric on Facebook

and browse his Website 

More entertaining podcasts on Tailgate Entertainer 


Sep 6, 2016

Welcome! My guest today has been a friend of mine in the fair industry for over 15 years. I’ve always been intrigued at the way Matt Baker dissects and analyzes his performance after every show. He never lacks the discipline and determination to improve his craft. His comedy stunt show is funny, original, and very impressive. Join me for a great conversation with Matt!

Matt Baker


What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • From Eugene, Oregon to Western Samoa to Europe
  • Performing in schools and then on the streets
  • Matt’s challenges at being raised as a conservative Mormon in a hippie town
  • Rebellion, drugs, and living out of control
  • Matt’s terrifying experience at wilderness camp
  • Living on the streets at age 15
  • How Matt was hunted down by a bounty hunter---for REAL!!
  • How Matt became a professional hacky-sack player in Europe—(yes, there is such a thing)
  • Why Matt hates his shows and says they are horrible!
  • Matt’s struggle in the development of his show
  • Matt’s worst gig ever? A track and field meet in Midland, TX, and the death of many doves
  • Why it’s OK to say NO
  • Why Matt lives with purpose and with NO regrets
  • A big fear? “Am I making an impact?”
  • How Matt is inspired by old vaudeville comedians, Steve Martin, and the Smothers Brothers
  • Matt’s favorite books? Born Standing Up by Steve Martin and Fields for President by W.C. Fields
  • Matt’s advice for young people entering the fair industry? “Practice your craft and be a student of your craft. Study others who are successful, but don’t steal their material. Find out why they are successful. Don’t be afraid of practicing. Continually create.”
  • Find out more about Matt at

Listen to more of these shows on 

our resource center:


Aug 30, 2016

My guest today is a super busy person from the management side of the fair industry---for her entire career! Judy Carrico knows the importance of developing business relationships and developing trust. She is the fair operations manager at the Alameda County Fair in California. Judy is also the author of How to Plan, Pay For and Put on a Wildly Successful Fair Without Losing Your Mind, Your Family or Your Friends. From her 30+ years of fair management, Judy has lots of wisdom and LOTS of great stories. Join us!

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • How Judy stepped out of college and into the full-time fair life
  • Why Judy followed a friend into the fair industry, leaving her dream of becoming a veterinarian behind
  • The best ways to learn the fair industry
  • Judy’s job and duties: “I plan a party for 450,000 people and spend other people’s money to put it on!”
  • The biggest problem facing fairs? Funding for infrastructure for small and medium-sized fairs
  • Why fairs are so important as a gathering place for communities and a way to preserve local history
  • Competitive exhibits: they are what sets fairs apart from other entertainment industries
  • Judy shares about the commitment to education and youth competitions at most fairs today
  • In addition to the normal agricultural exhibits at fairs, engineering and robotics exhibits are skyrocketing in popularity.
  • The NEW target audience for fairs
  • “Alameda County’s largest classroom”
  • Commitment to funding
  • The importance of collaborative projects
  • Why fair managers need expertise in figuring out WHAT WORKS and what doesn’t
  • Why networking is the KEY!
  • Judy shares some stories and experiences from her unusual career and with a unique perspective on fair life.
  • Find Judy on Facebook!
Aug 23, 2016

My guest today is a 22-year old Cale Moon, a Nashville recording artist, singer, and songwriter. In 2013, his parents sold their home and hit the road to promote Cale’s music. Cale’s terrific support team went to over 300 shows last year. He has an inspiring story of perseverance and determination. Join us!

Cale Moon


What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • How Cale is inspired by Roy Rogers
  • Cale’s team and the story of his music career
  • At age 15, began playing guitar, along with singing and acting
  • How guitar made him more of a people-person
  • Learning to tell others’ stories
  • Hitting the road/lessons learned
  • Cale’s biggest surprise? “How much life on the road in a bus costs-just to keep going!”
  • Satisfying life
  • One of Cale’s most important mentors? Marty Davis
  • What Cale truly desires
  • Sleepy Little Town—one of Cale’s first songs
  • Learning to market yourself at a young age
  • Cale’s advice to young performers: “Be humble, be approachable, and always be willing to learn.”
  • How young performers undervalue themselves and sell out for too cheap
  • Cale’s brand new song about a rare day off (Hear it here!)
  • Why time management is Cale’s biggest struggle
  • Not allowing himself to get distracted and waste time
  • Self-evaluating: Why it’s important
  • Find Cale on most social media or at You can email Cale: cale(at)calemoon(dot)com.
Aug 16, 2016

Welcome to an episode I’m calling “Mid-Season Madness,” because we in the fair industry are at the midway point of our season. Most of us have been out on the road, away from home, for a LONG time now. I’m currently in Missoula, Montana, after recent stays in Great Falls, Bozeman----and the list goes on and on. What makes it different for me right now is that I’m traveling with my son, which is terrific for me. Today’s episode is a Tailgate Talk, which means it’s just you and me, talking about some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of the fair life. Let’s talk about some important refreshers---some things for all of us to remember at this point in the season.

Alan Bruess

Here are Five Tips to help you get through the rest of the season:

  • What we’re creating for fairgoers are EXPERIENCES
    • They are paying for wonderful, impressive experiences
  • Give of YOURSELF
    • Magical things happen!
    • Do something out of the ordinary for someone else
    • Shhh! This is one of life's  secrets! (but it shouldn’t be a SECRET!)
  • Get a different perspective
    • Sit in a “different chair” and look around
  • Have a little compassion
    • Help those who are a MESS
    • Don’t make people feel STUPID
  • Let life HAPPEN
    • Don’t get frustrated with what you can’t CONTROL
    • Your ATTITUDE is all that you CAN control
    • Attitude determines ALTITUDE
    • My personal story: Why I believe some things happen for a REASON

You can listen to more podcasts here:




Aug 9, 2016

Welcome! I’m excited to introduce you to my friend, Mike Parsons. Mike has an authentic “rags to riches to rags to riches” story to share about his life and his work. I have a hilarious story to share about how Mike and I first became friends; it involves a joke I played on him that made him mad, but I soon gained a friend for life. Mike owns and operates Black Tie Extreme, a full-service professional DJ and Entertainment company. Join us as Mike shares his amazing story!

Mike Parsons

 What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Mike’s early life:
    • “The ONLY child of 11 children”
    • Working in construction at age 13, but laid off repeatedly
  • The ups and downs of employment
    • How Mike became a medical assistant ($1200/month)
    • Becoming a DJ: making more in a weekend than in two weeks as a medical assistant.
    • Starting a custom closet company
    • Becoming a mortgage broker and financial success ($30,000/month!)
    • An upgraded lifestyle of unnecessary things
    • Losing it all when the banking industry tanked
    • A downsized life, washing cars for money
    • Back to working as a professional DJ
  • Finding the fair industry
    • Working street carnivals with a gyroscope
    • Working fairs, sleeping in his car
    • Working as a fair vendor: What does that mean?
  • What has kept Mike going through the ups and downs? “My wife and kids. I know there are many people less fortunate than me. I never wanted to be a burden.”
  • Mike’s biggest mistake in the fair industry? “Picking the gyroscope to begin with.”
  • Mike’s worst fair gig ever? “When a drunk gyroscope passenger fell out and got hurt!”
  • Mike’s biggest surprise? “The closeness of the fair industry”
  • Mike’s skill set in making money? “My drive. I want to be THE BEST.”
  • What does Mike do for self-improvement? “I go to church.”
  • The future for Mike? “Another 5 years or so in the fair industry, then building a house (with NO credit), and serving in missions.”
  • Mike’s #1 takeaway from the fair industry? Honesty
  • Words of wisdom from Mike: “Be honest, be nice, help others out, and you’ll be taken care of.”
  • Find Mike at
Aug 2, 2016

Welcome! Picture in your mind a little boy in the 1930’s growing up in rural Arkansas. With his horse, Midnight, this boy never aspired to anything other than the cowboy life. At six years old, he would ride the train alone to Wyoming to live and work on a ranch for the summer---year after year after year. Bunky Boger grew up to be a rodeo competitor, bullfighter, and circus performer.


 Bunky Boger and Connie Boger

At age 64, his journey took a new path when he entered the fair industry as a promoter of hands-on, interactive agricultural activities for kids of all ages. Along the way, he met his girl, Connie, with whom he built his life, family, and business. It’s a beautiful partnership that has endured the test of time and the ups and downs of life. Today, they travel to fairs with 225 animals housed in 4 tractor trailers. They’ve appeared in several TV shows, commercials, magazines, and newspapers. Listen in as Bunky and Connie share their favorite stories about their unusual life’s work. Join us!

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Bunky’s story: The theft of three chickens trained to play tic-tac-toe
  • How they secured a 3-year stint at an Atlantic City casino with people paying to “beat the chicken”
  • How Bunky started out in the rodeo business and was introduced to bullfighting
  • What it was like working on a ranch as a 6-year old boy
  • Catching gophers for a penny each!
  • How Bunky ended up in the circus—for $3000/week
  • Buffaloes, horses, and circus stories
  • Transition to the fair industry
  • How they handle finances in their unique business
  • How he knew in three days that he should marry Connie---43 years ago!
  • The multi-talented cowboy, Connie
  • Financial hardships, bankruptcy, and losing it all—except ONE buffalo!
  • Why their kids rode horses at one day old!
  • The story of one bothersome employee
  • Connie’s advice for younger people in the fair industry? “Have a passion for what you do.”
  • Find out more about Bunky and Connie at and
Jul 26, 2016

My guest today is one of the strongest women I’ve ever known. Ryann Boeger Newman grew up in the fair industry since her family ran pony rides at fairs. Growing up in the fair industry, Ryann learned to cultivate her entrepreneurial spirit, always looking for ways to improve the business. Following in her father’s footsteps, Ryann has gone from vendor to fair manager. Her wise, hardworking, and ambitious spirit is evident to all who know her. I hope you’ll understand what it’s like to walk in her shoes.


What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Her family has done pony rides in fairs since 1961!
  • How her dad encouraged her entrepreneurial spirit
  • Growing up on the fairgrounds
  • Beautiful memories
  • The draw of the fair life—it’s home for 5-1/2 months each year
  • The family business, being passed down to Ryann’s brother from her father
  • Loves the variety, positive interaction, and family time of the fair life
  • At age 21, she bought her own pony ride business
  • Why Ryann’s pony rides are different from others you’ve seen
  • Working with children and animals?
  • Ryann became a food vendor (shaved ice) for awhile, but then returned to pony rides
  • Develops relationships with people through pony rides
  • Husband, Mike, diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2013
  • Mike’s attitude: He chose NOT to be sick
  • The shift for Ryann: hired as CEO of the Glenn County Fair
  • How she continues the family business, too
  • Why Ryann now has empathy for fair manager and their jobs
  • The difference in working for a board vs. working for self
  • The need for grass roots fundraising
  • Bureaucracy and paperwork!!
  • “Hire good people and get out of their way!”
  • Ryann’s advice for new people in the fair industry? 
  • Goal is to make more money on the vendor and manager side
  • “It’s getting harder and less fun, with all the fees and regulations.”
  • Criticism hurts when you care so much!
  • Will Ryann’s children follow in the family business? She hopes so!
  • Hear what Ryann’s daughters, Mason and Hayden, think about the fair life!
  • Connect with Ryann:
Jul 19, 2016

Welcome! Today I want to introduce you to an amazing friend, fishing buddy, and colleague. Brad Tylman’s curiosity has led him to a vast knowledge of reptiles, ecosystems, education, and the fair industry. His commitment to education has prompted his travels to over 38 countries, researching, filming, and educating himself further. His attitude is, “How can I be a teacher if I’m not a student?” He is the owner of Brad’s World of Reptiles, and appears at 25-30 fairs each year. Let’s find out more about Brad!


What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • How his love of nature and animals was fostered by his grandparents as he grew up in Wheaton, IL
  • Turtles! They have always been a favorite!
  • How Brad grew up with his constant companions of fish, snakes, turtles, and bugs
  • Brad worked as a deckhand on a fishing boat after moving to Oregon.
  • Dream job! At age 18, he became the full-time curator at OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry).
  • Other unusual jobs included working on a turkey ranch, EMT, and volunteer fireman.
  • How every “job” Brad had blessed his growth and fueled his passion for wildlife
  • 1991: Brad’s first fair exhibit expanded his passion for animals, nature, and education, while providing hands-on animal interaction for kids.
  • Why Brad is a “professional deprogrammer” about the irrational and impractical fear of snakes
  • 1993: Brad travels the world to learn more!
  • “You can’t understand the place where you live until you look at your village through another village’s eyes.”
  • Why humans must respect the world and its resources
  • How Brad creates “maximum contact with minimum conflict” in his large-scale exhibits
  • His thoughts on the recent alligator attack in Orlando
  • How policy is made concerning animals and habitats
  • How he restored an ecosystem on his property in Corvallis, OR
  • “Saving a species means saving its habitat.”
  • Why Brad is committed to teaching conservation and biodiversity
  • The criteria for Brad’s animals: captivity-born, lower metabolic rate, and sedentary nature
  • “Stereotypic behavior”—What is it?
  • His thoughts on the life and impact of his good friend, Steve Irwin
  • What can we do for the future?
  • Brad’s “Lucky” life: “Luck is simply the combination of preparation and opportunity.”
  • Find out more: and find him on Facebook!
Jul 12, 2016

Welcome! My guest today is FULL of fun and laughter. Danny Kollaja, aka Lanky the Clown, is original, funny, and approachable. He knows his business and knows how to work hard. He’s here to give us a glimpse into the life and work of a professional clown—which may not be all fun and games.

Lanky the Clown

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Coulrophobia: Have you heard of it? The irrational fear of clowns
  • Danny’s home base: Corpus Christi, TX
  • How a high school production launched Danny’s career as a clown
  • Danny’s first “clown alley” of all older women
  • “This might be interesting.”
  • Danny was in his late 30’s before clowning became his full-time profession.
  • Now, 90% of his income is generated from the fair industry.
  • Danny sees himself as an “ambassador of goodwill.”
  • He brings “attitude adjustment” to people by helping them escape for a moment.
  • Have you ever seen a clown driving down the road? Danny drives in full costume!
  • Danny shares his worst clown experience, why you should pay attention closely to a child’s eyes, and how it feels to be thrown up on!
  • How Danny loves bringing joy to people of ALL ages
  • Danny loves the opportunity to perform at children’s hospitals across the world.
  • “Stage acts bring people to your fairgrounds, but the ground (strolling) acts are what keeps them there.”
  • Danny shares his struggles as a clown
  • How he performs as multiple characters all in one day!
  • How he performs in other countries, “speaking the international language of laughter”
  • Bodily functions: They ARE the universal language!
  • The do’s and don’ts of performing in other countries
  • What do clowns do when they socialize with other clowns?
  • A challenge for Danny is having to be “on” all the time that he’s in makeup and costume
  • Want to know more? Visit or call 361-852-5696.
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