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: May, 2016
May 31, 2016

I hope you’re ready for a fun time with my guest, Amanda McDaniel! Amanda is the co-owner of Friendly Farmer’s Barnyard Review, a music, magic, and comedy production. Amanda and I performed next to each other for a couple of years, and I’ll always think of her as someone whose stories WILL make you laugh. Join me to hear more of Amanda’s crazy story!

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Amanda describes herself as a variety show entertainer who also owns a production company.
  • She books variety entertainers for special events, spends four months each year as a fair entertainer, and has spent about ten years in the fair industry.
  • She and her performing partner, Zakari Asiago, developed the idea of the farm-themed show.
  • She and Zak are married, but NOT to each other! They are good friends who travel and perform together and are co-owners of the show.
  • Although Amanda went to school to be a teacher, she has always loved the technical aspects of theater and started performing at a young age.
  • While working at a fire department for 14 years, Amanda used her clown act to teach about fire safety, but she never dreamed of using her entertainment talent to generate an income!
  • When she started doing paid entertainment at kids’ parties, she felt empowered and fulfilled.
  • The thing she enjoys most about entertaining is being on stage, playing a character, and interacting with kids.
  • The biggest struggle in the entertainment lifestyle is being away from home, away from her husband, and from her elderly parents.
  • Amanda, a relative newcomer to the fair industry, estimates that it provides 75% of her income.
  • Amanda likes the fact that there is a clear off-season during spring and summer, when she can work at resorts near her home.
  • She shares her worst gig experience about being in the magician’s box when a severe thunderstorm hit in Hickory, NC.
  • A big frustration for Amanda is agents who are unfair and charge more than the agreed-upon rate.
  • Her advice for young entertainers? Put your show together and perform locally---A LOT! Talk to others in the fair industry, gather information, and ask questions. Be flexible and don’t undersell yourself. Don’t roll out your show until it’s a complete quality product. Be professional and be impressive.
  • Common mistakes made by entertainers are being too demanding of fair managers and having a generally “crappy” attitude.
  • Remember that everything is about relationships, especially between performers and fair managers.
  • For more information, visit and join the Tailgate Entertainer Facebook group! 
May 24, 2016

Today's guest is Shanae'a Moore. At only 23, her resumé eclipses her age. Shanae'a started in early life as a ballet dancer and expected that to be her career path. And injury changed her course, and eventually went on to study theater and drama. Her Mother was a drama teacher, so the process of simply growing up, Shanae'a was able to amass extensive theater credentials. Shanae'a graduated with a BFA from Sam Houston State University. She's mature beyond her years and doesn't fit the mold of how society thinks of millennials. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did!

In this episode, Shanae'a also discusses:


- Why she doesn't make plans

- What learning as much as you can, will do for your career

- Why writing a play is something she wants to do.....but not now

- How her "Social Justice, Warrior" personality can sabotage her

- Her secret to success! Let's just say, many people twice her age don't get this one

- The lessons she learned about connection from another actress and how it changed her

- The understated beauty and art that we miss every day

- Why she gets mistaken for a 14-year-old

- Why she coaches people more than twice her age

- Being around people her own age is difficult and why she avoids it as much as possible

- How just working on her is hard enough, so she's not stuck in the "competitive" phase of her career

- Strategies for "shutting off" in order to preserve her heart

- You are not your industry

- How her faith in God sustains her through tough times

- The world is so much bigger than music and art - it's a multi-verse, not a universe


You can connect with her website at:



May 17, 2016

Welcome! My guest today is Ken McMeans, an entertainer with many great stories to tell. Ken isn’t afraid to open up his life and his heart with total transparency so you can learn from his experiences. He has been in the entertainment industry for his entire life. He now performs and owns an entertainment company. Ken is a living example of someone who never quits, no matter what curve balls life throws at him. Join us!

What you’ll hear in Ken’s amazing life story:

  • Ken grew up in a family of thoroughbred horse trainers in Washington, but spent his young adult years trying to get away from that to do something else.
  • A creative writing teacher in high school awakened Ken’s interest in journalism and writing.
  • He started playing guitar at age 17 and was enthralled by the country music scene.
  • The bars and clubs he played, the record industry, and some harmful influences led to Ken’s drug problem.
  • Through the 80’s, Ken was wheeling and dealing in the music industry, but became discouraged and left Hollywood in ’91 to enter rehab for his cocaine addiction.
  • Interestingly, Ken joined the Screen Actors Guild and became a stunt rider and actor, doing small parts in over 200 movies and numerous TV shows.
  • Even though acting provided his living for six years, it was not his passion; he knew there was “something else out there” for him.
  • Ken, his brother, and a few friends put together a traveling cowboy comedy act to perform at small fairs.
  • The popularity of his act exploded and soon he had multiple performing units traveling the fair circuit across the western US.
  • Laugh with us as Ken shares a few of his “nightmare” stories about bad hires over the years!
  • As a performer, Ken’s intention is to provide a “surprise” for every fair-goer around every corner.
  • He loves interacting with kids and families and touching lives on a daily basis.
  • Ken started playing music again a few years ago, and started his entertainment business because he saw the need to bring country and western artists to fairs.
  • “My life is surreal in the last few years.”
  • With a huge roster of artists, Ken’s company is now the largest country music agency in the western US.
  • Later this year, Ken and his wife (The Stereo Chickens) will release a new album, produced by fellow artist/songwriter Travis Meadows.
  • Ken’s advice for young performers:
    • No matter who you are, you’ll be playing fairs throughout your career.
    • Fairs are a gold mine for entertainment ideas.
  • You can reach Ken and learn more at




May 10, 2016

Welcome! Today’s guest is Steve Hamilton, aka Steve the Pretty Good. Steve is a magician originally from Prince George, BC, but is now a US citizen who lives near Seattle. Steve has performed his magic all over the globe and is very well-known in the fair industry. He is best known for his Flying Carpet! Let’s catch up with Steve!

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Steve tells the story of the origin of his Flying Carpet,” necessity being the mother of invention.”
  • After high school, Steve was a Marine and later worked as an EMT.
  • Steve loves the left-brain/right brain component of magic.
  • Steve started street performing with card tricks, which he calls “the best training for fair work.”
  • A friend suggested that he go to China to do his show, even though it seemed impossible.
  • His boss would not give him the time off to go to China, so after 25 years as a firefighter and paramedic, Steve turned in his resignation.
  • Steve didn’t want to look back on his life with any regrets or questions like, “Could I make a living at magic?”
  • Steve went to China and performed with over 80 performers from all over the world; it was amazing, inspirational, and scary at the same time.
  • Steve shares the funny story of how his wife became involved in his magic show, even though she was at first adamantly against it.
  • Steve shares about the loneliness of traveling the fair circuit when his wife isn’t able to travel with him.
  • Steve’s worst gig ever? A small fair with a small stage where he and his wife attempted the “substitution trunk” act
  • After 30 years, Steve still spends a great portion of his day saying, “How can I make my show better?”
  • It takes skill to make the audience feel like a part of the show—to connect with them.
  • How did Steve become known as “Steve the Pretty Good”? Listen in to find out!
  • Steve’s advice to a younger person starting out in the industry? “Know the history of magic and appreciate your craft.”
  • As a performer, you should always dress like you have somewhere better to go after the show. (i.e. dress better than the audience!)Dress like you respect your craft!
  • Some younger performers are overconfident, which is a turnoff.
  • Reach Steve at or
May 3, 2016

Today’s guest is Washboard Willy, also known as Larry Hiskett. He is the person who changed the direction of my life and taught me some valuable lessons. Back in the mid-90’s, when I was learning to be a performer and run my business, I would run into him everywhere I went. He was a “Musical Mountain Man” and a wonderful entertainer. Join us!

Washboard Willy shares the following about his amazing life and work:Washboard Willy

  • Larry began working as a drummer in bars and clubs all over Kansas at age 15.
  • In 1985, he worked as a landscape architect and a park planner in Colorado.
  • He played in a band that specialized in German polka music!
  • He had a motorcycle crash that paralyzed his girlfriend and sent him into therapy.
  • He gave a 90-day notice and quit his job, and then discovered the washboard.
  • He became obsessed with the instrument and modified it with all kinds of percussion instruments.
  • Larry developed the Whiskett Rhythm Board, created his own musical tracks, and formed a band.
  • Soon, he was invited to visit Japan in a Sister City program.
  • A couple of years later, he was invited to go back to Japan for a 6-month visit and did a one-man show at a restaurant.
  • The biggest challenge was figuring out how to connect with the children when he couldn’t speak their language.
  • Find out how a few rhythm toys helped him bridge the gap and connect with children and their parents.
  • When he returned to the US, he knew he wanted to give up his work in bars and clubs to become a children’s entertainer.
  • He performed in preschools, schools, and ski schools around Colorado while still working as a landscape architect to supplement his income.
  • Washboard Willy has been a musician for 50 years! He feels blessed and full of gratitude at what he gets to do.
  • 80-90% of his revenue comes from the fair industry, even though younger entertainers have a negative view of the industry.
  • Willy’s wife of 13 years has performed with him in the past, but now serves as his manager.
  • He has teamed up with Lloyd Mabry to create “Lloyd and Willy,” which plays all kinds of music and musical comedy.
  • Willy’s advice: “Stick to it. Don’t ever give up. Always look for opportunities.”
  • Willy shares the story of moving his wagon around the Oregon State Fair and how he adapted and evolved his creative, fun, atmosphere at the fairgrounds.
  • Whatever you do, make it YOU. Don’t copy someone else.”
  • Find Willy at or on Facebook at Willy’s Washboard Jamboree and at Lloyd and Willy.