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: July, 2016
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.
Jul 5, 2016

Welcome! Today’s guest is John Allgaier, the owner of BC Characters, an entertainment company that started as a strolling fair act. If you think “slow and relaxed” defines a strolling act, then you’ve got the wrong idea here. John and his performers use body puppetry in costumes at a frenzied and energetic pace. Let’s find out more from John!


What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • To get an idea of John’s characters, think Fraggle Rock meets Captain Caveman, in full-size body costumes.
  • Each costume is made of foam and metal, weighing 30-50 lbs.
  • The fair industry IS John’s source of income.
  • A physically demanding test of endurance
  • Why your performance must be STRONG
  • John’s business started in 1990, with only one costume. (The 12th one is in process now!)
  • Why John has NO regrets
  • “You will always learn more from your mistakes than from your successes.”
  • John looks forward to stepping aside and seeing his “guys” carry on the business.
  • What’s important to be successful in the fair industry? Be flexible to change, adaptable, and understand your customer.
  • The patrons are your #1 boss!
  • There is a power in the costume.
  • Why families trust a character in costume
  • Be aware of interaction and contact with patrons.
  • John’s biggest fear? Keeping his image and his quality of service
  • Balancing family life, marriage, and life on the road
  • John’s biggest mistake? Trying to push and grow too fast and losing quality in the process
  • People have to know about your act and you have to be good enough to be invited back.
  • John’s advice: Listen more than you speak, be flexible, and keep your demands low.
  • Find out more about John: