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, 2018
Jul 31, 2018

The entertainment industry is full of unique and incredible people. There are so many innovative and remarkable acts and the people are equally as intricate. Many of these performers are simply doing what they love and also enjoy having the opportunity to bring a smile to others faces, and one of those people is Dennis Lee. Dennis is an overwhelmingly kind individual with a heart for making people happy. He is the founder of The Dennis Lee Show and continues to bring enticing acts to fairs across the country. Tune into this episode of Tailgate Entertainer with Alan Bruess and Eric Haines to hear more about Dennis Lee’s story. 

Show Highlights:

  • Highlights of Dennis Lee’s life before the fair industry 
  • Feelings from the first time performing 
  • Changing the fair from a hobby to a job 
  • How traveling affects family life 
  • Making your show unique 
  • The importance of building a network 
  • Impacting people’s lives 
  • Getting kids involved and giving them the opportunity to shine 
  • Having the ability to make people smile and pull energy from within 
  • Influencers in the industry 
  • Making a sincere show 
  • What is missing in entertainment 



Jul 24, 2018

While the fair industry is continuously growing and adapting, and continues to evolve since the early days of live entertainment. Michelangelo Nock, owner of The Nerveless Nocks Inc., and his family have been innovating the industry since before 1850. 


Michelangelo Nock has a plethora of insight and knowledge about the industry, due to his unique experience growing up in a performing family. He comes from a family that has been performing in the circus and entertainment industry for more than 9 generations. Performing is in his DNA!

This interview is full of history, versatility, and insight on staying relevant in the circus industry. Live performance continues to evolve and the Nock family is evolving too!

Tune into this episode of Tailgate Entertainer with your hosts, Alan Bruess and Eric Haines, to learn more about the impact the fair industry has made and how it has stayed current through generations. 

Show Highlights:

  • Pursuing the family business 
  • How the swing pole came about 
  • Roles being filled in the industry 
  • Being versatile and incorporating training 
  • Showing the audience entertainment they’ve never seen before 
  • Getting involved with other businesses 
  • Taking care of the grounds 
  • Being influenced by successful businessmen 
  • Being a team 
  • Respecting people’s ideas 
  • Staying current 
  • Being creative and working in different fairs 



The Odd and Offbeat Podcast 

Jul 17, 2018

Kristen Johnson and Kevin Ridgeway are interviewed on the show today by Elisa Hayes, who knows all too well about life-changing accidents. Talk about people with phenomenal character! Today’s guests are two of the greatest people you will ever meet, and their story is inspiring! Kevin and Kristen are entertainers in a show called Lady Houdini, which is a show featuring escape-type routines. Kristen is known as Lady Houdini, and Kevin emcees the show. They do between 270-300 shows per year, and because their show is so physical, the two train vigorously in order to maintain top physical shape. 


In January of 2016, Kristen and Kevin were in a horrible automobile accident. They had been stopped at a red light and proceeded when the light changed to green. A 17-year-old, texting while driving, blew through a red light and hit them on the driver’s side. It was at that moment their lives changed. Kristen says it was like the world stopped turning. Each of them sustained catastrophic injuries. 


More in this episode:


  • Kevin and Kristen share details about their life-changing accident.
  • Emotions run high because the two were taken to different hospitals.
  • Tremendous body trauma
  • Months of hospitalization and rehabilitation
  • Doubts and fear turn to determination
  • Kristen and Kevin describe their show and how/when their message shifted.
  • Back to work with an empowering message for others
  • Dedicating a show segment to speak about the dangers of distracted driving
  • Grateful for the generosity of others
  • Grateful to be able to continue to share their lives with each other.



Pacific Animal Productions, our sponsor/proceeds go to scholarship funding

Lady Houdini website

Lady Houdini’s Facebook page

Ridgeway and Johnson Entertainment 

Lady Houdini’s Instagram Page

Elisa’s podcast, Letters To My Daughter

Jul 10, 2018

Very rarely are people presented with the opportunity to be born into their career and spend their life learning all aspects of their trade. Fortunately, Courtny Conkle did; she is the youngest female CEO in California and at the Lake County Fair in Northern California and has acquired a plethora of knowledge throughout her years. 

Getting to learn different trades in the fair from a very young age has helped Courtny throughout her career and given her the insight to project her career forward. Courtny has been on both sides of the fair as a concessionaire as well as in management, so she really knows the fair from the ground up! Tune in to this episode of Tailgate Entertainer to hear all of the brilliant ideas Courtny has to share with your host and co-host, Alan Bruess and Eric Haines. 

Show Highlights:

  • Being born into the fair industry 
  • Long-term goals for the fair industry 
  • Contributing factors to becoming a fair manager 
  • Areas that need re-adjustment 
  • Building relationships in the community 
  • Showing what you can accomplish 
  • Eliminating old traditions 
  • Bringing in entertainment that fits different demographics 
  • Understanding the ripple effect  
  • The importance of user-generated contact 
  • Spending time advertising the right content 
  • Relationships with younger vs older business people 
  • Intertwining business with life 
  • How people respond to the carnival stigma 
  • Being able to empathize with all sides of the industry 
  • Having people to mentor you 
  • Internalizing what you’ve learned from others and how to apply it 
  • Being a mentor and guide to others 
  • How to suggest things to people that may help them 
  • Coming into the fair industry knowing the industry


This show is sponsored by Super Science Company! 


Jul 3, 2018

Not having a traditional career can make the balance between work and family difficult to juggle. In order to be successful in the Fair industry, you have to learn to balance your life while traveling, creating your audience, and still maintaining your personal life. Paul Isaak is a juggler and performer who has learned to not only juggle fire but learned to expertly juggle his career and his family.

This episode of Tailgate Entertainer reveals angles of the fair industry that have never been seen. Tune in with your hosts Alan Bruess and Eric Haines to see how entertainers manage their families, make connections and still pursue their passions. 


Show Highlights:

  • How the fair industry differs from other industries 
  • What performers think about on stage 
  • Learning how to dissolve the barrier between the performer and the audience 
  • What drives a performer to create their own act 
  • Finding a community who understands your passions 
  • Making connections and maintaining relationships with a traveling career 
  • Balancing business and family 
  • Taking your family on the road 
  • Experiences like no other industry




Jul 3, 2018

We’re back with Season 2! It’s an entirely new season, so Alan here to catch you up on everything since Season 1 ended and also the exciting things in store for Season 2. In this first episode of Season 2, you also get introduced to a co-host, who is no stranger to Tailgate Entertainer fans!


The fair industry is an adventurous occupation that few people have insight into, but the Tailgate Entertainer brings you interviews with some of the most reputable performers in the Fair Industry. From acrobats to the youngest manager in the industry, to the inventor of women’s mud wrestling, the hosts Alan Bruess and Eric Haines will take you on a journey to explore every aspect of the fair industry. Tune into this episode of Tailgate Entertainer to see what this season has in store for you. 


Show Highlights:


  • What Allen has been working on 
  • Change in work 
  • Who is coming in the next season 
  • Shift and adapt 
  • Couples, youngest manager in the fair industry, and the inventor of women’s mud wrestling 
  • Sponsors 
  • Creating Scholarships 




Eric’s Previous Episode

Suggest ideas on where scholarships go: