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.


  • 65: Conjuring Up a Career That Never Gets Old with Robert Smith

    25/09/2018 Duración: 45min

    Creating a concrete platform in a saturated market is no easy task. In order to do so, you have to be innovative and original, two characteristics that perfectly describe Robert Smith. Robert Smith is a magician and creative content speaker who struggled to find his way into the fair industry until doing exactly the opposite of everyone else, staying inside the box. Robert Smith is most recognized for his fortune-telling act, which has come to be known as the Conjurer Fortune Machine. Check out this episode of Tailgate Entertainer with Alan Bruess and Eric Haines if you’re interested in learning how to adapt and expand your own creative career.  Show Highlights: Starting street magic Recognizing the pivot point in a career Figuring out how to live with a disease The importance of reaching out Getting buyers attention Becoming the conjurer Creating a unique way to perform in a saturated market Trusting the audience Organically developing an act Explaining a nontraditional career to others Training people in y

  • 64: Greg Frisbee, Leveraging Your Strengths!

    18/09/2018 Duración: 39min

    Finding your passion can be difficult especially if it isn’t a traditional path but Greg Frisbee always knew he wanted to perform. Overcoming his shyness and fear of failure, Greg took a leap of faith and has become an incredible juggler and comedian. He has performed in all 50 states, over 30 countries, and does over 300 shows a year. His show is fun, goofy, and creates a family-friendly environment for everyone to enjoy. Tune into this episode of Tailgate Entertainer with Alan Bruess and Eric Haines to hear more about how Greg utilized obstacles to establish his career. Show Highlights: Taking the plunge as a full-time performer Marketing to fairs Breaking news to close family The journey of establishing a show Struggles with putting a show together Trial and error The importance of treating others with respect How a performance can be a form of meditation Being present in the moment Struggling with being insecure as a performer Alternative pursuits if performing fails Creating healthy relationships with f

  • 63: Creating Magical Whimsical Characters with Marco Landin and Heather Hyde de Landin

    11/09/2018 Duración: 28min

    The fair industry has some jaw-dropping and mind baffling acts but some acts set the bar higher than others. Marco Landín and Heather Hyde de Landin are creative and talented performers. From costumes to technique, this power couple has raised the bar for all stilt walkers and performers. Their acts are exotic and bring a sense of newness through their full fire performances and stilt creatures. They have perfected the art of embodying whimsical characters and creating a dreamlike atmosphere. Join Alan Bruess and Eric Haines in this episode of Tailgate Entertainer to learn more about creating a magical world.  Show Highlights: Being introduced to variety entertainment  Sharing the miracle of newness  Bringing something new to the table  Creating art to be proud of  Being an influencer through personal art  Creating opportunities for others  Finding ways to speak without words  Design techniques and creating unique shows  Creating blueprints and refining details  Finding balance  How passion pushes you forwar

  • 62: World Record Holder and Master of Physical Comedy - Alex Zerbe

    04/09/2018 Duración: 33min

    Alex Zerbe has been performing for more than 15 years. He is a master of physical comedy, juggling, and magic. Alex is known as “The Zaniac” which was an idea from his wife. Many love his high energy throughout his performances and his super kind soul, and intelligence. He is a two-time Guinness World Record holder who was voted Seattle's Funniest Prop Comic. He performs in fairs, schools and special events. He is a fantastic entertainer and loves his job as an entertainer. More in this episode: Physical issues that can be challenging in his performances in the future. The First Fair that he worked at. Lessons that he learned during his first fair job. Advice he would give about working in the fair industry. How has his marriage dealt with all the traveling associated with performing? How much he loves his job and performing. He would love to mentor and help other entertainers Where he goes for mentoring and guidance? When and how he began performing. Some of his beats! Resources Mentioned in the Show: Art

  • 61: Creating Memorable Performances and Sustainable Shows with Ivan España and Allison Blej

    28/08/2018 Duración: 27min

    For many performers, the circus has been a way of life for as long as they can remember. Ivan España is a fifth-generation circus performer and is currently creating and performing in shows with his wife Allison. They both have a heart and passion for the industry and dedicate a surplus of hard work and time to each and every show. Tune into this episode of Tailgate Entertainer to hear more about their journey and their current production, The Great Mr. Swindles Peculiarity. The Great Mr. Swindle’s Traveling Peculiarium and Drink-Ory Garden is an original production by Salto Entertainment of Englewood, an entertainment group with a decade of live family entertainment production experience. Salto Entertainment’s production and performance credits include the motorcycle madness of Moto Maniacs, the aerial antics and death-defying stunts of the steampunk-themed production FLIPPIN, and co-producers of CIRQUESA – Dream Quest, a journey of self-discovery as told through circus artistry. Salto Entertainment is owned

  • 60: The Show Bros™: A Super Show of Mind & Magic

    21/08/2018 Duración: 45min

    Building and creating a unique act is a major accomplishment but it is even more valuable when you get to perform with a close friend. Illusionist Adam The Great and Tyzen The Comedy Hypnotist, also known as the Show Bros™, are two close friends who have established a remarkable show together and continue to create innovative material. Combining two great talents with amazing shows on their own, they have created an amazing new show, called The Show Bros™, which highlights the best of both shows. In this episode, we go behind the scenes and find out the origins of this synergistic show.  The unique thing about this show is that Tyzen and Adam actually perform together - this combination of talents is compelling entertainment! The show is still very new, but is already getting rave reviews and is destined to be one of the greats! Show Highlights: Making connections through the fair Being a role model for children Maintaining a friendship through working together The challenges of marketing for a theatre Issue

  • 59: Finding Innovative New Talent for the Fair Industry with Tom Sailor

    14/08/2018 Duración: 37min

    There is a surplus of talent, acts, and shows in the fair industry. Many of the performances have been around for hundreds of years, but some of them recently have sprung and become popular over the last few decades. Tom Sailor has invented and innovated multiple aspects of the fair industry and currently works with Winter Set Concert Events. He has years of experience and insight on the fair industry that is unique to his creative perspective. Tune into this episode of Tailgate Entertainer with your hosts, Alan Bruess and Eric Haines, if you’re interested in how to break through the industry and taking risks. How life led Tom into the fair industry Belly Bucking The birth of male strippers Women’s mud wrestling Taking mud wrestling to fairs Creating a bungee diving show The biggest competition in the fair industry What the industry is missing Thinking outside of the box Areas that lack talent and room for opportunity The importance of a personal relationship Breaking through into the industry Not comparing

  • 58: Lessons Learned from 30 Years as a Full Time Entertainer with Todd Victor

    07/08/2018 Duración: 35min

    Anyone can be a performer, but only hard-working and dedicated individuals become a great performer. It takes many years and lots of practice to establish a name and create a timeless act, which is why not many people make it as a full-time entertainer. Todd Victor has been a full-time entertainer for over 30 years and has created beautiful stages to host various acts, he coaches entertainers, and has established a successful mentoring program to boost other performers. Tune into this episode of Tailgate Entertainer with Alan Bruess and Eric Haines to see how you can bring your art to market and take the next steps to improve your performance.    Show Highlights: Moments that led up to being in the fair industry  Giving advice to yourself in the past  Taking care of yourself and being innovative  Adjusting the show to fit where you’re at in life  Reducing wear on your body  What needs the fair-grounds can provide for performers Pros and cons of working with your spouse How unique makeup affects business  For

  • 57: Being Unique - a Key to Industry Longevity with Dennis Lee

    31/07/2018 Duración: 30min

    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

  • 56: Staying Relevant After 9 Generations of Performing with Michelangelo Nock

    24/07/2018 Duración: 24min

    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

  • 55: Rebuilding Your Life After a Life-Changing Accident with Kristen Johnson and Kevin Ridgeway

    17/07/2018 Duración: 41min

    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 epis

  • 54: The Youngest CEO Shares Insights for the Future of the Fair with Courtny Conkle

    10/07/2018 Duración: 43min

    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 wh

  • 53: Balancing Work, Family and Your Life While on the Road with Paul Isaak

    03/07/2018 Duración: 40min

    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  Balancin

  • 52: Season 2, Here We Go!

    03/07/2018 Duración: 12min

    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  Creatin

  • 51: It's a Wrap

    28/03/2017 Duración: 14min

    Today's episode is an opportunity to have a few questions answered about the show, take a peek behind the scenes a little, and a chance for me to give some final thoughts about the importance of our industry.  A huge THANK YOU to all of the guests and listeners that have been a part of the adventure.   Reasons for producing the show. How the show is doing, how has it done? Is the show going to continue? Did I make any money podcasting? Any regrets producing the show? Biggest lesson learned producing the show. Most frustrating element.   Biggest mistake I made producing the show.  Why the fair industry is so important.  

  • 50: Kids in the Biz

    21/03/2017 Duración: 46min

     In this episode: Mat Wells - son of  Kim & Alan Barr Nathen Smith - son of Robert & Sara Smith Sarah Hays - daughter of  Steve & Elisa Hays Hayden Newman - daughter of Mike & Ryann Newman Chase Barton - son of  Tammy & Bryan Barton Brayden Bruess - son of  Alan & Renee Bruess  

  • 49: Foodies" Kim Barr & Daryl Whicheloe

    14/03/2017 Duración: 20min

    You could operate a fair without a carnival, it might be less fun, but it is achievable. You could probably also run a fair without entertainment, but it isn’t advised. What you couldn’t host a fair without, is food vendors. Food vendors are the anchor of the fair. They are also some of the hardest working people, with a job that doesn’t guarantee a paycheck. For them, the risk is worth the reward. Tune in to today’s fast, food show to hear two of the fair’s best, Kim Barr and Daryl Whicheloe. Order’s up!   Kim & Alan Barr (Pacific Crest Concessions)   Investing in the food industry How has the industry changed in the last 30 years The amount of off time food vendors get Working and traveling Being invited back to the same fairs The importance of your presentation and operating Connections made with fair family Set up time Purpose of NICA Uniting concessioners and giving them a voice in their industry Fair commission Potential in the concession industry that people aren’t looking into The types of people

  • 48: Elisa Hays - Connecting with the Heart

    07/03/2017 Duración: 45min

    Pain and suffering are always topics pushed under the rug, but what people have failed to inform you is, oblivion is not bliss. Today we are going to sweep it all out from under the rug and hit the topics that are, more often than not, avoided. Feelings of self-worth, effects of tragic accidents, pride, the ICU, all topics that lack a sense of hope, but your guest, Elisa Hays, will hopefully leave you with an appreciation for life and hope in the virtue of humanity. Tune in with your host, Alan Bruess, for a taste of this bitter-sweet message.    Why people want to talk about their hurt  Defining your worth  Dehumanizing yourself in the ICU  ICU psychosis  Understanding and experiencing pain  Acknowledging pain instead of belittling it  Existing in a fundamental foundational level  The way pain changes the views of everyone around you  Finding reasons to laugh when bad things occur  How accidents change relationships  Reflecting on memories that impacted Elisa  How horrific accidents change your motivation 

  • 47: A Millennial Perspective on the Fair Industry with Kady Porterfield

    28/02/2017 Duración: 24min

    Is this generation really evolving? Are we different than other generations due to technology? Or are we simply coming full circle with the advancements previous generations have put in place for us? After years of advancements, we are finally beginning to see the fruits of the internet. But, have these advancements brought us closer together? Or magnified our differences? Tune in while Kady Porterfield answers a few of these questions, and more, with your host, Alan Bruess.  Today, Alan and Kady Porterfield also discuss: How Kady became the head of the agriculture department and her history in the industry How to get millennials involved, engaged, and keep them there How this generation has grown up more diverse and open than any other generation The extreme advertisement of everyone being entitled or capable The importance of learning and asking questions The positive & negative effects of phones and social media Tips for older generations to relate and use to help the millennial generation The viabil

  • 46: Balloonacy with Dennis Forel

    21/02/2017 Duración: 30min

    Time, money, travel, and experiences are all a few things we have in common. In the fair industry, it takes a lot of investment in all of the following. But, a few special things about our guest today is his constant great spirits, his classy behavior, enthusiasm in his work, his amazing story, and the magic he puts into his work. Welcome balloon artist, Dennis Forel, with your tailgate entertainer, Alan Bruess.   Today, Alan and Dennis Forel also discuss: The inspiration that led to his career Where his career led with persistence Opportunities for balloon artists Putting together an original act Being rotated between people you work for Upholding your act and keeping your enthusiasm The importance of being versatile People can tell when you’re not being authentic You have to be diverse and unpredictable but reliable Why you should always go the extra mile Being part of the outreach you work for The difficulties of having a family while being in the fair Being honest about your circumstances with your empl

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