Hooters And Rooters

Tuesday May 18th, 2010 – Greenfield, WI

Sometimes everything just works out. I look around at some people and I see it happen all the time. There are no glitches and everything moves along exactly how it’s supposed to. That’s never been me, but once in a while I’ll catch a day when it comes pretty close.

Today was one of those. For the second year in a row I was asked to emcee the swimsuit contest at Hooters in Greenfield, WI. I got it last year when my friend Drew Olson wasn’t able to do it, and he thought of me as a last minute replacement. My timing was perfect.

That’s not something I’m used to, so I took it as a victory. Any time there’s a chance for a paying gig on a Tuesday, one takes it – especially in this economy. I’d had experience in working for Hooters before from my radio days in both Reno and Salt Lake City, and they were always very professional to deal with. Plus, who doesn’t like to “check the menu“?

The thing I like about Hooters is they really know how to run an event. They’ve always been extremely thorough, at least from my experience, and they make it classy rather than take it into the gutter. Of course guys are there to gawk at chicks, but it doesn’t feel slimy.

The manager of the Greenfield Hooters is extremely sharp, and I could tell that as soon as I met him last year. His name is Bob Hall, and he totally gets how to run an event. This was his fifth one, and by no means was it easy to pull off even one. It was a killer success, and run well from top to bottom. Any time I can be a part of something like that, I do it.

One of the few things I know how to do well is emcee an event. I can think very quickly on my feet and keep things going smoothly, even when they’re not. That took many years to acquire, but I’m confident to be able to handle anything at this point. It’s not a big deal, but like a referee in sports – the host only gets noticed when something goes very wrong.

Nothing went wrong last year other than I made a couple of comments up front that had a bit of double entendre to them, and Bob told me I had to lay off of that kind of thing. He wasn’t a jerk about it or anything like that, he just told me where the line was and I got it.

After that, it came off without as much as a hint of trouble, and everyone was happy. He paid me immediately, and I was grateful to get it. It was a pleasant surprise to hear that he wanted me back this year, and it happened to fit into my schedule perfectly so I said yes.

This year’s event was even better. The crowd was more into it, and everything fell into place perfectly. The same sound guy was there, a guy named Bobby Donini who had a big system that really sounded great. He handed me the mike and everything went really well.

This year I had a co-hostess too, an absolute blonde stunner named Sarah who’s 21 and looks like Jessica Simpson but is a lot smarter. She did some announcements between the costume changes of the contestants and was a peach to work with. She wasn’t stuck up or a bubblehead at all. Nobody was. This was about as fun as a Tuesday in Wisconsin gets.

These are the kinds of connections that make life enjoyable. It started with Drew Olson. I’ve known him for over twenty years, and he’s always had a heart of gold. Even when he was just an upstart writer for the Milwaukee Journal, he was always generous and got the concept of sharing the wealth in life. Now, all these years later it’s paying off in spades.

Drew was a roommate of a comedian friend named Pete Lipsey, another classy guy who has always been a giver. I’ve tried to be the same, and for whatever reason the three of us hooked up way back when, and it’s paid off more times than I can count. I helped Pete get started in comedy, and had Drew on as a guest when I was doing mornings at 93QFM.

It’s funny to imagine now, but he was actually nervous the first couple of times he was on the air with us in those days. Nobody else knew that though, and he was very good on the show. We’d have him in when we could, and he always told me how grateful he was for it. I was happy to do it, and now all these years later the roles have switched around.

Now he’s Mr. Radio Guy and lets me sit in on his show when I want. He’s never blown me off, nor forgotten how I helped him get started. That’s not only a sign of real class, but a tribute to his lack of petty insecurity that can be so common in the entertainment game.

Drew passed the Hooters gig on to me, and I met Bob. Bob liked what I did last year, so he called me again this year. I totally didn’t expect it, and it was a pleasant surprise to get another chance to do it. He said he plans on doing it next year, and I’ll get the call again.

What’s even better is that there’s a similar contest at the Hooters in Rockford, IL. Guess who’s hosting that one? My old radio buddies Stone and Double T from 104 ‘The X’, and I was just a guest on their show last week. All the people were telling me how I needed to meet them but I told them we were already friends. Small world, but this one is a winner.

These are totally the people I want to not only hang out with, but exchange services and favors like this. Stone and Double T are great guys, and they give me the same freedom to come on their radio show as Drew Olson and Dan Needles do on ESPN 540. Bob fits into that mold, and now he’s another connection. He’d help me, and I’d surely help him also.

These people are more than just friends. These are RELATIONSHIPS, the kind that one never loses out by both seeking and developing. Nobody keeps track of favors, but there’s two way action whenever one is needed. I want to find as many of these people as I can in life and keep the network growing. The dividends it pays come back many years later.

I gave Bob and a copy of my Hard Luck Jollies CD, and I forgot I did a bit about having a Hooters in Milwaukee that should have been called “Udders”. It’s gotten big laughs for many years, but I felt embarrassed that it was on there. This Hooters is anything but that.

What a treat to have people like Bob and Drew and Stone and Double T in my life. I’m extremely grateful for all of them, and it doesn’t hurt to have to look at gorgeous women in bikinis all night to get paid. This is how life should be every day. I’m working on that.


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