August 2018 Podcast

Cameron Hughes, Ben Hill and David Stogdill join the podcast. We look at contests and contestants, along with preparing them and prizing them for maximum effect. Stogdill talks about his new book on his mascot career.

Cameron Hughes joins to talk about the importance of having fun with your contestants, the importance of making them the star, and the value of letting a contestant lose. 

You have to have good contestants, you can’t be lazy. It’s about them, they (the contestants) are the stars of the show.

Clam juice? Yuck.

Ben Hill shares his experience as a contestant and what helped best prepare him to shine. Ben talks about creative prizes and the fan engagement. Ben talks about his trips to Asheville, Dayton, Fort Wayne and Lansing.

Finally, former mascot David Stogdill talks about the ups and downs during his journey as a professional mascot, along with fun stories from his 20 years in sports.


Ben Hill dressed for a party.

Time Codes

  • 1:50 Cameron Hughes – Canadian geography lesson.
  • 3:00 The importance of having fun with your contestants
  • 4:00 The Mystery Box concept
  • 5:00 Why picking the contestants is so critical.
  • 7:45 Get the names right, wear name tags even.  Connect people with your contestants.
  • 8:45 Importance of connecting with your contestant before you go live, stage manager, host and anyone else involved.
  • 11:00 Cudo shares the story of Paul Denillo winning a can of Clam Juice…and the shocking twist ending.
  • 12:30 The secret ending of contests (what happens in the back).
  • 14:00 The classic Chicago Bulls version of Dance for Dinner that crowds love.
  • 15:10 It’s a contest…not everyone wins.
  • 16:30 Wayne Brady’s playful spirit with every guest, why that’s so important for the crowd.
  • 18:00 Looking at recent Water Cooler moments that connect to this aspect of fun, showing that this kind of entertainment sticks with people like the Hartford Yardgoat’s Elf on the Shelf.
  • 19:30 The Formula One trophy that could inspire a fun award for you…with some added social media buzz.
  • 23:00 Ben Hill joins the show.
  • 24:15 Serial contestant Ben Hill explains his background in dozens of promotions.
  • 27:00 What helps make a contestant feel their best.
  • 31:00 The importance of prizes, even when they are cheap and cheesy
  • 32:00 Ben reminds us that the contest are really for the fans, not the contestants
  • 33:00 Ashville Tourists Hippies Night notes, including the No-Hitter that night.
  • 35:30 Daytona Tortuga funnel fries Night and Big Shelbowski Night notes.
  • 36:00 Fort Wayne Tin Caps game, including Ben’s misinterpretation of the emoji movie contest. Ben won a participation ribbon for his efforts.
  • 39:00 Ben races in a Mario Kart Race.
  • 40:00 T-Shirt Cannon Used in a fun contest in Fort Wayne
  • 44:30 David Stogdill joins to talk about his new book Belayed Gratification
  • 47:00 David’s career path summarized
  • 48:30 David’s year in Hiroshima Japan
  • 52:00 The use of field time with the AFL Forest Dragons
  • 55:15 Adding “feathers to his cap” and building his resume along the way
  • 58:00 Turning a negative into a positive when he broke his hand in Charlotte.
  • 1:03:00 David relays a classic story from the NFL All-Star Game in Hawaii
  • 1:07:00 Cudo drops a Joe Theisman fun fact
  • 1:08:00 David explains costume courage
  • 1:10:00 Wrap up and thanks for our 20 year anniversary

Thanks to David, Cameron and Ben for their time and insights this month.

Mario Kart Giant Trike Race Prop: Giant Trikes on The Store at

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