Hanging with the RoughRiders’ Crew
The Director of Game Entertainment, Gabe Wilhelm, does a fantastic job orchestrating and delivering entertainment for fans on a nightly basis. His “Crew” is at the forefront of every spectacle and performance at Dr Pepper Ballpark in order to make games entertaining. So how does one become a part of the Crew? Reid Copeland finds out.
Who is in the Crew?
The 16-man roster consists of high school and college students 16-years-of-age and older. Each member has a unique style and talent they showcase in front of as many as 11,000 screaming fans.
The position of a Crew member requires that you wear many hats. “For instance, when you are at the front gate, you are a greeter exercising a customer service side. When you interact with the fans, you are a teacher. When the Cupid Shuffle is performed, you are a performer. During the game, you are a cheerleader, so there are many aspects to this job.”
Five-year veteran Becca McCoy, who was Gabe’s first hire to the Crew and is a hospitality major in college, is the longest tenured member and gushes with excitement about her job.
“It’s just not your typical summer job,” Becca said. “It’s not retail. You aren’t stuck folding clothes or anything. You are outside having fun, meeting new people, sweating, goofing around, and that’s what keeps me coming back.”
Last weekend, the Crew enjoyed a couple hours of sun and relaxation before a home game at the ‘Riders Pool Zone. Gabe and the Crew exchanged funny stories of mess-ups and crazy fans, while some shared personal revelations of the job that Gabe really takes to heart.
“It helps me gauge my performance as a boss to these guys,” Gabe said. “I get to see and hear how I can improve season to season and how they feel about their job as a part of this group.”
What does it take to be a member of the Game Crew?
“First of all, you need to have a great attitude and willingness to have fun,” Gabe said. “Humility is a must in order to succeed as an entertainer at the ballpark. Those who are teachable, have good verbal skills, and communicate well will, without a doubt, succeed.”
Gabe was adamant that Crew members didn’t have to have special talents to make the squad. “It helps to have a special talent, but it’s not necessary,” Gabe said. “Having a little bit of rhythm helps to learn the dances for each night, but most of all it’s how they interact with others and how well do they communicate with people.”
What specifically do you look for in candidates and what is required of each member?
“Instead of a look or type, really I hone in on context clues, something about someone that makes an impression,” Gabe said. “This past year for auditions we had 40 people, the most of any season since I’ve been here. It was about who stands out.”
Is there an age limit? Any experience needed?
This year’s Crew ranges from 16-28 years of age with the majority being high school seniors and college students. No experience is necessary. Simply put, most Crew members are young men and women looking to have a great time making money in a fun setting.
What, if any, prep is needed prior to each game?
Memorization and pre-game rehearsals will help all Crew members. Gabe hands out skit information and dance choreography information before each season for members to study.
“I like to rehearse the night’s performances prior to first pitch so everyone is on the same page since not everyone performs each dance nightly, or even weekly,” Gabe said.
For those interested in applying, how do they get more information?
Those interested in the Crew must stay up-to-date with the RoughRiders’ official website at ridersbaseball.com. For more information, you can email Gabe at firstname.lastname@example.org. Auditions vary in time and place.