Collage of Min-Aqua Bats' Clowns

What Makes a Min-Aqua Bats’ Clown?

Phil Smith

Why did Phil become a clown (and his favorite that he was not apart of)?

…the first time I saw them do the “hitch hiker” I knew that I wanted to do that some day.

Phil Smith - First Juggling Min-Aqua BatAs a kid growing up watching the ski shows, I was always amazed by the skiing ability of the skiers but my favorite act was always the clown act. My favorite clown act that I didn’t participate in was watching “Musky Mike” (Lance Krolczyk) and “Betty Lo” (Tim Donahoe, and latter Billy Fried). They had a set act that really made the crowd laugh. Lance had a way of working the crowd that was always hilarious. His voice, facial expressions, and body language made even the most serious adult crack a smile. They incorporated a good amount of skiing, every once in a while Tim or Billy would make a one ski jump, but the first time I saw them do the “hitch hiker” I knew that I wanted to do that some day.


A great clown act cannot be great without a great announcer

I loved doing the clown act when Mr. W was announcing.

The thing that makes the difference between a clown act being good and being great was the announcer. I came to learn this myself when I started doing the act. I was fortunate enough to work with some of the best. Bruce Miller and Andy Teichmiller were great, but the best was Mr. W (Wollenberg). He had an amazing stage presence and a quick wit, I remember having some great shows with him. I understand that one of his grandsons has been announcing some of the shows, he has some really big shoes to fill, I loved doing the clown act when Mr. W was announcing.


What was Phil’s favorite clown act that the he participated in?

Min-Aqua Bats Clown Act - Phil Smith
Program cover, with Phil on the right!

There were so many clown acts that I participated in that I enjoyed, I just loved to make people laugh. I remember every once in awhile we would try something new, and you knew it was good when you were on the dock and you looked and would see that all the members were out of the clubhouse watching and laughing. At that point you knew you were really doing a good job.

Being the baby was a ton of fun.

I would have to say that the clown character that I was the most proud of was when I started to do the “baby”. I remember hanging out with Ryan Mallory down at the bowl one day, trying to think of new material, and he found a baby bonnet laying on the rocks, he picked it up and said something like “why don’t you be a giant baby”, and the baby was born. Being the baby was a ton of fun.

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Opening page, Influence Tree, Billy Fried, Phil Smith, Ted Galaty, Stephen Smith, Tristan Hansen, Conor Bolger, Charlie Tedstrom, Mitch Wilson, Jansci Smithing, Dalton Roth, Conclusion