Evans United Shows connection to Clear Lake spans generations

by Marianne Gasaway

When you are on the road almost 10-months of the year, there’s no place like home.  Well, almost no place.  For members of the Evans family, Clear Lake has been a home away from home for 45 years.

“Without a doubt, this is my favorite week of the year,” said Erin Phipps, daughter of Evans United Shows owners Tom and Nancy Evans.  Erin, along with her husband, Jason, are the fourth generation to be involved in management of the family business.

As a youngster Erin and her sister, Emily, would spend summers on the carnival tour.  At the end of the school year Nancy, a former teacher, and the girls would join up with the crew as soon as possible.  And while spending everyday among the rides, food and fun at a carnival sounds ideal to the young and young-at-heart, there was often work involved for the girls.  They sold tickets or worked concessions, generally helping out where and when needed.

After completing high school each girl chose a different career path, but still returned to help with the carnival wherever possible.  Ironically, it was by missing the Fourth of July celebration in Clear Lake, that it became abundantly clear to Erin that her future was not in the medical field, like she had envisioned.  It was with the carnival on a full-time basis.

“I was a CAT scan technician at a hospital in Kansas City and had to work on the Fourth of July.  I was miserable thinking about not being in Clear Lake.  After that, I volunteered to work Christmas.  I just didn’t want to miss the Fourth ever again.  I’ve only missed one July 4th in Clear Lake in my 41 years,” she explained.

About 15-years ago when Nancy became ill and could not continue with all of the duties she had been performing for the business, Erin decided to make carnival operations her full-time job.  She teamed with her mother to handle marketing, book work, fuel reports and more for the business.

“I’ve been learning from the best,” said Erin, praising her mother and father’s dedication to their business.

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