Joe Exotic, the Tiger King, and other celebrities visited Humboldt Middle School Wednesday to talk about their ties to Kansas.
“My interest in the beloved felines started when the local game warden called me about two abandoned tigers that were roaming around town. I captured the tigers, stuck them in my zoo and fell in love with them immediately,” Exotic said. “When I reached my peak I had 176 furry little buddies. I took the tigers on the road to fairs and malls. That’s how I met stupid Carole Baskin.”
OK, so the real Joe Exotic is actually serving time in a federal prison for the attempted murder-for-hire plot to kill Carole Baskin, the CEO of Big Cat Rescue.
This Joe Exotic was Humboldt seventh-grader Mason Sterling, who dressed as the infamous native Kansan for the school’s fifth annual Wax Museum.
The Wax Museum is an exhibit where seventh-graders impersonate a famous Kansan. The students pose as wax figures until someone pays a quarter to listen to their presentation.
The program teaches students about Kansas history, how to put together a presentation, and public speaking skills, teacher Scott Brady said.
John Brown, the famous abolitionist, made an appearance courtesy of Avion Seamster.
“I did not have a lot of education,” Seamster said. “I wanted to become a preacher but things took a bit of a detour for me and I opened my own tannery. This isn’t a tannery where you get your skin tanned. We tanned animal hides.”
As Seamster explained, Brown traveled to Kansas to convince the people not to allow slavery when the state was admitted into the Union. He was hanged for his role in a raid on Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia in 1859.
Teghen Jaro portrayed Joanna Gaines, television personality, designer and entrepreneur. She was born in Wichita and moved to Texas as a child. While studying communications at Baylor University, she served as an intern for Dan Rather and met her husband, Chip Gaines. After having children, she started a blog called “Magnolia Mom.”
“One day, Chip and I were flipping a house, kind of on the side, when HGTV reached out to us for a home renovation show,” Jaro said. “I thought it was a scam but luckily it wasn’t and in 2031 our first episode of fixer-upper aired and the show was a hit. Millions of people loved watching us flip houses.”
Aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart of Atchison stopped by thanks to a delightful presentation by Emmie Hole.
“I was kind of a tomboy. When I was a kid in the winter I’d hop on my sled and shoot down the snow like a rocket,” Hole described Earhart’s early life.
Earhart eventually learned to fly and became the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, among other records.
Earhart liked to buck the system, even when it came to marrying publisher George P. Putnam.
“As the early 1900s went you get married and you lose your freedom. I said, let’s work around this. We called it a dual partnership. I kept my last name and my freedom, and he kept… me. We’re still trying to figure out if that was a good idea or a bad one. We’ll get back to you.
“After an amazing decade of conquering the aviation industry and setting many records, then came my final flight. It’s kind of depressing knowing what happened.”
Earhart, her plane and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared in 1937 during a fight aimed at circumnavigating the globe. She was declared dead in 1939.
A list of students and the celebrities they portrayed follows:
Carson Russell: Clint Bowyer
Maddox Wehlage: Jeff Emig
Karsen Lampe: Barry Sanders
Grady Elder: Gale Sayers
Tori Melendez: Lynn Dickey
Josey Ellis: Christie Ambrosi
Logan Hutton: Darren Daulton
Aiden Galloway: Adam LaRouche
Laney Hull: Jackie Stiles
Grace Reno: Cassie Wait
Harleigh Anderson:Elvira Bender (virtually)
Alyssa Ballard: Chase Austin (virtually)
Elizabeth Romine: Kelsey Stewart
Anapaula Franco: Jacie Hoyt
Skylar Hottenstein: Taylor Robinson
Braxton Gray: Wilt Chamberlain
Layne Ellison: Brent Champan
Maxtyn Mueller: Dean Smith
Mark McCullough: James Naismith
Carol Henderson: Carrie Nation
Emmie Hole: Amelia Earhart
Creed Shannon: Wyatt Earp
Carson Peters: Roscoe Arbuckle
Kalyn Baughn: Gordon Parks
Savannah Koch: Nancy Kassebaum
Avion Seamster: John Brown
Lilly Reeder: Vivian Vance
Teghen Jaro: Joanna Gaines
Brooke Berkenmeier: John Stuart Curry
Bailee Berkenmeier: Rita Blitt
Darryl Farrill: Paul Rudd
Rylee Woods: Jeff Probst
Mason Sterling: Joe Exotic
Alex Wille: Martina McBride
Baelee Gosser: Erin Brokovich
Taner King: Phil Ehart
Aiden Hartman: Danny Carey
Lilly Albin: Kate Bender