Sunday, July 15, 2018
News Roundup

Tampa's Bert Kreischer faces his fears on Travel Channel's 'Bert the Conqueror'

Bert Kreischer didn't start riding roller coasters until he was 37 years old. But in the last six years, he has more than made up for his late start.

Now 43, he hosts Travel Channel's Bert the Conqueror, an adventure show relaunched for a third season on Tuesday. Kreischer gets to do what every middle schooler — and, let's be honest, maybe every adult — dreams of doing for a living. He gets paid to ride roller coasters.

"The Travel Channel named me the professional fun seeker, and that's exactly what I am," he said. "I get to spend months discovering the coolest things to do with your family at these million-dollar theme parks."

Kreischer, a Tampa native who attended Jesuit High School before going to Florida State University, talked with the Times about living in a theme park capital and his most exciting interview so far.

Spoiler: it's with us.

"I remember my dad waking me up when I made All-County Baseball at Jesuit saying, 'Buddy, you're in the paper,'" Kreischer said. "When I was in Tampa, getting in the (then St. Petersburg Times) was an honor."

Having fun has always been Kreischer's schtick.

While studying creative writing and partying with Florida State University's Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, Kreischer was named the university's "top partier" in a 1997 Rolling Stone article. Next thing he knew, he was moving to New York and then Los Angeles to pursue stand-up comedy.

For the past 15 years, he's been traveling the world entertaining with his "never grow up" brand of comedy and trying out local thrills for the camera.

After two seasons of Bert the Conqueror, the show went on hiatus and Kreischer started hosting Trip Flip, in which he invites random people on the street on all-expenses-paid surprise trips.

Relaunching Bert the Conqueror means 10 more episodes of high-adrenaline rides, the tallest and fastest roller coasters and a ton of footage of Kreischer screaming.

In Tuesday's premiere, Kreischer heads to Six Flags New England to take on the Wicked Cyclone and the New England SkyScreamer. Then he's in Maine for the Great Lobster Crate Race.

A fear of heights kept him off coasters as a kid. He conquered his fear by facing some of the tallest rides in the country. He has been catfish grabbing, power-kiting, belly-flopping and even participated in a greased pig competition.

Get him talking about Florida theme parks and attractions, and he just won't stop.

"It's what I remember in Florida as a kid," he said. "The coolest things are the smaller festivals and attractions."

Going to the Tampa-based theme park felt like coming home.

"Busch Gardens was my theme park; it was where I went on my day off from school," Kreischer said.

The ride that eventually hooked him on coasters as an adult: Busch Gardens' Sheikra. He said it changed the way he felt about free fall rides. Now he fondly remembers the trash can he stared down at from Sheikra's far left front seat.

"That ride change me," he said. "Every time I go back to Busch Gardens I pass by that trash can like 'it's you and me, buddy.'"

He was obsessed after the first drop and rode it 10 more times.

This season features two episodes in Florida. In Miami, Kreischer visits Monkey Jungle, which he says is "one of the coolest things I've ever done in my life."

He and his family will be back in Florida next month to film the final episode at Universal Studios. Kreischer says the parks' Transformers and Spider-man simulator rides "freak me out to the next level."

His next goal after 10 more adrenaline-filled episodes also hits close to home. It involves a familiar name, a radio host on Tampa's 102.5 The Bone.

"I want to get Mike Calta to ride a ride with me at Busch Gardens," Kreischer said.

Contact Chelsea Tatham at [email protected] Follow @chelseatatham.

Comments
Hudson man dies in Hernando County motorcycle accident

Hudson man dies in Hernando County motorcycle accident

A Hudson man died in a motorcycle accident Sunday morning on U.S. 19 in Hernando County.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 51-year-old Timothy Guillotte was driving his 2007 Honda Silver Wing motorcycle southbound on U.S. 19, as Brooksville res...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
France wins 2nd World Cup title, beats Croatia 4-2

France wins 2nd World Cup title, beats Croatia 4-2

MOSCOW — Kylian Mbappe and France put on a thrilling show in winning the World Cup title. All Russian President Vladimir Putin might remember is the Pussy Riot protest. The 19-year-old Mbappe became only the second teenager after Pele to score in a W...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays Wilson Ramos is “going to miss some time”

Rays Wilson Ramos is “going to miss some time”

The Rays don't have an exact timetable yet for how long C Wilson Ramos will be sidelined, but it sounds like it could be weeks, or maybe even months, which could impact and possibly eliminate the opportunity to trade him."Not the best" news, manager ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Twins, with a lot going on

For starters: Rays at Twins, with a lot going on

UPDATE, 1:03: Cash said it's "not the best" news on Ramos, who has a left hamstring issue. … No set timetable but "he's going to miss some time." … Duffy was scratched from the lineup after all, the Rays deciding not to risk a further iss...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Air Force’s $10,000 toilet cover

The Air Force’s $10,000 toilet cover

To the Air Force, it’s a "cover-center wall, troop compartment latrine ... required to protect the aircraft from corrosion damage in the latrine area."To the rest of us, it’s a toilet cover. And until recently, it had a price tag of $10,000.Officials...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays shuffle bullpen, acquire Hoby Milner, send down Chih-Wei Hu

Rays shuffle bullpen, acquire Hoby Milner, send down Chih-Wei Hu

The Rays went outside the the organization to add a fresh arm to the bullpen, acquiring LHP Hoby Milner from the Phillies on Saturday night for cash considerations.The Rays sent down RHP Chih-Wei Hu to make room on the 25-man roster and designated fo...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Sacha Baron Cohen still knows how to punk America, but his new show erodes what little trust we have left

Sacha Baron Cohen still knows how to punk America, but his new show erodes what little trust we have left

Sacha Baron Cohen’s return to incognito trickery is, in current conditions, a little like pouring rubbing alcohol into the nation’s open wounds.Employing the same ingenious commitment and subterfuge that made him famous in the guise of Ali G., Borat ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays journal: Wilson Ramos will miss All-Star Game

Rays journal: Wilson Ramos will miss All-Star Game

MINNEAPOLIS — C Wilson Ramos had been so looking forward to starting Tuesday's All-Star Game in Washington, where he played seven seasons and, depending on the latest rumor, could be returning via trade.But he lost that opportunity Saturday, wi...
Published: 07/14/18
Updated: 07/15/18
Rays’ Blake Snell: This is how a Star is born

Rays’ Blake Snell: This is how a Star is born

MINNEAPOLIS — Blake Snell didn't know where he was headed at this time last year.Having made a couple of unimpressive starts after rejoining the Rays following a six-week demotion to Triple A he earned with a brutal beginning to what was suppos...
Published: 07/14/18
Rays roar back to blast Twins 19-6

Rays roar back to blast Twins 19-6

MINNEAPOLIS – There was a time late Saturday afternoon when things actually looked bad for the Rays in what turned out to be a very good day, a 19-6 victory that ensured a winning record at the All-Star break.Tampa Bay had given back an early l...
Published: 07/14/18