Rick Geisler -
Big "G" Enterprises/Showcase Talent International
2012 - Booking Agent/Promoter
Rick Geisler established Big "G" Enterprises in 1967, starting with three bands, and working the Central Iowa area. By early 1970 Rick was boasting a listing of nearly 50 bands. Included in Big "G"s roster of groups were many Iowa Hall of Fame inductees including West Minist'r, Echos V, Forte Enterprise, Trademarx, Princemen, Sunday Social, and The House Rockers.
Before the birth of Big "G" Enterprises, Rick began mastering his craft while still in high school in Nevada, Iowa. He would rent the Community Building for $25, hire a band for $50 to $75, charge 50 cents admission, and come out ahead. The Echos V saw that Rick had a talent and offered to give him 10% if he could persuade a man in Newton to hire them for a dance. Geisler rose to their challenge, succeeded, and realized it came easy to him and there was money to be made.
Upon graduating from high school, Rick moved to Des Moines to join his father in the family restaurant business, Geisler's Beef D'Lite. However, slinging the yummy loose meat sandwiches wasn't enough for him. He rented a small converted garage as an office at 2006 Center Street in Des Moines and gave Big "G" its first home. Soon the number of bands he was booking really started to grow, but he hit pay dirt when he mailed photographs of those acts to high schools. Because of that growth, in 1969, Steve Plym joined Rick as an additional agent and Big "G" created outlets in Chicago, New York and California to add nationally prominent groups along with the local bands.
In 1972 Rick changed the company's name to Showcase Talent International to reflect an international name after expanding bookings into Canada. Showcase booked many regional acts such as Rock's Gang, Burns and Bono, Don Dino and Mark V, Silver Laughter, Bullet (Cavaliers) and others. In addition, he also booked national acts like Chubby Checker, Tiny Tim and Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon.
A couple of Rick's accomplishments were "Talent Spectaculars" in June 1974 and February 1975. In '74 Rick teamed up with Centaur Artist of Hollywood to present a two-day showcase of 24 bands which was attended by club owners and agents from the US and Canada.
Rick's biggest extravaganza was in 1975 when he showcased 28 acts to an audience of 300 attendees. The headline band was the British group, Herman's Hermits, who had 17 million in record sales. Rick amazingly accomplished this 2-day bash on a budget of $5,000, which would not have been possible without his staff of two employees, Kathy Kinseth, his longtime secretary, and Art Stenstrom as agent and general manager.
Rick continued booking entertainment through the late 1970s until he returned to his roots and revived Geisler's Beef D'Lite, opening several locations in the greater Des Moines area.
In the early 1980s, Rick made another one of his passions a career by creating Great Plains Pro-Bass Association. He organized and promoted bass fishing tournaments in 10 midwestern states. These culminated in a Grand National Championship for prizes that included fully decked out bass boats, trailers and gear, to mention a few. In addition to the tournament season, he organized sports shows in the winter months, published Gone Fishin' magazine, and hosted the always entertaining Gone Fishin' TV show.
Gone way too soon, Rick unexpectedly passed away while fishing on a farm pond with one of his daughters on May 20, 1987, at the age of 41. Kathy Kinseth passed away in September 2011, after a courageous battle with cancer. We like to believe, because of them, heaven is a much more entertaining place.