You see him at Quincy Gems baseball games and hear him on the air with us from time to time on Y101 Radio, but do you really know Dave Comer, the guy they call “Chickenman”? I took the opportunity to ask “Chickenman” a few questions so we all could get to know him a little better and even I learned something I didn’t know about him.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in California, Missouri. My dad opened Kroger Stores throughout Missouri, Kansas and Illinois. We moved about every six months and lived in Kansas City, Raytown, Springfield, Chillicothe, Tipton, Sedalia and Hannibal all in Missouri. We also lived in East St. Louis, Illinois. My father bought an IGA Store in 1959 from Goochies in Hannibal and sold it to Food Centers in 1961. We moved to Quincy where he went to work for Food Center. I went to Irving, Emerson, Junior High and Senior High schools in Quincy.

What did you want to do as a kid?

I always wanted to be a ballplayer and also loved basketball, but baseball was my passion. Later in life I wanted to be a salesman because all of the guys who called on my dad had big cars, great clothes and made lots of money.

How did you get to the State of California?

When I came back from Vietnam in 1968, Quincy just didn’t have the opportunities I wanted. I was selling for Merchants Wholesale selling cigarettes, candy and paper goods. I had designed a placemat for a client and it was put into Fort Howard Paper Company’s National sales kit. A salesman in California was calling on my sister’s catering business. She noticed my logo on the placemat and told him that it was my brother’s design. He got my number  and called me to come to California for an interview. I got hired three weeks later. My first two years with them I had four major accounts (Del Taco, Mrs. Fields Cookies, Ben and Jerry’s and Haagen-Daz). From there, I started doing Las Vegas Casino’s napkins, placemats and supplies. I eventually opened my own warehouse in 1976 servicing The Mirage, MGM Grand, Bellagio, Palms, Boyd Gaming Group, the Golden Nugget and other casinos.

What did you do for the California Angels baseball team?

What started as a joke became a business venture. My company had season tickets for the Angel games. My friend and I wondered why don’t the Angels have a team mascot like the San Diego Chicken? So I went out and researched costumes and came up with “Huggy the Dog”, a giant 6’ 6” dog in a Angel’s uniform. I bought it from Hanna Barbara Studios. It was a proto-type for a cartoon show. I worked on routines to do during a game and called the Angels for a meeting and did my routines for them. They liked it and game me one weekend to see how the fans like it. After that weekend I was hired for the entire season. I eventually hired someone to do the mascot and I did other marketing ideas for the Angels for four years culminating when the Angels won the World Series. I went out a winner. It was the best years of my life.

How did you get the name of Chickenman?

It came through a crazy marketing idea that my good friends, Local D.J. Chuck Yates and Office Manager, Mary Kay Rossmiller, came up with. When I retired at 55 and moved back to Quincy, Chuck Yates asked me to come out to Q106 to help them. I was hired. We ended up getting the rights to air the old 1960’s “Chickenman” radio show series and aired it on the show as a daily feature. Mary Kay designed the Chicken costume which I wore promoting the show at remotes the station did. I kept telling everyone that I was “Chickenman.” It was easier for them to remember than my own name. Some people think I am nuts but here it is 12 years later and people know me as “Chickenman”.

You had a serious bout with cancer, how are you doing today?

I still have Cancer but it is in remission. Thanks to my lovely wife, two great sons, great friends in Quincy and a ton of Quincy Gem’s fans, I had a reason to fight. They made me wanna beat it!  I am ever grateful to Dr. El Koury and staff at Blessing Cancer Center, Dr. Meyer at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis and to everyone that fought this battle with me with cards, letters and phone calls of encouragement. A special thanks to Chad Douglas for having me talk about Cancer on Channel 7 and to my Y101 Radio brothers, Jeff “Big Dog” Dorsey and D.O. (Dennis Oliver) for having me join them on their show a lot while doing treatments giving me a reason to fight. They will always be my family.  I could never say or do anything to repay them for my life.

If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?

Seriously, not a damn thing!!! I have had a great life with ups and downs, but I hope I left someone out there happy and smiling. My lovely wife, two boys and friends could never be upgraded from what I already have! Life’s been good to me.