Fried chicken with Johnny Cash: retiring Calgary showbiz veteran looks back on long career

Click to play video: 'Fried chicken with Johnny Cash: retiring Calgary showbiz veteran cherishes memories' Fried chicken with Johnny Cash: retiring Calgary showbiz veteran cherishes memories
WATCH: Calgarians are lucky to have the chance to see all kinds of great live shows and as Gil Tucker shows, a man who’s been behind the scenes for a lot of them is now facing the final curtain – Mar 19, 2018

Calgary’s biggest performing arts centre wasn’t even open when Wes Jenkins starting working in the building’s carpentry shop.

“I started here back in 1984,” Jenkins told Global News on Monday. “I built this floor we’re standing on.”

After decades of working his way up, Jenkins is now operations manager at Arts Commons and is still familiar with all the backstage equipment.

READ MORE: Arts Commons announced as new name for performing arts centre

“The stage rigging, all these ropes that allow scenery to be flown in and out No fancy motors, no fancy technology” he said “Some things are still done the old-fashioned way.”

Now he’s preparing to leave it all behind, retiring after all those years and all those shows.

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“The thing I’ll miss most is just the people and the craziness of our world,” Jenkins said.

His decades of helping put on live shows have left him with some great memories.

“One of my favourite things was when we had Johnny Cash performing here and we got to hang out with [him] between shows,” Jenkins said. “We shared prayers and dinner — fried chicken. Nothing fancy.”

Jenkins says putting in new seating in all the Arts Commons venues is one of the accomplishments he’s most proud of.

“I literally sat in every seat as a test drive to make sure that they were comfortable.”

Jenkins will wrap up his job at the end of April, looking forward to an active life in retirement.

“I’m going to travel the world on my bicycle. [I’m] off to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.”

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