|Smage brothers cashing in on "America's Got Talent" run|
|Written by Todd Mishler/Walworth County Sunday|
|Monday, 26 September 2011 07:45|
Above, Pat Smage performs in Japan. Below, Phil Smage up a tree on his motorcycle. The daring brothers attracted the attention of millions when they performed motorcycle stunts on the TV show “America’s Got Talent” this summer.
(Read the story in the e-edition of Walworth County Sunday HERE.)
ELKHORN — They became household names to millions after a whirlwind summer that saw them reach the final 10 acts on the NBC show “America’s Got Talent.”
The Smage Brothers — Phil and Pat — captivated studio and television audiences alike with their stunt motorcycling performances and showmanship.
Although it was time consuming and often stressful, their newfound celebrity status and time in the spotlight already have created a financial windfall for the daring duo.
“We haven’t had much time off since the show, because we’ve been much busier with bookings and doing quotes for potential events,” said Phil, 26. “We’ve been doing this part time all of these years, but this exposure will enable us to have much more freedom.
“We’ve received so many offers already that we could fill out our entire schedule. It also allows us to demand more in return. It’s definitely been good, helps us step up a notch and assures us of a career with more longevity.”
The strenuous journey through the big-time entertainment world took them through Chicago, New York, Las Vegas and Hollywood, quite an adventure for two guys who grew up on the family’s 1,200-plus acre farm near Elkhorn.
Their parents, Noel and Sharilyn, met at a racetrack and passed on that passion to their sons, including David, 30, who also competes in the American Motorcyclist Association.
Phil and Pat, 21, began performing their act at local motorcycle shops, races and fairs. They also compete in action sports arenas, such as motocross and snowskating, Phil finding his niche in the latter and Pat in the former.
In 2007, Pat became the youngest National Endurocross champion in the history of the sport, and he’s earned four titles overall. Meanwhile, Phil claimed three national championships in snowskating at the Winter X Games.
Regardless, they love putting on shows together.
“I started when I was about 10, and I eventually won world events as a youth and junior performer,” Pat said. “I like the challenge of competing in trials. I’m always pushing myself to get better and better.
“But we do the shows to entertain the people. It’s for the fans and being in front of different crowds all of the time. It’s a lot of fun.”
They also got a lot of help from friend Troy Neault, who may be better known now as Troy Smalls, nicknamed for the lead character from the 1993 movie “Sandlot.”
He has been a human prop for many of the stunts.
“We were doing something at a local school and needed an announcer, so we told Troy that we’d get him something at Subway if he did it,” Phil said. “But then right before we went on, he said he couldn’t get up and talk in front of 200 kids. So we told him he’d have to lay down so we could jump over him, and he ended up doing that in front of millions on national TV.”
Phil, who also runs a website, www.smagical.com, agreed that having fun and putting on a good show are the most important things about the team and what they try to accomplish. He also said that his younger brother is the more talented rider of the two.
“He just got better and better, and then he started beating me,” Phil said. “It was a tough pill to swallow at first. Pat is as good as it gets, and he’ll keep doing amazing stuff.”
However, both of them captured the imagination of millions in recent weeks, and that experience, although grueling at times, has paid dividends off and on the stage.
“We design and choreograph everything, but one of the biggest obstacles was that we were so limited in space,” Phil said of the “America’s Got Talent” competitions. “We had to hold back on a lot of things, but at the same time we tried to make it cool and show our creativity. We pride ourselves on knowing how to manage everything, and the space limitations were just another obstacle.
“Being two farm boys who are used to always being out in the woods, to be cooped up in the hotel or tent all of the time was hard,” Phil added. “It took them forever to finish our props, and we’re used to practicing every day. We definitely learned how the entertainment business works — hurry up and wait. But it was a heck of an experience and we met a lot of cool people.”
Pat said the grind was tough, but their traveling tribulations were worth the time and effort, although it’s much better to have more control of their calendars — and lives — again.
“It was a lot of driving at first and it was stressful wondering if the obstacles would be ready and work out, so it’s a big relief to be done,” Pat said. “But it an was experience that you can’t buy and we couldn’t pass up, so in the end it was worth it. And it also helps us push and grow the sport, which we’d like to see become as big here as it is in Europe.”
Their sponsors are delighting in the extra attention as well.
“We’ve been receiving a lot of interest since our TV appearances,” Pat said.