Jay Leno Likes Salina

It was a full Friday in Salina for “the hardest working man in show business”, entertainer, show host, and automobile enthusiast Jay Leno. He was in Salina through a partnership between the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce, the Stiefel Theatre, and The Garage.

The entertainer widely characterized as “the hardest working man in show business” landed in Salina at around 11:45 Friday morning.

The car enthusiast was greeted at the airport by a vintage 1929 Rolls Royce owned by Roger Morrison of Salina. The plan was to have Leno chauffeured around town in the vintage vehicle.  He had other ideas, though, and chose to get behind the wheel and drive.

After receiving a private tour at an invitation-only event at The Garage automobile museum, Leno took a stroll through Downtown Salina and walked to the Stiefel Theatre.

After the stop at the Stiefel, Leno was then part of a Salina Area Chamber of Commerce VIP reception at the Tony’s Pizza Events Center before appearing as the guest speaker at the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Banquet.

The chamber event consisted of remarks by Chamber President and CEO Eric Brown, incoming Chamber Chairman Travis Young, and U.S. Senator Jerry Moran.

Among other things Brown provided a brief review of the Chamber’s 2021 accomplishments and Young unveiled a “Love Salina” marketing campaign that will soon launch. Moran then spoke briefly, before introducing Leno.

As Moran spoke, Leno, toung-in-cheek, nervously looked at his watch and tried to coax the politician to hurry up. Leno still had a show to do. The entertainer then spent his time fielding questions from the audience, and with his answers reflecting on his professional and business life.

Also during the Chamber event Gary Stansbery was recognized as the Dr. Mace Braxton Volunteer of the Year.

Leno ended the day with a sold-out stand up comedy show at the Stiefel Theatre, before then jetting back home to California.

The chamber has a history of bringing big name speakers for their annual banquet and membership meeting. At the last live event pre-pandemic basketball hall of famer and analyst Dick Vitale spoke. Other notable speakers include  actor and comedian Rob Riggle, Kansas City Royal’s General Manager Dayton Moore, Emmy-Award winning journalist John Stossel, cancer surviving hall of fame figure skater Scott Hamilton, former presidential candidate and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw, former Alaska Governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Former President George Bush, Former British Prime Minister John Major, sports journalist Bob Costas, and Major League Baseball hall of famer Cal Ripken Jr., among others.