Famous San Diego Chicken set as APSE Summer Conference keynote speaker

| The San Diego Chicken cheers on the Padres during a game against the Cardinals on Monday, May 23, 2011. | (Photo by K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)


By Erik Hall

Ted Giannoulas, the man who portrays The Famous San Diego Chicken, agreed this week to be the keynote speaker for the 2015 Associated Press Sports Editors summer conference. Giannoulas is scheduled to speak at the luncheon Thursday, June 25.

The conference is scheduled for June 24-27 at The Westgate Hotel in San Diego.

“For those of us in the sports world, the San Diego Chicken is pretty legendary,” said Todd M. Adams, sports editor of San Diego Union-Tribune. “We’re excited to have him. He’s a natural fit for an APSE convention.”

Giannoulas, 61, says he plans to share anecdotes and stories that made headlines during his 40 years portraying the chicken, which started in March 1974 distributing Easter eggs at the zoo. He parlayed that into San Diego Padres games and eventually over 8,500 sporting events nationwide.

“It is enjoyable, and it has been over the years,” Giannoulas said of portraying the chicken. “Maybe it’s a reflection of the culture of San Diego as well — a laid back, enjoyable culture where winning and losing is important for the fans but it doesn’t get in the way of having a good time.”

Giannoulas says he has never missed an event because of illness or injury.

“I still feel like a spring chicken at heart,” Giannoulas said. “I still enjoy the opportunity to go out and perform. It still just tickles me a lot to hear the sound of laughter at a gathering.”

It won’t bother Giannoulas if there is chicken on the lunch menu for his speech.

 “Believe it or not, I really don’t mind,” Giannoulas said. “If they do, it will help eliminate my competition. If you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em.”

Conference registration will open next week.

Hotel reservations can be made now at The Westgate Hotel by calling (800) 522-1564 or (619) 619-557-3628. They also can be made by e-mailing scontreras@westgatehotel.com and including your name, our group name and your credit card information. The hotel has no online reservation system.

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