Category Archives: event

Honoring the 1-year anniversary, and moving forward

Joplin ExpatsTornado season has approached the Joplin region, and therefore, so is the first anniversary of the storm that changed Joplin and its people forever.

As the storm warnings and tornado damage have already begun across the Midwest and South, The Joplin Expats are proud to announce we will be honoring this anniversary, the storm victims and volunteers by helping prepare Joplin for a future of security, comfort and growth.

The Joplin Expats will be spending the entire summer raising money for storm shelters in Joplin.

If you are an Expat, local Joplinite, or a friend of Joplin’s and would like help raising funds for Joplin storm shelters, email us at

In the meantime, check out our first program (official announcement coming

Cycle for Joplin

Cycle for Joplin

later today):

Help Us Get Lady Antebellum To Play A Show In Joplin!

Country superstars Lady Antebellum are running a contest beginning TODAY for the band to play a prom for a winning video submission about why they should pick you/your town.

Joplin Expats wants to encourage all students, alumni, supporters and expatriates to submit a photo of themselves holding up a sign with one of the following words:

Lady Antebellum please come play a prom for all of Joplin Missouri Our whole community needs you now so we can once again Own The Night

The Expats will take photo submissions at and on our Facebook page. We will be asking for a community prom that could be free for all Joplin students and sell tickets to non-students to raise money for ongoing relief efforts. We will be taking all of the submissions and editing them into a video showing recovery efforts, students, and what still needs to be done for the official contest. Imagine how much we could raise for relief efforts with an event like this!

Please take a moment out of your day to snap a quick photo and send it to us or post it on our Facebook page. We need all entries in by March 10th to ensure we have time to edit a winning video together!

January’s Featured Expat: Tyler Huffman, Full-Time Teacher, Full-Time Entrepreneur, New Father and Expat Philanthropist

January’s Featured Expat: Tyler Huffman (by Rachel Crow Deyo)

Tyler Huffman: Spinning in Preparation for His BBC Joplin Fundraiser

Tyler Huffman: Spinning in Preparation for His BBC Joplin Fundraiser

Recently, Joplin welcomed back one of its own, as Tyler Huffman (Joplin High, ’95) reunited with fellow band members of Big Bad Chubba for a benefit concert over the Holidays (read The Joplin Globe‘s coverage here).  He not only lent his guitar skills, but he also rocked the Blackthorn Pub with the same DJ skills he’s used for years, running his very own Chicago-based DJ business. It was an incredible night of entertainment, raising over $3,000 for rebuilding efforts.

Huffman was one of the founding members of Big Bad Chubba, which originated from the merger of two existing ska bands.   Many band members also lent their talents to Joplin High’s own Ska Band.  Big Bad Chubba, or BBC, played many gigs between 1995 and 1997.

Tyler Huffman and His Daughter Ella

Tyler Huffman and His Daughter Ella

“We used to practice in Kelsey Richardson’s garage,” said Huffman.  “For a period of time, our home base was the upstairs of The Grind, an old coffee shop on Joplin Avenue,” he continued,  “They were extremely supportive of us and we had some of our best shows there.”

BBC had opportunities to play with lots of great bands like The Urge, O’Phil, The Gadjits, and The Scofflaws, traveling to shows in Wichita, Lawrence, Kansas City and Springfield.  “My favorite memory was playing at The Grind during the Local Musicians for Children Benefit in 1997,” said Huffman.

Until their Holiday reunion, BBC had not played together since their last show in 1997.  That same year, Tyler left for college in Columbia, Missouri.  He received his degree in elementary education in 2001 and worked as a Residence Hall Director until landing his first teaching position in Chicago in 2003.

“I feel that teaching is the best job a person can have,” said Huffman.  “I get so much out of every year, that I could never leave it.  I get to work with some amazing kids who constantly inspire me and remind me that the simplicities of life can keep us young-at-heart.”

In 2006, Tyler earned his Masters in Educational Leadership.  Currently, he teaches a 5th and 6th multi-grade classroom in a Japanese Dual Language program.  He feels very lucky to be a part of such a “forward-thinking” learning program.  “I teach during the day and run a small business and parent at night,” said Huffman.

Tyler Huffman Practicing for the Big Bad Chubba Fundraiser Reunion Show

Tyler Huffman Practicing for the Big Bad Chubba Fundraiser Reunion Show

While studying in Columbia, Missouri, Tyler was introduced to a photojournalism student, and it was love at first sight.  Tyler and Shelley were married in 2007. Tyler started Cage and Aquarium Productions (C&A) that same year, and business has grown steadily in the past five years.  C&A offers event entertainment with live musicians, DJ’s and photography.  Tyler said owning a business can be stressful, but believes things have fallen into place because he has surrounded himself with the “right” people, whom he believes to be their strongest asset.

In 2009, Shelley joined Tyler to help continue C&A’s growth. “My amazing wife not only offers her photography talents, but she manages a staff of more than 30 talented individuals,” said Huffman, “C&A has blossomed under her talent and leadership.”  He said Shelley leads by example and keeps everyone on track; she is as professional as she is talented.

What is Tyler’s favorite part of owning his own business?  “C&A satisfies my need to be creative,” he said.  “Our staff is the best in Chicago, hands down.”

Cage and Aquarium averages 4-7 private and public events weekly but keeps any one day limited to 4 events in order to uphold their quality of service.  This may be key in maintaining order to a dual-career lifestyle and raising a family.

In 2010, Tyler put on yet another hat as he and wife Shelley welcomed their first child, Eleanor.  Fatherhood seems to be his favorite role, and he “plays” it well.  “It is everything everyone says it is and more,” said Huffman.

Although they stay very busy, family time is very important.  Tyler appreciates his summer breaks because he gets to spend the days with Eleanor.  “She keeps us grounded and reminds us not to sweat the small stuff,” he said, “Her smile can make you forget all the challenges life brings you professionally.”

Tyler is a passionate and talented musician

Tyler is a passionate and talented musician

Tyler takes his role of fatherhood very seriously.  “It is not just about the obvious rewards of unconditional love for someone,” he explained, “I base all my decisions on what is best for my daughter, so I like having that responsibility to answer to.  She keeps me motivated.”

Tyler needed little motivation to reach out to his hometown in the wake of the May 22 tornado.  Like many people, he was glued to his TV in disbelief.  He has many good memories of Joplin and immediately began reconnecting with people, planning ways to help out where he could and joined the Expats.  Last August, he helped organize a Joplin Expats back-to-school fundraiser in Chicago to benefit Joplin students.

Tyler was thrilled to share some of his hometown pride with fellow Big Bad Chubba band members in a reunion concert to benefit people in their native community.  The December show had been in the works since word spread of the tragic event and was a great way to bring people together who had dispersed to other areas.

“Obviously, we wanted to do as much good as we possibly could in the form of funds,” Huffman said.  “We brought in merchandise and sold special tickets to boost our final numbers; it was great to see so many people we know come out to the show”.

Tyler said Joplin is a wonderful place to grow up.  “There is something special about Joplin, since so many of us tend to blossom wherever we land,” said Huffman. “People tend to be leaders and become successful when they move to other regions.  It sounds crazy, but the phenomenon is on full display in the Joplin Expats.”

Although deeply affected by the destruction in his hometown, Tyler is excited to see the rebuilding now taking place.  He hopes that the town becomes even stronger and learns from other towns like Greensburg, Kansas, implementing greener technologies and making better choices for the environment.  “I hope Joplin rebuilds faster than the experts are saying,” he said.  “Joplin has a way of proving people wrong.”

In our exclusive monthly Featured Expat series, the Joplin Expats are documenting some of our shining lights living throughout the world. If you have a recommendation for a featured Expat, we’d love to hear about them! Email us at info (at)

Featuring: Awesome Expats and “Re-Pats”

Who is this Joplin Expat

Who are these Joplin Expats?

In the coming months, your Joplin Expats team will be bringing you exclusive stories that take you behind the scenes with many of our most interesting Expats–as well as “Re-Pats” who have returned to their home town for good.

Find out who they are, where they are now, and what makes them tick. We already have a growing list of very interesting local and global entrepreneurs, community leaders and world travelers–all with their heart in the Joplin area. If you have any suggestions for featured Expats, email us at info (at) joplinexpats (dot) org.

Our first feature is coming at the end of January: Chicago-based Expat Tyler Huffman will discuss Big Bad Chubba’s upcoming benefit and Reunion show, as well as the constant chaos in his most interesting educational and entrepreneurial life that he and his wife have built.

Big Bad Chubba, (a 90’s Ska band formed in Joplin) will perform at the Blackthorn in Joplin on December 23.

“We arranged the night so there could be a lot of catching up with old friends.” said Huffman “I am really looking forward to people coming out to the show and making music with some great friends.”

The event will provide some talented Joplin natives an opportunity to share their love and support for their hometown.   All proceeds will benefit those impacted by the May 22 tornado and the efforts to rebuild.

Big Bad Chubba Reunion and Joplin Fundraiser

Big Bad Chubba Reunion and Joplin Fundraiser

“This is important to me because music always leads me to the best things in my life.” said Huffman, “I know it will be a wonderful time.”

If you will be in the Joplin area over the Holidays, don’t miss this exciting show. Tickets can be purchased at the Blackthorn for $10.

Home for the Holidays: The Thanksgiving Edition

Club 609, Joplin, Missouri

Come visit old friends at Club 609 on Saturday, Nov. 26th

The Expats are here again, with a fun, quick and local get-together for the Holiday  season. Come visit old friends, and new ones, at Club 609 at 8pm this Saturday. We will be giving away great prizes, including:

This get-together will be a great time at Joplin’s most popular spot.

  • When: Saturday, November 26th @ 8pm
  • Where: Club 609, Downtown Joplin. 609 South Main Street, Joplin, MO 64801-2315
  • Who: Local Joplinites, and Expats from all over the country!
  • Cost: suggested $5 donation for 2 raffle tickets towards the drawings for great prizes

And most importantly, this event will raise still-needed funds for the Boys & Girls Club of Joplin. Since the May 22nd tornado, the Boys & Girls Club has accepted a record number of children in both their summer & after school programs. And, they’ve done without the support of incremental funding.

Joplin Expats are helping unite friends for the Holidays

Through events like this all over the country, and through inspirational support and production, the Joplin Expats have already raised over $25,000 for Joplin’s students, and have helped motivate the community in their our own unique way.

Joplin Expats will continue bringing together Joplinites all over the world, and if you can’t make it to our Thanksgiving get-together, you can expect to be invited to the Christmas one, also! Please join your local Joplin friends, and friends from all over the country!

Thanksgiving in Joplin with Friends

Friends coming home for the Holidays

The final list of donated items for St. Louis’s Happy Hour Fundraising Event

Joplin Expats of St. Louis

Joplin Expats of St. Louis bring you dozens of quality donation items for Joplin Schools Foundation

Not only do we have two live musical performers (including Joplin’s own Adam Stanley), tremendous drink specials, and a live radio broadcast, but we now have a list of 32 auction and raffle items worth from tremendous businesses worth a total of over $5,000! Make a donation by purchasing an optional advanced ticket here:

Items include:

  • Eight (8) $25 gift cards for various St. Louis restaurants (Tim Hastey)
  • Black agate, red fossil, and sterling silver bracelet
  • Two tickets to St. Louis Symphony Orchestra concert in 2011-2012 season, Grand Circle or Front Parquet
  • Treat basket: two bottles of wine, a wine opener, candle, puzzle book, dark chocolate pretzels, gourmet coffee, flavored coffee spoons and biscotti wafers
  • Four (4) tickets, Rams vs Ravens, Sept. 25th, Sec. 143, Row Q, Seats 15-18 (donated by Nestle-Purina)
  • Two (2) nights deluxe accommodation, Renaissance Grand Hotel Renaissance Grand Hotel
  • Two (2) one-night-stays and dinner at the Old Dutch Hotel and Tavern; Washington, MO
  • Four (4) tickets for Rams vs. Ravens, Sept. 25th, Sec. 143, Row FF, Seats 13-16. Nestle-Purina
  • Four (4) tickets Cardinals vs. Mets, Sept. 20th, Bank of America Club Box, Row 1, Seats 1-4 Cardinals (donated by Nestle-Purina)
  • Four (4) tickets, Cards vs. Mets, Sept. 21st, Bank of America Club Box, Row 1, Seats 5-8 Cardinals (donated by Nestle-Purina)
  • Three (3) baseballs from Cardinals vs. Royals Joplin benefit game; not sold in stores, limited production (Rawlings)
  • Two (2) dozen Pro V1 golf balls (Nestle-Purina)
  • One (1) suite at a select Gateway Grizzlies game in the 2012 season
  • Extended weekend/week-long stay at a cabin at Table Rock Lake, south of Shell Knob. Four bedrooms, sleeps eight
  • Gift Card to Scotti’s Deli
  • Gift basket with six Halloween frames
  • Basket of men’s goodies and raquet bag (State Beauty Supply)
  • Two (2) tickets, Cardinals vs. Brewers, Tues. Sept. 6th, 7:15 p.m. Section 152, Row 24, seats 9 and 10. Cardinals
  • Two (2) tickets, Cardinals vs. Reds, Sat. Sept. 3rd, 3:10 p.m. Section 160, Row 25, Seats 13 and 14. Cardinals
  • Stan Musial autographed baseball
  • Chris Carpenter autographed ball
  • Gift Cards (Johnny Mac’s)
  • Two gift cards for $100 each
  • Gift Card (Roper’s Regal Beagle)
  • Gift Card (Ramon’s)
  • Gift Card (Meglio’s)
  • Gift Card (La Tejana)
  • Gift card (Chesterfield Sports Fusion)
  • Christmas holiday basket with red and green votive candles, 2 Holiday trays, 1 large round holiday cookie tin, and 3 smaller rectangular boxes for holiday treats
  • Chrome contemporary floor lamp with a swirled column and Italian glass shade (Amini’s)
Joplin Schools Foundation and Joplin Expats

The Joplin Schools Foundation needs you to win!

The list is so long that you should win something just for reading the whole thing! But you don’t😉 So show up this afternoon and bid away! All your winning bids are tax deductible, and 100% will go directly to The Joplin Schools Foundation.

St. Louis’s Back-to-Joplin-Schools Radio Broadcast Fundraising Happy Hour

King's Court and Joplin Expats of St. Louis

King's Court and The Joplin Expats of St. Louis partner to raise fund for Joplin Schools, and to celebrate their amazing return back to school on time

We’re at it again. And this might be the best one, yet, just a long drive away from the Home Town this is all for.

If you’re already convinced, you can make your donation ticket purchase right here:  If you need more convincing, read on! All ticket purchases and donations are tax deductible.

This time we’ve assembled an all-star cast to continue benefiting The Joplin School System. With nearly 50 Joplin Expats and friends in the St. Louis area already volunteering their time and resources, and with a live radio broadcast from one of the most entertaining radio talk show duos in the country, we are ready to raise more awareness and funds than any of our previous events!

Joplin Schools Foundation and Joplin Expats

The St. Louis Chapter will be raising funds for The Joplin Schools Foundation

When: August 23rd from 3pm to 9pm

Where: Graham’s Grill and Bayou Bar, 612 West Woodbine Ave. Kirkwood, MO 63122 (visit website)

Why: Raise money for Joplin Schools, and have fun doing it!

What: Great drink specials, celebrity hosts and live radio broadcast from 3-6pm, dozens of awesome silent auction items, and more!

There are still openings for additional sponsors and volunteers to make the event a success and help children of Joplin get back to school.

The St. Louis area has been key in Joplin’s rebuilding since the tornado, and we hope to continue its involvement by helping Joplin teachers and students make the most out of a challenging start of a school year.

Make your tax deductible donation or ticket purchase here: