Q&A with Chet Garner: ‘The Daytripper’

Photos from Bears in the Wild, pictured Chet Garner Courtesy Marketing and Communications

By Kaitlin Sides | Reporter

Chet Garner, now known as The Daytripper,” graduated from Baylor Law School and set out to make a career for himself in the corporate world. But something he couldn’t have predicted was that a different career would lead him back to Baylor 13 years later.

“How did you find your way back into the filmmaking scene?”

Garner: “I always imagined that I would go to law school, and then somehow find my way back to making movies and television, and I did pretty well in law school. So I found myself at this law firm, and billing hours, and honestly, it was a life, but it wasn’t for me. I always felt like God had gifted me for more, and I just had to take a chance and go out and do it.”

Garner graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2005 with a degree in Radio, Television and Film. He then graduated at the top of his class from Baylor Law School in 2007 and started at a law firm. Soon, he realized that was not his ideal career path and decided he to wanted to do more.

“How did you find the idea to start ‘The Daytripper?'”

Garner: “Man, I love Texas. I love traveling around Texas, but there’s not really any shows or content out there about the stuff that I want to do, and I knew having lived in Waco for three years, I loved Waco. I knew that Waco had all these amazing things to do. But people all over in Austin, where I was living at the time, hated Waco, it was just a pit stop on the way to Dallas. And I was like, but they don’t even know all the fantastic things.

“I was like, man, it [Waco] just has this bad reputation that is totally undeserved. So I thought, I’m gonna make a television show and use Waco sort of as the poster. We made a pilot for Waco, showed it to PBS and they were like, ‘Oh, this is amazing. Make as many as you can.’”

“The Daytripper” is a show featured on PBS stations around Texas. The show airs multiple times a day throughout the week, and has expanded into The Daytripper Podcast, which produces new episodes monthly. Each episode features a small town in Texas, which you could take a day trip to. Garner features the culture of the small towns by showing artists, authors and restaurants.

“What has been your biggest takeaway from getting to travel to these small towns?”

Garner: “It’s been the people across Texas that [have] been the most fun to me. As someone who truly believes that we were given certain talents and passions, and it’s our job to sort of find a way to turn those into a profession. I find people in every corner in Texas doing that same thing. Whether they’re making the best barbecue they can imagine on the planet or they’re historians and their passion is carrying on history. I just love finding people who are passionate about what they do.

“We’ve talked to artists and authors and restaurant tours, and some people, [who] their mission is they keep the family business running. They’re fourth generation chicken fried steak makers, but you can tell, it’s not just about chicken fried steaks for them. It’s about their family legacy and heritage and a lot of them will tear up talking to you about it. You’re like,’ Man, these guys are awesome.’”

“How did you end up coming back to Baylor to create the Bears in the Wild campaign?”

Garner: “It’s just kind of a door that opened to me. Jason Cook, who handles marketing for Baylor, [and I] have known each other for a few years, and are both from the same hometown in southeast Texas, and then [he] found out I went to Baylor. And of course the Bears in the Wild campaign needed a goofy spokesperson with no pride to fall out of a canoe and track down imaginary bears all over the place.

“They wanted to find a way to get Baylor alumni more engaged with each other, because we don’t tend to be as loud and vocal as some of the other schools; and we have every reason to be. We’re winning national championships and dominating like all across the board. So just let’s get us together, and let’s get us proud of our university and hopefully spread light as well.“

Even though Garner spent four years undergrad at University of Texas at Austin, he takes an opposite approach than just supporting the school he went to for undergrad. He chooses to go “all in” and show his school spirit, and “embrace [his] Baylor Baylor bearness.”

“Do you plan on doing more commercials for alumni engagement?”

Garner: “We’ve already got some in the works. The first one was just to sort of get people aware and hopefully get them to the alumni website. But now we’re going to start explaining the purpose of the campaign, and it really is so that we can start to connect with other bears in the wild.”