If you’ve attended a Bulls game over the last four seasons, you’ve seen Herman Reeder. If you are a regular at Bulls games, you might find the lean, sinewy figure of Herman Reeder as recognizable as any of the players. He is a cotton candy vendor, walking repeatedly from one end of the stadium to the other, up and down the stairs of each section, carrying a pole with bags of cotton candy attached, all game long. I’ve been chatting with Reeder at games for the past few weeks and last night I caught up with him in between games of the double-header.
Where and when were you born?
Reeder: I was born in 1964 in Baltimore, Maryland to Herman and Bertha Reeder. I’m Herman, Jr.
How long have you lived down here?
Four years. I moved here with my son, his wife, and my grandchildren. My son got a job down here so we all moved. Soon after we moved I got this job. This is my fourth season doing this.
Have you worked in concessions before?
No, but in Baltimore I worked pressure washing Camden Yards after Orioles games and I also was an usher for the Baltimore Ravens, so I’ve been involved in sports for a long time.
Who were your favorite players for the Orioles?
Oh, man, there are so many…Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray, you know, all those guys.
- Photograph by Leah Sobsey
- Herman Reeder
What’s the most number of bags of cotton candy that you’ve sold in one game?
Do you get paid per bag?
Yeah, we get 15% of the total. The bags are $5 apiece.
Does this job keep you fit, physically? These poles aren’t light and you spend three hours walking up and down stairs carrying them…
(Laughs) Yeah, I guess so, there are 30 bags on a pole and the poles get lighter as you sell bags, but the bags get heavier. A bag of cotton candy starts out light but it gets heavier after it sits in the bag for a while, if you don’t sell it.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
The fans. There are such nice people. I have a lot of older customers who buy bags each game and they give them away to kids. Like that woman down there (pointing), I see her all the time and she buys cotton candy from me. Then she gives it away to kids. It’s very nice.
What’s your least favorite part of the job?
Rain. If it rains and the fans go home I don’t sell as much. But Friday I sold 68 bags (during that rain delayed game), which isn’t bad, so I guess you never know.
What do you do when you aren’t selling cotton candy?
Painting. House painting and home improvement.
Do you follow the Bulls when they are out of town?
Yeah, sometimes on the radio, the newspaper, and sometimes on TV.
Will you be back next year?
I’ll be back. I enjoy this job. It’s a good job.