Melbourne Cup-winning caravan entrepreneur Gerry Ryan tops list of rich entertainers

Gerry Ryan, the owner of Jayco Caravans, who shot to prominence last month when his horse Americain won the Melbourne Cup, has added a new title to his trophy cabinet – Australia’s top earning entertainer.

Ryan is the investor behind the hit animatronics arena production Walking with Dinosaurs, which is produced by a Melbourne-based company called Global Creatures.

The company has been named as Australia’s highest earning entertainer by BRW magazine after posting earnings of $140 million last year.

Global Creature’s Walking with Dinosaurs show has played to 6.6 million people since its launch in September 2007, and has grossed more than $350 million to global box offices.

Ryan provided $150,000 in seed funding to build the first animatronics dinosaur for testing.

“Due to my engineering and manufacturing background, I got excited about the concept because of the technologies that would go into making a dinosaur of that size and the lightweight materials that would be used to create such a critter,” he told BRW.

“It was reasonably risky. If the show didn’t take off we could always have had an exhibition, which was a downside but would at least get a return on some of the capital involved.”

Ryan has since invested $20 million in the company and now owns an 80% stake in Global Creatures.

The production company just edged out rock legends AC/DC, which grossed $131.4 million on their global world tour.

Perennial top earners The Wiggles were third at $33.5 million, followed by actor Hugh Jackman and singer Keith Urban.

BRW also released their list of Australia’s top sports earners. Formula one driver Mark Webber topped the list with earnings of $13.4 million the last 12 months, ahead of basketball star Andrew Bogut with $12.6 million and motocross rider Chad Reed, with $7.5 million.

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