THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO MY TWIN BROTHER, BILL DYKES (1943-1995). WE WERE NOT ONLY BROTHERS BUT PARTNERS IN BUSINESS AND BEST FRIENDS!AND TO ALL THE "BUTCHERS" THAT HAVE PASSED ON TO THE BIG LOT IN THE SKY!
Comic daredevil Bello Nock clowns his way back home STAFF PHOTO / DAN WAGNERBello Nock of Circus Sarasota. By Steve Echeverria Jr. Published: Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 1:00 a.m. Last Modified: Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 6:43 a.m. Before growing a red tower atop his head, mastering death-defying stunts and headlining “The Greatest Show on Earth,” Bello Nock was a 9-year-old Tuttle Elementary student with the desire to master a single move — the one-arm handstand. CIRCUS SARASOTA Circus Sarasota starts at 7 p.m. Friday through Feb. 22 at the big top adjacent to Ed Smith Stadium, at 12th Street and Tuttle Avenue, Sarasota. Cost is $10-$47; free for children under 2. 355-9335; circussarasota.org.
“I’m practicing, and I get it, and hold it for three seconds, then I fall over, jump up and scream, ‘I did it! I did it! Bello Nock did a one-arm handstand!’ ” recalled the 40-year-old during a recent interview. “My dad says, ‘That’s great. Now can you do it three times on Saturday?’ ” It would be one of many moves Nock would master, not only carrying on the tradition of his Italian and Swiss ancestors but creating a niche within the circus world. And now, after nearly a decade as the “star clown” of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Nock returns home as headliner for this year’s Circus Sarasota, which premieres Friday and runs through Feb. 22 at the big top across from Ed Smith Stadium. “There is a story with everything I do,” he said. Like the day Nock first discovered how to separate his performances from other circus folk. Even his more talented kin. During another grueling childhood training session with his father and three older brothers — this time on the high-wire — Nock noticed the encouragement his father gave his siblings. “I wanted to get a better reaction, so on my first step I became a klutz on purpose,” Nock said. “I tripped on the ladder, I stepped off the wire,” he said. “I drew my father in, and he was worried for me, and when I got to the end of the wire, he was happier than I was.” Maybe the reason Eugen Nock was proud of his baby boy that day was witnessing the embodiment of seven generations of circus performers on both sides. In fact, Nock’s circus roots run so deep his ancestors founded Switzerland’s Circus Nock in the 18th century. Eugen Nock arrived in America in 1954 to work for Ringling Bros., where he met Aurelia Cannestrelli, the daughter of Italian circus performers also with the show. The two married a year later at St. Martha Catholic Church in Sarasota, eventually having four sons. The two veteran performers couldn’t have been more opposite, with Eugen performing the sway-pole, and Aurelia as an acrobatic ballerina. So from the start, Bello Nock incorporated his mother’s theatrical flair and his father’s daring stunts. “It was like having one foot in yesterday and one foot in tomorrow,” he said. Nock started performing at 3, playing the baby in the burning house in a clown routine. By 6, he was playing Michael Darling in a touring version of “Peter Pan” with actress Cathy Rigby traveling around the world several times. “I was taught at a young age that nothing is impossible,” Nock said. When he wasn’t performing, traveling and practicing, Nock palled around with his Sarasota friends, first at Tuttle Elementary and later Sarasota Junior High. Favorite childhood jaunts included Sarasota Lanes, Stardust Skate Center and Sarasota Square Mall, he said. Although it would be years before fans would know Nock by his trademark hair, he found other ways to get noticed. “I was this Michael Jackson wanna-be ... I would have the sequins gloves, the leather jacket, the sequins socks,” he said, laughing. “I always figured that if you’re going to make a scene, be seen.” It is those early memories that make Sarasota a special place for Nock, who lives here with his wife and their three children. “Sarasota is not this small town, and it’s not this big city; it’s right in the middle,” Nock said. “Very few people look back at where they came from and wholeheartedly love it — I am one of them.” And that’s after decades performing at arenas around the globe, becoming a worldwide sensation with dangerous feats like hanging upside-down from a trapeze connected to a helicopter circling the Statue of Liberty. In 2001, Time magazine named Nock “America’s Best Clown,” a moniker that was both gift and curse inside and outside circus circles. “At a very young age,” he said, “I was told that clowns are able or need to be able to do everything.” As Nock merged clownish shenanigans and daredevil acts, the label became burdensome. “Working at a place or in a show with many other clowns, I felt it being disrespectful if they introduced me as ‘The Greatest Clown’ or ‘The King of Clowns,’” he said. “Do I think I’m the greatest clown in the world or in America? No. I think that I am very different.” For Nock, the label is simple: He is not a clown but a comic. “I’m Jackie Chan and Jim Carrey together,” he said. And like most superstars, Nock has a physical distinction that overshadows any of his venturesome stunts. The hair. Nock gained his most unusual trait at 11, while working a water ski show at a popular water park. He and his brothers decided to get crew cuts to make it easier to manage their hair while getting in and out of the water between routines. “I didn’t know what sunblock was and I sunburned my head, and it just hurt,” he said. “I had a headache for a week.” Nock let his hair grow and grow and grow. And before he knew it, there was a column of red shooting up from his scalp. With traditional white-face, sparkling bowtie, and flashy suit, hair, charisma and stunts, Nock quickly became the face of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Circus. During his eight-year run as the top clown, Nock was able to entertain just about anyone buying a circus ticket. “If I’m going to ask people to spend hard-earned money to come see a show,” he said, “I want them to be able to see something that they can see nowhere else in life.” Nock’s performance philosophy or view of the circus is not a surprise, given his pedigree and experience. “You can travel the world and never leave your seat,” he said. “And it’s for children of all ages. When we say it, we mean it. I can deliver a joke with no words, and no matter where you’re from, three generations can laugh at that same joke.” Now a “free agent” no longer obligated to Ringling Bros., Nock is home, joining world-class aerialists, animal trainers, illusionists and jugglers at Circus Sarasota. “If you’ve seen me before,” he said, “expect new things, and if you haven’t seen me, then I’m like nothing you’ve seen From the Sarasota Herald Tribune
I'd like to welcome Scott Bundy as a new contributor to the BALLOONMAN BLOG. Scott and his wife Valerie live in Sarasota, FL. He has already sent the following posts on The Wisconsin and Circus Sarasota. And will report on various other events in Florida which We are looking forward to! Thanks Scott!
The kitchen aboard the Wisconsin.The supply list for John and Mable Ringling’s train car in April 1905 included: 4 1/2 pounds of porterhouse steak, $1.133 1/2 pounds of bacon, $0.5614 pounds of ham, $1.541/4 peck of apples, $0.151 gallon of cream, $0.7512 splits of Apollinaris Water, $1.0812 pints Apollinaris Water, $1.3212 pints Pabst Beer, $0.721 quart of rye whiskey, $1.00SOURCE: John and Mable Ringling Museum
Jessica Wehner of Sarasota peers into the Wisconsin, John and Mabel Ringling's private rail car, at The John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota on Thursday.
THE WISCONSIN • Built by the Pullman Co., it is 65 tons, 79 feet long, 14 feet high and 10 feet wide and cost $11,325.23. • It was the personal car of John and Mable Ringling from 1905 to 1916. • The car contains an observation room, three bedrooms, a dining room, a kitchen, a bathroom and servants’ quarters. • John Ringling sold the Wisconsin to the Norfolk Southern Railway, and it wound up in Morehead City, N.C., where it was used as a fishing lodge by officials with the Atlantic & East Carolina Railway. • Circus buff Howard C. Tibbals found the car and confirmed it was Ringling’s. • It was restored by the North Carolina Transportation Museum in 1990 and donated it to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in 2003. The Wisconsin is on display at the Circus Museum on the grounds of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road. For more information, visit http://www.ringling.org/, or call 359-5700.
Dick.... thanks for the plug, just got back from a tour in Mexico City, amongst the many things we went to see was the Murals of Diego Rivera (A famous Mexican Muralist), and in his Mural of " A Summers dream in Alameda Park" he pays tribute to balloon peddlers & Pin wheel vendors. check the photos, this was painted about 1935. Also we saw a girl with an Organ Grinder, theres still a few around but are slowly disappearing as they cant find replacement parts for the organs. Bob PS. Mexico City has a population of 21 million now plus a floating population of about 3 million, that is people who come in and leave every day, as a result there are a few small circuses that play around the fringes of the city all year long.
In all Fairness I received this comment this morning and thought it only right to post it right away!
Dick,The Monster truck show in Washington IS owned by Feld Motorsports, so identified on CNN a couple weeks ago.The show in Madison was NOT owned by FM, and has been coming to the Dane Co. Coliuseum for the last few years. Always a very safe, crowd pleasing show.This was such a tragic accident! There was an interview with the man, prior to the accident, saying how safe the show was for spectators. Such a terrible end to such a wonderful person! I had relatives at this show, that saw the accident happen.Do things happen in "3's" in monster truck shows like they do in circus???Pete, the Baraboobian!
Man dies at monster truck show Reported by: Associated Press Last Update: 1/25 5:22 pm
MADISON, WI -- A promoter for the Motor Sports Monster Truck & Thrill Show has died from injuries after an accident at the Dane County Coliseum, just over a week after a 6-year-old boy was killed in a monster truck event in Tacoma, Washington. The Dane County Coroner said 41-year-old George Eisenhart Jr. of Chardon, Ohio, died after an accident Saturday night in Madison. A witness told the Wisconsin State Journal that Eisenhart walked in front of one of the monster trucks just as it was about to pass by. The newspaper said organizers immediately halted the remainder of the show. On January 16 at the Tacoma Dome, Sebastian Hizey died after he was struck in the head by a chunk of metal that tore off a truck doing doughnuts during the Monster Jam show.
South Florida Fair visitors still spend in tough economic times
Saturday, January 24, 2009 In an economy where business as usual is anything but usual, people still are spending money at the South Florida Fair. According to fair President Rick Vymlatil, per-person spending at the fair is up from last year, and the midway continues to perform strongly. Food values Cheapest water bottle:$1, Yesteryear Village General Store Cheapest hot dog:$1, Little Richard's, next to west Ferris wheel Cheapest turkey leg:$6, Little Richard's, next to west Ferris wheel Cheapest pizza slice:$3.50, (tie) Angela's Pizza, south of lost children's booth, andPerkins Pizza, south of racing pigs Best drink deal:Iced tea, 75 cents, Tiki Tea (3 locations) -Yesteryear Village, north of Agriplex, south of Dodge Stage One food vendor advertises "Little Richard's Stimulu$ Package: Rolling Back Prices." Others claim to have the cheapest cotton candy or caramel apples at the fairgrounds.