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!

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

RON POWELL--CIRCUS CLOWN


By Andrew McGinn SPRINGFIELD NEWS-SUN Staff Writer
Friday, February 27, 2009

Ron Powell just happened to have a size-18 pair of clodhoppers with him.
And greasepaint.
And a red nose.
"I carry it with me," the lifelong circus fan explained.
It's a good thing, because in 2001, the L.E. Barnes Circus needed some serious help after its clown was hospitalized in Florida swamp country.
"The show," Powell said, "must go on."
So out he went, transforming himself from an amateur clown who performed magic tricks locally for mentally challenged kids to the honest-to-God real thing under canvas.
"To walk out in front of 2,000 people and do something stupid and hear people laugh," Powell said, "it's an adrenaline flow."
How Powell came to be traveling with a circus in the first place is a wild story that isn't easily tamed.
But it's one in which the lifelong Springfielder, at an age when most people have retirement within grasp, finally made his dream come true.
At age 60, he ran away with the circus.
Since then, he's done various jobs for circuses big (Ringling Bros.) and small (Culpepper & Merriweather).
He's hung posters and run the pony ride. He's been a 24-hour man, a booking agent and, yes, an occasional clown.
"Since L.E. Barnes, I've never actively looked for work," he said. "It just shows up."
His story also serves as a reminder that, at a time when change comes faster and harder, a few things never change.
"The circus is the only American institution that's still in its original form," said Powell, who turns 69 this year. "If someone from the 1790s went to one today, it would look the same."
Of course, some people wish the circus would, in fact, change. Maybe even go away.
"We've been in every state in the union except Colorado," Powell said. "They wouldn't let the elephants in. There's an ordinance. That's our friends, PETA."
By Powell's own admission, "My whole life's been strange."
During a life in retail, he sold hardware, chain saws, Western wear and shoes.
He ran a sub shop in Urbana.
His affinity for the circus, though, has been constant.
"I remember being taken to the old fairgrounds on Pleasant Street to see Ringling Bros.," Powell recalled. "I can remember my mom waking me up at 4 in the morning to see the shows unload on East Street.
"We'd get at least one major show a year. Springfield was a circus town."
And John Ihrig and Sons, his family's West Main Street hardware store, loved catering to them, selling shows everything from feed and rope to bullwhips and saddles.
He joined the Circus Fans of America club in 1962, providing coffee to passing shows.
In 1963, on one such goodwill mission to the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus, Powell told a group of performers he'd like to be a clown — little did he know, they were all clowns.
"That afternoon," he said, "I was a clown. They took me into Clown Alley and I became a clown. My face is still the same face they put on me."
He asked to be made up as a tramp clown in honor of his hero, the great Emmett Kelly.
The clowns took it a step further, though, letting Powell perform with them.
"I just stood there like a big goof and let them do whatever they wanted to do," he said. "I was beyond hooked."
Flash to 2001, when his son announced he was heading to DeLand, Fla., to do press for the now-defunct L.E. Barnes.
Powell jumped at the chance to tag along with his nervous son.
"It was a circus fan's dream, really, to be in the winter quarters and watch this whole thing come together," he said.
But Powell became something more than a fan when he was asked to be the show's 24-hour man — the guy who drives ahead of the show to mark the route with arrows and check on permits.
He agreed to try it, so he called back home to his wife.
That was March.
"I never saw her," Powell said, "until Labor Day."

DELAWARE STATE FAIR NEWS


February 27, 2009
Delaware State Fair show with 'I Kissed A Girl' singer Katy Perry is cancelled
The News Journal
HARRINGTON — First she kissed a girl and now she's giving Delaware the kiss-off.
Two days after announcing Katy Perry would be one of the headliners at this summer's Delaware State Fair, the pop star's appearance in Harrington was cancelled.
Danny Aguilar, the fair's assistant general manager, said he could not reveal why Perry pulled out of her July 30 Delaware debut.
Aguilar said the Thursday night slot is now vacant and the fair is working to fill the spot with "someone very entertaining." (The fair's schedule also has a hole on Friday, July 24, with no announced act.)
The bulk of fan interest about this year's fair seemed to be focused on other announced state fair acts and not Perry, who performed at the Grammy Awards earlier this month, he said.
"In the last two days, I received probably 300 calls from people asking about Jeff Dunham, Kelly Clarkson and Demi Lovato tickets," Aguilar said. "I actually didn't receive as many Katy Perry calls. We're disappointed, but we'll move on."
The 90th annual state fair will run from July 23 to August 1 and tickets will go on sale next week.
The "I Kissed A Girl" singer will be in the region on April 5 for a show at the Theatre of the Living Arts in Philadelphia, but that show is already sold out.




FROM HARTLAND SMITH:

I've been digging through my old pix and I ran across this one which shows what is probably a local High School Band on its way back to the show grounds after appearing in the King Bros. 1954 parade in downtown Pontiac, Michigan.
Red Band Wagon in King Bros. Circus parade through downtown Pontiac, MI in 1955.





Al G. Kelly and Miller Bros. getting set up at the airport in St. Ignace, Michigan back in 1953.



A 1962 mid-morning view of the George W. Cole lot in Mackinaw City, Michigan



Anther view of the Beatty-Cole lot near Pontiac, MI in 1962






Here are Beatty-Cole elephants getting a free lunch near Pontiac, MI in 1962








Friday, February 27, 2009

SELLS-FLOTO POSTERS




SELLS-FLOTO CIRCUS 1925 #1 (FROM FRED HOFFMAN)

Sorry but I don't any descriptions of who is in these pictures.
If you recognize any of them please leave us a comment.





Here's some Feather Girls for Buckles!
Belated Happy Birthday greetings for Buckles!




SELLS-FLOTO CIRCUS 1925 #2 (FROM FRED HOFFMAN)







SELLS-FLOTO CIRCUS 1925 #3 (FROM FRED HOFFMAN)







Thursday, February 26, 2009

KELLY-MILLER CIRCUS PHOTOS FROM MIKE NAUGHTON

John Ringling North II and Mike's Daughter MJ, longtime neighbors
in Ireland and newly introduced friends in the USA.

Danny Carey and Tavana Luvas Carey.
And I (Dick) might note Danny worked candy for Us
when he was on the Cole Circus with His acts. A nice guy with a
nice Lady!


John Moss, Kelly-Miller Ringmaster.


Ben Trumble.
These Photos are from last season. Thanks Mike!



RINGLING WATER STOP

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

MOM

First of all I want to thank you for the e-mails regarding My Mom.
However the news was not good.
I would appreciate your prayers for her.
I just returned from Richmond and beleive Me it was hard to leave her.
But she understands.
I'm afraid I'll have to return in a matter days.
Again Thanks for thinking of Her.
Dick

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

MESSAGE FROM DICK--

Well this will probably be the last post for a couple of days, I hope.
I received word yesterday that My Mom is seriously ill in a Richmond, VA hospital.
So I must go down there today and see what I can do to help her.
But I SHALL RETURN!
Dick

CARNIVAL POSTERS

Tommy Leibel and "Nosey"



Hello Sir, I stumbled across your blog here about a month ago and really enjoy it. And was wondering if maybe you could help me remember this guys name, I meet him and his elephant back in the spring of 07, he had two his kids with him and his wife was back in Florida having another. My folks own a show up here in the Midwest and the circus pulled into one of our spot, so I walked down to their lot, just to watch how they do it and I met this guy, his kids and elephant. The way I understood it, he use to own that circus, but sold it to another guy, but still wanted to do his elephant act and help with the booking. But just wanted a name to go with the story, he was good people, I also met a lady,her husband and son, they owned the bear and of course I can't remember their name either. PS. I also enclosed a couple older show posters too.
Any other material you'd like to share we'd be only too happy to post!

MISCELLANEOUS PHOTOS (FROM R J REYNOLDS)





Hi: I am a fan of your blog following it daily and also some of the blog links you have on it.
I like the ads and photos you have. I have more or less the same interest you have, circuses, fairs, midways, sideshows, etc. so I find the blog very interesting.I have some ads and also photos I would like to share with you from time to time altho I don't know the dates on many of them. I live in NH so the material will be from this area mostly. Attached you will find 2 ads from 1937-38 time period. A Ringling ad and a Downie Bros. ad. Also is a Sterling Bros. Free Ticket but I don't know the year on that one.Keep up the great blog. RJ Reynolds
Thanks R.J. We look forward to seeing more from you!

CIRCUS SARASOTA PROGRAM (FROM SCOTT)

Circus Sarasota just wound up a very successful run in Sarasota.
Now they move to Ft Myers for most of the month of March.
First time they've taken Circus Sarasota on the road.
We wish them the Best of LUCK!

Monday, February 23, 2009

SARASOTA CIRCUS FESTIVAL & PARADE (Early 90's)


COLE ALL STAR CIRCUS 1990




ALAINE ZERBINI CIRCUS (1990's)




BELLEMONTE CRISTIANI

Belmonte Cristiani in 1941 He performed with his siblings from childhood until 1962. He was proud of the Cristiani Bros. Circus becoming the first nationally touring circus to perform in Alaska in 1954, his daughter said. He later manufactured carnival rides.



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