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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Circus entertains, raises money for Palmview Crime Stoppers

PALMVIEW, TX - 18 FEB 11 The performing tiger listen to commands during the show at Kelly Miller Circus in Palmview Friday afternoon February 18, 2011.
photo by joel martinez/jmartinez@themonitor.com

February 18, 2011
from:http:themonitor.comGail Burkhardt
Tigers leapt, dogs danced, acrobats flipped and elephants performed while children and adults alike clapped and laughed under the big top Friday night at the Kelly Miller Circus in Palmview.
The Oklahoma-based circus started its 2011 tour of 215 cities in Brownsville last week, and shows will continue in Palmview through Sunday. This year the show includes a new dog act in which the canines dance on two legs and jump through the air, a Western-themed show that includes acrobats and an 83-year-old cowboy, an entire family of acrobats from Argentina and new elephant and tiger routines.
“They were hopping and one jumped over the other,” said 5-year-old Palmview resident, Noah Ezzee Rojas enthusiastically as he mimicked the tigers’ jumping act.
His mother, Maricela Rojas, said her son was so into the show that he would not even look at her when she talked to him during the act.
Even ringmaster John Moss, who has been in the business since 1986, still enjoys the shows.
“I get a front row seat at the circus,” he said, explaining why he continues to work in the field.
In all, the show features 35 human performers, three elephants, seven ponies, seven tigers and 10 dogs, said Jim Royal, the general manager.
Animal advocate Diana Ho said the non-human performers should not be in the show because they are treated inhumanely. She and fellow animal advocate Cristina Cruz stood at the entrance to the parking lot holding up signs and passing out literature asking people to boycott circuses with animal performers.
Ho said circus trainers use violent methods to train animals. She also said that the small cages the animals travel in, as well as the tricks they perform, are unsafe and unhealthy.
Royal said the Kelly Miller Circus does not use violent means and has not received any citations for animal mistreatment from the U.S. Department of Agriculture since the new owners took over the circus in 2007. He also said the animals are domesticated and are accustomed to the travel.
Ho and many other animal rights activists are planning a larger protest when the Ringling Bros. Circus comes to Hidalgo in May, she said.
The Kelly Miller Circus is an annual fundraiser for the Palmview Crime Stoppers, an organization that accepts anonymous tips to solve crimes. Crime Stoppers receives 15 percent of all of the profits. As of Friday at 6:30 p.m., about 850 people already had purchased tickets to the shows.
Crime Stoppers typically raises between $2,000 and $3,000 each year through the circus, said Lt. Lenny Sanchez, an assistant coordinator for the group.

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