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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Teen debuts with Ringling Bros.
Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011
By JAY PRICE - The News & Observer of Raleigh
RALEIGH, N.C. -- A year ago, high school senior Andrew Hicks of Goldsboro walked into the gloomy bowels of the RBC Center a little bit sick, a whole lot tense and with just four minutes to prove he deserved his lifelong dream job.
Recently, the Goldsboro native returned in a red rubber nose, greasepaint and full-blown triumph, bursting through a crimson curtain and parading into the arena amidst a cavalcade of elephants, tigers and acrobats.
He had filled those biggest of shoes: the job of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey clown.
Hicks, 19, was signed to a standard one-year clown contract after getting a rare in-person tryout at the RBC Center last February.
He was among just eight picked out of more than 100 who sought one of the rare jobs, and in November began touring the nation with one of Ringling's three circus units. These performances at the RBC Center mark his first appearance in North Carolina.
Hicks lives in the mile-long circus train with a stew of 270 performers and crew from 15 nations, helps set up and tear down the show, and performs up to three times a day, zipping in and out of each show six or seven times, juggling, riding in the clown car and performing quick-hit slapstick routines.
The life, he said, tops even his years of dreams.
"The whole experience is actually way better than I thought it would be," he said. "It felt too big for a while. The realization was very surreal. When we were on the floor rehearsing and training, and I was looking back at the big Ringling Bros. portal - the entrance between backstage and onstage - I was like, 'Wow, I'm here. I'm really doing this.'
"It felt like such a huge accomplishment and such a relief, really," he said.
'A feeling of success'

Read more: http://www.thesunnews.com/2011/02/26/2004652/teen-debuts-with-ringling-bros.html#ixzz1F4DSvbl6

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