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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A life in the circus


BETH SCHLANKER/Press Democrat

Luis Jaramillo, dressed as the clown "Luigi," balances on a tightrope during the American Crown Circus and Circo Osorio at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds on Tuesday.

May 24, 2011Roberto Osorio was only 11 when he, his two older brothers and an older sister joined the Carson and Barnes Circus as a family high-wire act in 1983.His father, Herminio Osorio, a former trapeze artist and third-generation circus performer in Mexico, wanted them to become lawyers, doctors and engineers. A better life and education for his children was the reason he left Circo Osorio in Mexico and immigrated to the United States.
Two of his daughters went on to college, but the rest of his children wanted to follow in his footsteps. Herminio, who had taught them the high wire in their backyard in San Antonio, Texas, had no choice but to help them out.
“The circus — once it gets into your blood, it’s pretty hard to get out of it,” said Roberto Osorio, ringmaster of American Crown Circus & Circo Osorio USA.
After stints with Carson & Barnes Circus and Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus, the Osorio brothers — dubbed Lords of the High Wire — joined Circus Circus for 10 years in Reno and Las Vegas.
On Tuesday afternoon, circus hands made final preparations for the evening shows at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds. The sound and smell of popcorn mingled with the odor of cleanser as workers wiped down the circular wooden bleachers.
A donkey behind a curtain brayed when one of the workers passed by, calling out for someone to play with him. Osorio, 38, who is also circus magician and runs day-to-day operations, recounted a few key moments from his family’s circus history, a narrative that dates back to the 1870s.
read moreat:http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20110524/ARTICLES/110529733/1350?Title=A-life-in-the-circus

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