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Monday, June 6, 2011

Big Top Circus comes to Pittsburg


Raika Dresdner performs with numerous Hula Hoops Saturday evening during the first of two shows the Big Top Circus put on in Pittsburg. The Big Top Circus will have two shows today, at 2 and 4 p.m.

PITTSBURG — The Big Top Circus landed in town Saturday, and throngs of Pittsburg area residents turned out to watch the young performers.
They rode in from Dallas and aren’t sure where they’re going next, but they performed their acts with passion nonetheless. And the family-run show is put on entirely by the youngsters. There was Johnny Davenport, the juggler, clown and human cannonball.
And Jordan Dresdner, the ringmaster who with his brothers, Robinson and Fenix, performs an Argentinean gaucho act. Zaira Davenport, Johnny’s sister, sells concessions when she’s not in the ring as a contortionist. The Dresdner sister, Raika, somehow manages to get 109 hula hoops spinning at once.


Contortionist Zaira Davenport entertains the audience with her act during the Big Top Circus performance Saturday evening in Pittsburg.
“It’s actually pretty easy,” said Jordan, who started performing when he was 10-years-old. “The most challenging part of the circus is practicing. We practice at least two times a day.”
The one-ring, European-style circus is in the Davenport and Dresdner blood.
“We’ve been doing this for generations,” Johnny said. “My grandfathers’ grandfathers were in the circus.”
For 10 and a half months, from January to November, they travel from city to town, sending ahead drivers to distribute ticket coupons other advertising. When they arrive, setting up takes about five hours, Johnny said. After the last show they tear it all down in about three hours. It’s never-ending work, but it’s worth it when they enter the ring and hear the applause.
“We hope they think that it’s pretty cool,” Jordan said. “It’s not something everybody can do.”
Pittsburg business owner Mike Seely has been enthralled by circuses for years. He has a stack of circus posts several feet thick, and in 1975 almost joined a passing circus.
“The guy offered me the job of general manager, but I wouldn’t budge on the last $50 of my salary,” Seely said. “I wish I’d made a different decision.”
Seely said he’s been going to see the Big Toppers for years.
“I knew their grandfathers when they came through,” Seely said, adding that the draw for him must be similar to what the performers must feel. “It gets in your blood. I always said I’m going to join one when I retire.”
Tabetha Reding brought her children to the circus to see cartoon characters Sponge Bob Square Pants and his friend, Patrick.
“They’ve never been to a circus before,” Reding said. “As long as it makes the kids happy, I’m happy.”
The Big Top Circus will perform two shows today, at 2 and 4 p.m.



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