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Friday, December 16, 2011

The boy who fed the tigers

Growing up in Devils Lake, North Dakota


This is Robert Pfleiger sitting at an outside table at a 600 year old hotel restaurant in Salzburg, Austria.

By Staff reports Devils Lake Journal

Posted Dec 15, 2011

Devils Lake, ND — When I grew up in Devils Lake, ND, there were not a lot of big events in the summer. Come to think of it, there were not a lot in the winter either. One event that did stand out to most every young boy was the arrival of the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. I had seen the circus in previous years. It was called The Greatest Show On Earth. One summer I found out how great it was. The circus traveled by train. On arriving in town, the train unloaded and the circus paraded through town. The elephants marched down the streets along with clowns and horse- drawn circus wagons. The circus band rode on a flatbed trailer and played as they rode along. There was a calliope wagon that played the exciting circus music that got everyone in the circus mood. If all that was not enough the parade included some caged wagons containing lions and tigers. The parade made it through the few blocks that made up downtown Devils Lake then on to Roosevelt Park where the circus was to be set up.At the age of twelve I was old enough to work at setting up the tents. For the promise of a free pass to the show, a number of boys worked hauling water buckets and other odd jobs. The highlight was helping to set up the big top tent. The tent for the three ring circus was huge and the center poles were extremely large. Ropes were placed around a large rod on the top of the poles. The rods had been inserted in holes at the top of the tent. The elephants were used to pull the center poles upright, and the tent with them. We boys pulled ropes attached to wall poles setting up the sides of the tent. It was really just hours of sweat work to get a free pass, that could have been purchased for about fifty cents. Seeing the elephants work, smelling the sawdust and experiencing the magic of seeing the circus come alive was a gift and worth every drop of sweat.read more at:http://www.devilslakejournal.com/features/x301189208/The-boy-who-fed-the-tigers

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