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Friday, July 20, 2012

Circus brings lions, tigers, dragons to Ontario

Alexander Lacey the tiger and lion act performer.
(Courtesy photo)
Diana Sholley, Staff Writer
from:  sbsun.com
07/19/2012
Ontario, CA--It's the year of the dragon and to celebrate, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has created a high-energy, death-defying, nail-biting, never-seen-before show aptly named "Dragons."
Tonight through Tuesday Ontario's Citizens Business Bank Arena will host "The Greatest Show on Earth," led by Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson who will preside over this fantastical tournament that brings together mystical dragon lore with astounding circus feats.
It's a dream job for big cat trainer/presenter Alexander Lacey.
"To train these cats is the most rewarding thing for me," said Lacey, originally from Nottingham, England. "I hope I can continue to do so for many, many years to come. Being here in America with my family and my cats is really a dream come true for all of us."
The Lacey family has raised more than 11 generations of lions and nine generations of tigers and continues to develop methods to maintain the integrity of the various bloodlines within the cat's lineages.
By the time he was 11 Alexander Lacey was already passionate about working with big cats.
"I couldn't wait to come home from boarding school to help with the animals - especially the big cats," Lacey said. "I learned every job, starting with being the `pooper scooper."'
This tour marks Lacey's American debut. He previously had spent several years touring with his big cats throughout Europe, including France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Belgium.
Though his show is only about 15 minutes long, Lacey trains and cares for the cats around the clock.
"My day is based on the animals. They are what drives me. I love what I do. It's not a job; it's a way of life," said Lacey, whose show is one of the few that combines lions and tigers together. "It's important to me that the audience see the relationships between me and the animals - the mutual love and respect. They do what they do willingly and are not forced."
Other acts also appearing at the circus include Kung Fu martial artists Shaolin Warriors, equestrian acrobatics Cossack Riders, the Flying Caceres and their aerial bravado on the only double-decker trapeze in the world, daredevil motorcyclists in the Globe of Steel, high-flying thrills from the Russian Bar and Teeterboard troupes, exciting double motorcycle high-wire stunts and the majestic Ringling Bros. Asian elephants.
Ninety minutes prior to each performance, ticket holders are invited to tour the Animal Open House to get up-close with amazing animals. One hour before every show guests can visit the interactive all-access pre-show, free with circus admission. Families can participate in hands-on experiences such as learning juggling and balancing skills, get performer autographs, see an Asian elephant paint a one-of-a-kind masterpiece and meet the Ringling Bros. clowns, whose antics are guaranteed to keep audiences roaring with laughter.
Read more: http://www.sbsun.com/living/ci_21114287/circus-brings-lions-tigers-dragons-ontario#ixzz219vQQ0As

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