Cynthia Beaudette/Muscatine Journal
The tigers took center stage Sunday as the George Carden Circus got underway at Muscatine’s Agricultural Learning Center. The circus was in town for two shows Sunday in support of the Kaaba Shrine Temple in Davenport.
by Cynthia Beaudette
Sunday, July 15, 2012
MUSCATINE, Iowa — Sunday didn’t mark Karrington Sheppeard’s first time at the circus, so she knew there was a lot to look forward to.
“When I went to the circus last year, there was a girl flying on a moon,” said Sheppeard, a Muscatine West Middle School sixth-grader, as she sat in the bleachers at the Muscatine Agricultural Learning Center waiting for the George Carden circus to begin. “There are some really cool tricks.”
Sheppeard came to the circus with her grandfather David Housley, brother Liam Sheppard 4, and their friends, Judy Bautista, 8, of Muscatine and Jacqueline Bautista, 10, of West Liberty.
It was Liam’s first circus, and he was eyeing the cotton candy, as he watched a vendor work his way through the standing-room only crowd.
The Muscatine-area children were there to be entertained, but bringing laughter and excitement to communities across the United States is not the most important aspect of the show.
Circus owner George Carden said the circus benefitted the Kaaba Shrine Temple in Davenport, a chapter of the international organization of Kaaba Shriners, which operates 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children.
The hospitals provide care for orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate, at no financial obligation to the parent or child.
Carden, of Springfield, Mo., couldn’t join his troupe for the Muscatine performance because he was building a shelter for his 13 Asian elephants.
“I love my animals,” said Carden, during a phone interview.
Carden entered the circus world at age 5 when his mother, Betty Carden married circus owner Larry Carden.
“I’ve been in the circus 55 years,” said George.
Larry has passed away and Betty is retired, but the tradition lives on through George and his son, Larry Carden, 30, who takes care of the elephants.
Four of George’s elephants, including Bo, a male, performed in Muscatine.
So did the circus tigers, who were the first act of the afternoon, introduced by Audrey Alvarado, show ringmaster for eight years.
Alvarado said the circus featured people from all over the world and many different animals.
The circus troupe hosted two shows Sunday, with the first playing to a packed house.
Alvarado said a good turn out is one thing George Carden and his team consider when they plan their yearly tour.
“We’d like to make Muscatine a yearly stop,” said Alavarado.
Read more: http://muscatinejournal.com/news/local/the-circus-comes-to-town/article_d311b584-ced9-11e1-8798-0019bb2963f4.html#ixzz20mQiOrfq