THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO MY TWIN BROTHER, BILL DYKES (1943-1995). WE WERE NOT ONLY BROTHERS BUT PARTNERS IN BUSINESS AND BEST FRIENDS!AND TO ALL THE "BUTCHERS" THAT HAVE PASSED ON TO THE BIG LOT IN THE SKY!
Circus clowns cheer up patients at Children’s Hospital
JASON VORHEES Clowns Dave and Cherie Gregg with Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus perform for a group of patients and their families at The Children's Hospital Friday morning. from: macon.com Macon, GA, By LIZ FABIAN December 28, 2012 There’s nothing funny about spending five weeks in the hospital, but Jazmine Tucker was giggling behind her cartoon-adorned face mask Friday morning.
The 5-year-old, who has been hospitalized since Nov. 23, was watching a couple of clowns perform in the activity room of The Children’s Hospital at The Medical Center of Central Georgia.
“They’re funny,” said Jazmine, who particularly enjoyed seeing the red-nosed man with blue receding hair balance a folding chair on his chin.
“We are trained circus professionals,” Dave Gregg said as he cautioned the youngsters to never, ever try to balance a chair on their own faces.
Gregg and his wife, Cherie, are “Ambassadors of Laughter” for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. Read more here: http://www.macon.com/2012/12/28/2298423/circus-clowns-cheer-up-patients.html#storylink=cpy
Animal rights group pays settlement in circus elephant case
The owners of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus say allegations of elephant abuse were malicious. By Tom Watkins, CNN from: cnn.com (CNN) -- A circus producer said Friday that an animal rights group has paid it $9.3 million to settle two federal court cases claiming elephant abuse.
Feld Entertainment, Inc., trumpeted the settlement with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) as a victory for its Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
"These defendants attempted to destroy our family-owned business with a hired plaintiff who made statements that the court did not believe," said Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, in a statement.
"Animal activists have been attacking our family, our company, and our employees for decades because they oppose animals in circuses," Feld said. "This settlement is a vindication not just for the company but also for the dedicated men and women who spend their lives working and caring for all the animals with Ringling Brothers in the face of such targeted, malicious rhetoric."
(AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt) Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus elephants are escorted during the animal walk from the train station to the Bi-Lo Center, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012, in downtown Greenville, S.C. from: ctvnews.ca by The Associated Press Published Friday, Dec. 28, 2012 10:33PM EST WASHINGTON -- An animal rights group will pay Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus $9.3 million to settle a lawsuit the circus filed after courts found that activists paid a former circus worker for his help in claiming the circus abused elephants.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said Friday it was not admitting any wrongdoing in settling the lawsuit. The New York-based animal rights group was one of several involved in a lawsuit filed in 2000 against the circus' owner, Feld Entertainment Inc., claiming elephants were abused. Courts later found that the animal rights activists had paid a former Ringling barn helper involved in the lawsuit at least $190,000, making him "essentially a paid plaintiff" who lacked credibility.
Two courts agreed the former barn helper, Tom Rider, wasn't credible and didn't have a right to sue. As a result, they didn't address claims the circus violated the federal Endangered Species Act by allegedly chaining the elephants for long periods and allowing trainers to use sharp tools called bullhooks.
The Vienna, Va.-based Feld Entertainment Inc. sued the animal rights groups and Rider in 2007, accusing them of conspiring to harm the company's business and other illegal acts. The lawsuit claims the groups were working together with the goal of permanently banning Asian elephants from circuses.
Friday's settlement covers only the ASPCA. Twelve other defendants including The Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Welfare Institute and The Fund for Animals are still involved in the lawsuit.
The ASPCA said in a statement that "this litigation has stopped being about the elephants a long time ago" and that officials decided it was in the group's best interest to resolve the lawsuit after more than a decade.
New Providence's Senft twins capture top photography prize for second time
Jason and Justin Senft's photo of a circus elephant playfully painting a bright red heart onto an artist's canvas was awarded "Best of Show" by H.S.H. Princess Stephanie of Monaco and will be exhibited this month at the 37th Festival International du Cirque de Monte-Carlo in Monaco and at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. (Photo by Jason and Justin Senft) from: nj.com By Independent Press on December 28, 2012 In a spectacular showing, Jason and Justin Senft, of New Providence, American artists and identical twins have won "Best of Show" for an unprecedented second time in the Fédération Mondiale du Cirque’s annual international photography competition. Jason and Justin Senft’s idyllic “Norman Rockwell-esque” photograph features a talented circus elephant playfully painting a bright red heart onto an artist’s canvas while a circus clown looks on with amazement.
Jason Senft photographs a flying trapeze act while perched on one of six 50-foot tall towers that hold up the big top. (Photo by Jason and Justin Senft) The Senft’s winning image, which portrays the contest theme “Circus: The Art of Happiness,” was selected by Federation Honorary President H.S.H. Princess Stephanie of Monaco from 12 finalists chosen by an international panel of judges. Incredibly, and setting a record, three additional photographs by the Senfts were also selected. Their photographs will be exhibited in January 2013 during the 37th Festival International du Cirque de Monte-Carlo in Monaco and at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. The Senft’s winning images will also be featured on the cover and within the Federation’s 2013 wall calendar. read more: http://www.nj.com/independentpress/index.ssf/2012/12/new_providences_senft_twins_ca.html
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® is proud to present FULLY CHARGED, Gold Edition, an all-new powerful surge of circus entertainment! Be a part of circus history as The Greatest Show On Earth® harnesses the energy of the audience to power the performers. Witness superhuman stunts so close, you can FEEL it! Experience the excitement as Ringling Bros.® transforms energy and power into megawatts of thrills. Imaginations ignite for Children Of All Ages with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents FULLY CHARGED, Gold Edition! Go to Ringling.com for more info.
Elephants to walk through downtown Tampa on Saturday By Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times Staff Writer from: tampabay.com Dec 27, 2012 You can get a look at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey elephants Saturday morning when they walk from the train station in downtown Tampa to the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where they will be performing Wednesday through Jan. 6.
The parading pachyderms will unload at 10:30 a.m. and begin a walk at 11 a.m. from the railroad tracks near the corner of Nuccio Parkway and N Nebraska Avenue, next to Union Station. The circus animals will walk west on Cass Street, turn south on Morgan Street, turn east on Channelside Drive, in front of the Forum; turn south on Old Water Street, and parade around the back of the arena to the Animal Open House, where elephants, tigers, acrobats and aerialists will be on hand.
The circus is at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Tickets are $16-$100. For show times and ticket information visit www.ringling.com
‘Biggest ever’ Showman’s circus under the big top next week
Mitch Traphagen file photo Over the years, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been contributed to organizations caring for youngsters, due to the generosity of the people who come together to produce the circus and the audience attending each year. from: observernews.net by MelodyJameson December 26, 2012 GIBSONTON — Sweet and salty aromas of cotton candy and roasting peanuts accented with the pungent fragrance of fresh wood shavings, shapely young aerialists floating without apparent effort under the big top, a large contingent of tuneful musicians, prancing animals performing on command, clowns in colorful getup – all of these tasty, awesome, happy, goofy features are on tap next week when the 30th annual Showmen’s Association Charity Circus takes over their event center here. This year, three non-stop action shows are scheduled on Saturday, January 5, beginning at 1 p.m., according to C.M. Christ, promotions coordinator. The second production is set for 4 p.m. and the third at 7 p.m., he added, with the midway open one hour before each show.
Staged annually by the association on grassy acreage at its headquarters, 6915 Riverview Drive, the event incorporating all the sights, sounds and smells of the traditional circus is the organization’s largest fund raiser of the year, Christ noted. And because all of the components of the circus are donated, all of the monies it generates can be contributed to such organizations as the Mary Martha House in Ruskin and children’s hospitals. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been contributed to organizations caring for youngsters, due to the generosity of the people who come together to produce the circus and the audience attending each year, he said. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the entrance, with children under 12 admitted free with coupons available at various business sites around the South County area and when accompanied by a paying adult. Parking is free. The 2013 edition of the Showmen’s circus includes a variety of popular acts returning due to demand, plus new features, Christ noted. For example, Jack Cooke’s Comedy Cars again are in the line-up, as are the kid-friendly performing pigs, and so are Wayne Franzen’s trained elephants. Performing horses and dogs, along with more exotic animals like camels as well as llamas, also are expected to be in the ring. Then, there are the aerial artists at home swinging overhead from trapeze to trapeze, plus tumblers and jugglers and clowns galore, he added. Justin Loomis, from St. Petersburg, is to be the ringmaster. The circus has grown with each successive year and in 2013 will feature the largest circus band to be found in any similar show, noted Lee Stevens, event coordinator. This assembly of talented musicians will provide at least one concert “of real circus music,” he added. read more-- http://www.observernews.net/thisweek/front_page/4198-Biggest_ever_Showmans_circus_under_the_big_top_next_week.html
Jeff Cogen: Circus advanceman From promoting elephant handlers and clowns to leading a professional hockey team
Nathan Morgan | Nashville Business Journal Nashville Predators CEO Jeff Cogen began his career promoting shows for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. Cogen, pictured above at the Nashville Zoo, said one of his strategies was walking with the animals as they paraded into a new city. from:Nashville Business Journal by Jamie McGee, Staff Writer December 28, 2012 Jeff Cogen, CEO of the Nashville Predators, first got to know Nashville in his early 20s as an advanceman for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, a job he held for seven years.
For the job, he traveled to cities throughout the Southeast, rented the arena, found sponsors or businesses that would promote the circus, sought publicity from media outlets and built interest in the show ahead of and during the circus.
Ringling Bros. circus gives Tampa a peek behind the scenes
Clowns will be a big part of the show that lets visitors see how band members and performers prepare. By CLOE CABRERA The Tampa Tribune December 27, 2012 Magnificent elephants, astonishing acrobats, a human cannonball and lots of clowning around, it can mean only one thing — the circus is coming to town.
The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be here Wednesday through Jan. 6 with an all-new show called "Built to Amaze," a three-ring spectacle advertised to give visitors a look at the inner-workings of the circus.
"It's a play on the intricacies of what makes the Greatest Show on Earth work," said Nicole Feld, producer of Feld Entertainment. "The nitty-gritty of what goes on behind the scenes."
Visitors will get to see how band members and performers prepare. Even the elephants will wear hard hats, said Feld.
Acrobatic unicycle act The King Charles Troupe was the first African- American act in history to appear with Ringling Bros.
And guests can expect lots of new surprises, such as a human cannonball Elliana Grace, who will be shot from a cannon and soar more than 100 feet through the air.
Grace, 20, has been training for her cannonball performance for three months, building muscles and practicing her technique, which includes tightening and compressing her body before launch. She says she is eagerly awaiting the first time she is shot out of a cannon in front of the crowd.
THURS JAN 3 @ 7:00 PM SALAMANCA, NY Seneca-Allegany Community Center KIDS 12 & YOUNGER FREE WITH ADULT Adult Tickets $15 At The Door Check Area Stores For $5 Off Adult Coupons! 2013 Premiere! 36th Annual Appearance In Salamanca
photo/Circus Berlin from: austrianindependent.com 27. 12. 12 The missing miniature pony "Fridolin" has been returned to his circus owners safe and sound after an anonymous tipoff that he had been abandoned at a bus stop .
The pony was returned after a number of high profile news reports including one in this newspaper which the circus owner believes put pressure on whoever had taken him to realise that they couldn't keep him – and to give him back.
According to the anonymous caller they had taken the pony in order to give some Christmas cheer to a sick child – and it had been fed baby food in the time it was away. They apologised for the inconvenience. Police are investigating.
The Vienna Christmas Circus (Wiener Weihnachtszirkus) which is currently based in Liesing said that Fridolin was its star attraction.
The miniature pony vanished early on Monday last week and the 60 centimetres tall animal remained lost for a week.f . Circus director Adolf Lauenburger said: "It seems as if somebody opened the paddock and lead the pony out – but from our side we are not worried about looking for punishment for whoever was responsible for taking the pony. What is much more important is that we get him back for the next series of performances.
"Fridolin is the tiny star of our animal crew and works together with another horse to entertain the public. One of the great things about him is that he doesn't have a fixed schedule – he just does what he wants and is a real natural performer in entertaining. Nobody taught him – he just seems to know."
He said the pony was irreplaceable and as he had been bottle fed and raised since he was a foal he would have been easy to lead away.
The pony has a chip identifying him and also answers to his name.
Get a load of this clown: John talks Lone Star Circus with Gordoon
by JOHN McCAA
December 27, 2012
Performers will fly high at the Dallas Children's Theater this weekend -- it's the Cirque Banquiste by the Lone Star Circus, and some local children are getting in on the acrobatic action!
The circus' first performance of their holiday show was Friday, and News 8's John McCaa spoke with Gordoon the Clown about the new show.
Animals, bugs, weird thingies Academy of Natural Sciences' All Star Week continues.
CHILD -- Cirque Éloize iD, part of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts Broadway series, continues at the Merriam Theater through Sunday. Monica Peters, For The Inquirer from: philly.com Friday, December 28, 2012
See your favorite animals and bugs this weekend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University as the All Star Week celebration continues through Sunday. Each day features a different theme.
On Friday, Animal Day, naturalists will walk through the building showcasing birds, reptiles, and mammals, and visitors can pet some of them. At shows at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. guests can learn about the creatures. At a specimen table, the academy will bring out specimens from the collections for visitors to observe. Kids can listen to animal stories told by a storyteller throughout the day and make a craft. Saturday is Bug Day, when handlers will showcase specimens from the entomology collection. Learn about the life of bugs and make a craft. Sunday is Weird-Thing-in-a-Jar Day, when guests can see interesting animals or insect specimens such as bats, cane toads, amphiuma salamanders that resemble eels, and axolotl salamanders that are albinos with large heads and feathery gills. Participants can make their own weird thing to take home, and there will be storytelling on Saturday and Sunday.
"Cirque Éloize iD," 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St. Admission: $25 to $75. Tickets can be purchased online, at the box office, or by phone at 215-893-1999. Information: 215-893-1999 or www.kimmelcenter.org.
Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/20121228_Animals__bugs__weird_thingies.html#ixzz2GLVyzd3q Watch sports videos you won't find anywhere else
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® presents the 143rd exhilarating edition of the Greatest Show On Earth. Surprise and wonder build such incredible anticipation it could only be Built To Amaze!
Elephants, tigers, acrobats and aerialists join together from across the globe, each a spectacular piece of the puzzle, forming one exquisite design of magnificence and precision. From the blueprints to the band, from the crates to the clowns, from the hammer to the high wire comes one breathtaking performance of non-stop thrills so astonishing you have to see it to believe it.
Join us as we measure out the perfect mix of marvel and majesty in an imagination equation where the impossible comes to life. Be a part of the brand-new spectacles from around the world immersed in the circus tradition you have come to know and love. Experience it live and feel the amazement! Children Of All Ages will be inspired for years to come at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Built To Amaze! Go to Ringling.com for more info.
Minnesota State Fair: My most memorable 2012 stories
By Jeff Rutherford Ward Hall.
By Barb Teed
from: TC Daily Planet.com
December 26, 2012
Covering the Minnesota State Fair is a hidden gem for journalists. There are countless stories to discover and 2012 was memorable because of the new food choices and the return of the sideshow.
My other memorable 2012 State Fair story was the return of the sideshow to the Midway. I had grown up with human oddity displays at the State Fair, but the show had been absent from the Fair for a number of years. When I found out the traditional sideshow was back, I arranged an interview with World of Wonders' 83-year-old owner, Ward Hall. Hall was a delight and educated me about the dignity of carny performers. I came away from my Palace of Illusions story with new admiration for the life of a carny. But they work hard, oftentimes non-stop during a Fair gig, so I don’t think I am ready to run away with the circus just yet. Photographer Jeff Rutherford captured the life of the sideshow performer in spectacular fashion.
(Middle) Tommy Breen: "down the hatch without a scratch
By Barb Teed, TC Daily Planet
August 27, 2012
The World of Wonders (“strange oddities from strange places doing strange things”) features 12 acts on one stage highlighting carny artists and illusionists such as: The Amazing Spidora (“Eight Legs of Sheer Terror”), Human Blockhead, Weird Women, Divas of Danger, Headless Marvel and Tweedly Dee. The live performances include sword swallowers, escape artist, a whip expert and fire-eaters.
World of Wonders barker and sword swallower Tommy Breen, 32, has been with the show for eight years. He watched fellow sword swallower Red Stuart chug down a car axle from a Model T Ford. “That’s pretty gnarly even for me,” said Breen.
Stuart, whom Breen said is the oldest living sword swallower still performing, holds multiple Guinness World Records for his art. Stuart broke his own record by swallowing 52 swords at the 2009 Minnesota State Fair.
The Sword Swallowers Association International says the art of sword swallowing originated over 4,000 years ago in India, requiring the practitioner to use mind-over-matter techniques to control the body and repress natural reflexes to insert solid steel blades down the esophagus and into the stomach. The Association sponsors a World Sword Swallower’s Day, held the last day in February. One of its fund-raising efforts is to provide monies to the Injured Sword Swallower’s Relief Fund.
(Above) Tommy Breen: barker and swallower.
Dressed in a kilt and vest, Stuart next pounded a large nail into his head up through his nose cavity and said to the audience, “Oh, the life of a carny. They swear up and down that I have a screw loose.”
D J Shorty, a man born with no body below his ribs, was spinning the computer music selections during the acts, occasionally walking on his hands back and forth on stage. Just 27 inches tall, D J was clearly born with no lower half and proved popular with the audience.
Scott Saturn (“like the planet”) lifts weights with his ears. “I heard Minnesota is a big bowling state,” he said to the crowd and attached a bowling ball to chains hanging from his ear lobs, raising it up. Saturn also laid on a bed of nails.
(Above) Scott Saturn on a bed of nails.
Tweedle Dee claims to be the “World’s Fattest Dancer” and performed live dance routines while D J Shorty manned the music player.
A sword cutting demonstration was performed in the back of the tent. Also in the back of the tent is a Freak Museum displaying stuffed freak animals such as Queen Kong and “mermyth,” the mermaid creature.
Ward Hall calls his performers “working acts” and does not deny the World of Wonders includes illusions. The headless woman, Olga Hess “live from Germany” was indeed “headless” but the audience is left wondering if she's real or illusion. Vickie Condor is a four-legged dancer and moved her four legs while sitting in a box.
Hall said most of his talent approach him for work, but he does recruit through his Facebook page. The World of Wonder’s Facebook page is “dedicated to the preservation of the Circus Sideshow.”
In 1981, Hall published his autobiography Struggles and Triumphs of a Modern Day Showman. A World of Wonder banner displays a tribute to P T Barnum, who is credited with creating the first American sideshows.
Cirque-A-Licious Offers a High-Flying New Year's Eve
By Laine Doss
Dec. 26 2012
Not your usual New Year's eve.
New Year's Eve is one of those nights that can be highly overrated. You get dressed up, pay four times the normal price for a buffet dinner, party hat, and champagne, and listen to either a wedding band or DJ as the clock strikes midnight.
This year, we're thinking of celebrating with circus people...specifically cirque people. As in those beautifully costumed dancer/acrobats of the famed Cirque du Soleil.
Cirque-a-Licious, at the Meyer Amphitheater in West Palm Beach, is offering three special holiday shows. Prices include dinner under the blue-and-yellow big top, show, and dancing.
A cash bar is available and wine is served with dinner. Prices range from affordable to extravagant. We're thinking that toasting 2013 under the big top while beautiful girls whirl above our heads might just be more enjoyable than the usual prime rib buffet and DJ.
You are invited to a legendary world full of amazing creatures. Experience the adventure of a lifetime as they take you to new heights. Fire-breathing, flying dragons come to life. From DreamWorks and the creators of Walking With Dinosaurs... How To Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular!
The exciting adventure inspired by the academy-award nominated film. For the first time ever, 24 larger than life dragons, with never before seen 40-foot wing spans, a huge cast of Viking warriors. Experience the epic live arena adventure that will bring fire breathing-flying dragons to life. Explosive action and high-flying excitement collide right before your eyes!
For ticket information, visit http://www.dreamworksdragonslive.com
Ringling Bros. circus to premiere 'Built to Amaze' at Tampa Bay Times Forum
by Wade Tatangelo
December 27, 2012
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which has strong ties to Manatee County via parent company Feld Entertainment, is back with "Built To Amaze."
The 143rd edition of the Greatest Show On Earth promises drama, surprise, wonder and excitement for its world premiere Jan. 2-6 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Elephants, tigers, acrobats and aerialists will join together from across the globe to form a single spectacular experience.
From the blueprints to the band, from the crates to the clowns, from the hammer to the high wire, Ringling Bros. will offer "one breathtaking performance of non-stop thrills so astonishing you have to see it to believe it."
Earlier this month, the Herald broke the news that Feld Entertainment plans to eventually move Ringling Bros. Winter Quarters to Ellenton from the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.
Feld, which also produces several other shows including Disney on Ice and Monster Jam, expects the expansion from its home of many years in Palmetto into a new 47-acre campus in Ellenton to be complete in 2013.
The live show producer also plans to incrementally relocate its global headquarters from Vienna, Va., to Manatee over the next five years.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 2-4; 11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 5; 1 and 5 p.m. Jan. 6; Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Tickets: $16-$100. Information: 813-301-6900 or Ticketmaster.com.
Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/2012/12/27/4329917/ringling-bros-circus-to-premiere.html#storylink=cpy
Casey McCoy - animal trainer started in the circus in the USA from the tender age of nine and has trained animals big and small. Dont miss him presenting the tigers and ponies at the McLaren Magical Circus. Shows are free at 12 & 2:30pm daily. — at McLaren Circus Gold Reef City.
Francisca Laszig With Tyra Nielsen and Mclaren Circus.
So Proud of our youngest brother Dominic for following in his big brothers passion! — with Dominic Denzil Mclaren.
We would like to welcome Jansen Grant from Australia to our show! A Great juggler and the Biggest Big Wheel ever seen in Africa is here!