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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus is 'Built To Amaze!' with help from ringmaster Andre McClain and Kim Anthony (Kip) Jones
McClain and Jones are just two of the diverse, highly anticipated attractions at the 143rd edition of the circus, which has been dubbed 'Built To Amaze!'


Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus comes to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center March 20 and plays through April 1.
from: nydailynews.com
By Jared Mccallister / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
February 6, 2013
Andre McClain, who comes from the big skies of Kansas City, and Kim Anthony (Kip) Jones, who hails from the big city of New York, have a lot in common.
 Both were born to perform, and they entertain 48 weeks a year as stars of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus.
 McClain, the circus ringmaster, and Jones, leader of the amazing King Charles Troupe of unicyclists, are just two of the diverse, highly anticipated attractions at the 143rd edition of the circus, which has been dubbed “Built To Amaze!”
 The massive traveling company of extraordinary performers comes to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center March 20 and plays through April 1.
 With his booming voice and robust personality, McClain seems destined to open one of the biggest shows on the planet.
He’s a Western-style Renaissance man – a vocal music major who later he earned a degree in business management. And he  has  used his creativity and drive to get to the top of the big top.
 “I’m still in awe!” exclaimed McClain, who is Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s first African-American ringmaster. But another circus landmark also makes him exceedingly proud. McClain says he’s the first equestrian-based ringmaster at the circus in 100 years.
 “All ringmasters used to have equestrian training, but the equestrian got lost somewhere,” he said.
 McClain, who says, “I’ve been riding horses since I came out of my mom,” came to the circus in 2002 when he was doing research on how to do cowboy stunts – like popping targets and trick roping – while on stilts!
 
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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Photos
Andre McClain is the ringmaster of the circus.

After a stint shoveling elephant poop and performing other duties, McClain auditioned for Ringling Bros. producer Kenneth Feld and landed a position as the host of the 133rd Edition’s “Three Ring Adventure,” which ultimately led to the ringmaster job for the big show.
 For Jones, leader of the circus’ King Charles Troupe, his affair with unicycles began with love at first sight when he saw the ensemble in action. King Charles Troupe plays “high-energy basketball on unicycles in a ‘Razzle Dazzle’ style,” according to the Bronx-based group’s website.
 “Fate took its path, and I’m here,” said Jones, who tagged along with a friend attending an audition for the troupe and has been riding unicycles ever since.
 Jones’ gymnastic background helped bolster his ability to play fast-paced basketball while riding a unicycle. “It’s our fountain of youth,” said the 46-year-old, who comes from the Bronx. Jones first practiced riding in narrow building hallways before he quickly perfected his balance. As with bicycle riding, he said, “The balance concept is still there, but some are just born to it.”
 “My daughter doesn’t comprehend how I still do it at this age,” added Jones, who wants to do a basketball-dunking competition for unicyclists.
 The King Charles Troupe, founded by Jerry King in 1958, and featuring his son Charles, is still a family affair. King’s brother, Winston, runs the business today.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ringmaster-new-yorker-ringling-bros-circus-soar-article-1.1256761#ixzz2KEMMtheH

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