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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

ALTOONA MIRROR---

City man who ran away as teen returns with circus


The Amazing Sadrak, a contortionist, performs in the first show of the Royal Hanneford Circus on Monday at the Jaffa Shrine Center.
from;  The Altoona Mirror
By Kelly Cernetich
April 16, 2013
Thirty years ago, an Altoona man ran away to join the circus.
On Monday, he was back as the elephant trainer working with the massive animals in the Jaffa Shrine Circus in town all week.
Chip Arthurs was 15 when he left town for his big top dreams.
"I lied a little" to join underage, he said, but he only kept his cover for a short time until his family was informed of his whereabouts. Family life wasn't great, he said, but the prospect of working with animals "was exciting for me."

"For what it's worth," he said, "it's a success story."

Arthurs started off with tigers, eventually working with elephants. All of the 28 he owns are Asian elephants, despite performing to Toto's "Africa" as the circus' penultimate act. Most are in their early 40s or 50s.

Elephants can live 70 to 80 years, Arthurs said, so although he won't be acquiring any more elephants for performances, for both legal reasons and due to increased costs, they have many more years of entertainment left in them.

"But I don't know if I do," Arthurs laughed.

He said working with animals is very similar to the process he went through bonding with his fellow performers, learning that a relationship is strengthened with time and work.

Monday's show was the first time Arthurs performed in Altoona, despite joining the circus in 1983. He'd only returned for a few hours here and there to see family, he said, before this week.

As for his children, two sons ages 16 and 20, Arthurs said they, like many performers' children, could make it their lives' work if they wanted, but he's having them focus on school now.

It can be their dream or not, he said, but "it was my dream."
READ MORE:
http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/content.detail/id/570694/City-man-who-ran-away-as-teen-returns-with-circus.html?nav=742
 
 

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