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Friday, April 5, 2013

BILLINGS

The Al Bedoo Shrine Circus returns to Billings

 
BOB ZELLAR/Gazette Staff
Kids of all ages enjoy the Shrine Circus on Wednesday.

from: billingsgazette.com
By CARMEN DAYE IRISH
April 4, 2013
Habib Omar spread a square bale of hay inside the Al Bedoo Shrine’s barn, where his three Asian elephants have called home for the past few days. The feed served as a reward during an intermission for the circus performers while their mobile stage was being set up inside the Shrine Temple, where some 800 people awaited.
 His wife, Mychelle Omar, also a circus performer, was inside their fifth-wheel camper, parked about 10 yards away, changing into her costume. Their trailer is one of about 25 parked in the Shrine’s lot.
 Just 15 minutes remained until showtime, when the Omars and their elephants would perform the headlining act of the 62nd Al Bedoo Shrine Circus, presented by the Jordan World Circus. The show was one of 11 showings planned through Sunday.
 The duo, both fifth-generation circus performers, speak four languages and have traveled throughout North America and South America most of their lives.
 It’s not a life for everyone, said Habib Omar, 39, but those born into the circus can’t imagine doing anything else.
 “Circus is a way of life for most of us,” Omar said. “Because we were born into it, we don’t really know anything different.” He was born on the road and has been performing in the circus since the age of 5.
 The Omars and their elephants are just one of the many attractions of the Shrine Circus.
 foto BOB ZELLAR/Gazette Staff
Adam Burke hugs one of his tigers at the Shrine Circus on Wednesday.
The North American traveling circus, with a home base in Las Vegas, features a variety of performers, many of them, like the Omars, traveling as couples and families. For most, their skills have been passed down to them from generations of family circus entertainers.
 “For us, our hometown is all of these trailers,” Omar said. “And Billings is like a vacation because we will be here a total of five days — the longest we ever stay in one place.”
Read more: http://billingsgazette.com/news/local/the-al-bedoo-shrine-circus-returns-to-billings/article_8958f2b0-21a2-5b58-ae83-f6bc17a87d3e.html#ixzz2PbiqUFVi

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