Trainer Armando Loyal and the elephants took center stage near the end of the Kelly Miller Circus.
By Andy Harris
Aug 02, 2013
Hartville, Ohio —Big fun and big entertainment under the big top were the order of the day as the Kelly Miller Circus returned to Hartville Thursday.
The circus and its collection of colorful performers and animals performed two shows each on Thursday and Friday, drawing crowds of several hundred to a tent erected beside Hartville Hardware.
“This is no ordinary performance. This is a birthday celebration,” ringmaster John Moss III said, referring to the circus’ 75th anniversary.
Human and animal performers shared the ring for much of the evening, with Ryan Holder and the circus’ tigers opening the show inside a steel cage set up around the perimeter of the ring. Holder took the tigers through a performance that included jumps, perching on small stools around the edge of the ring and even dancing the Michael Jackson’s hit song “Billie Jean.”
The biggest act – literally – was the three elephants who put on a show under the direction of trainer Armando Royal. With riders in sequined outfits on their backs, the elephants perched on tiny stools, stood up on their hind legs and laid down for a quick nap on command before getting back to their show.
During intermission, the elephants were also available for free rides and a long line of those waiting to ride curled around the north side of the tent throughout much of the break.
Families came from as far away as Alabama for the show, with Dawn Benton and her children attending with their grandmother Ruth Sturgill and great-grandmother Ester Young, a Hartville resident who celebrated her 102nd birthday on July 17.
“We came up here to celebrate her birthday and the twins’ birthday as well, all the way from Alabama,” Benton said of Young and her children Matthew and McKenzie.
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