Life is a circus for this circus family
Vicki Zsilak works with her animals in the curcus ring.
By Bridget Winston
March 26, 2014
Vicki Zsilak considers the circus a family affair.
Her grandparents were world-class circus jugglers and performed together in a slack wire act.
Her parents, who met while on tour with Ringling Bros. in the 1960s, were also skilled jugglers.
Zsilak, after attending an arts school in Hungary, met her own husband, Alex Petrov, in the circus. She was performing with a horseback juggling troupe and he was helping to care for the animals.
Today, Zsilak and her husband have two children – a 16-year-old son and a 9-year-old daughter – who travel with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, learning from the jugglers, dancers and acrobats, while studying under a tutor.
Zsilak currently works as an exotic animal trainer, and she considers the creatures under her care part of the family, as well. In the current tour, coming to the Colonial Life Arena this week, Zsilak is working with llamas, donkeys, goats, ponies and kangaroos.
“I joined Ringling Bros. 14 years ago (as a horseback juggler). With the horses, I always had a connection,” she said. “I love the animals.”
With a long history of traveling with the circus, Zsilak is no stranger to animal rights’ protesters who demonstrate when the circus comes to town. But she says Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey provide world-class treatment of the animals, including quality food, regular exercise and on-site veterinarian care.
“We are day-in and day-out with the animals,” she said. “We spend so much time with the animals, they become your family.”
The current tour is called “Legends,” and features a unicorn, Pegasus, and wooly mammoth, in addition to the clowns, lions and tigers, trapeze artists, horseback riders and bike riders.
Circus festivities kick off on Wednesday with the elephant walk. The timing of the elephant walk is not determined until the day of the event.
Performances are Thursday at 7 p.m.; Friday at 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.; Saturday at 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 1:30 and 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the Colonial Life Arena box office or Play It Again Sports on Harbison Blvd., at www.LMCtix.com, or by calling 1-855-4-LMC-TIX (1-855-456-2849). Ticket prices are $17-62.
Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2014/03/26/3348487/life-is-a-circus-for-this-circus.html#storylink=cpy