2014 Convention



Thursday, November 18, 2010


Struppi Hanneford with Mr & Mrs Bill Prickett

The annual banquet of the Byrd Family Tent, CFA, was held 11-11-10 at Bennington's Restaurant in Springfield, Il.

Eleven members were in attendance.

Rick Purdue was elected Pres, Mike Sorrill- Vice President, and Charlie Bellatti- Secretary. Struppi Hannerford was the guest speaker and gave a most interesting talk on her adventures during her life. She answered many question from the audience and posed for pictures.

She told the group that the Royal Hannerford Circus could not get into the Convention Center in Springfield until 4am Fri. morning to start set up, due to a different entertainment show play now.

She had driven 1200 miles in two days to make the banquet and the circus date.

They had one show Fri., three Sat., and two Sunday.

She reviewed the acts that would be appearing and invited us all to attend one or more of the performances, which we all did.

Bill Prickett reporting.


Charlie Bellatti, Dave Williams, Bill Prickett & Struppi Hanneford
Nancy Prickett, Charlie Belletti & Struppi Hanneford

Billy & Angela Martin with Bill Prickett

Vincenta Pages White Tiger

Davide Zoppe's Rig

Mrs Zoppe & Mrs Prickett
'Flash opera' at Macy's
A flash mob hit Macy's in Center City in Philadelphia on Saturday - 650 vocalists who, unknown to shoppers, had arranged to burst into song at noon.


From Shane Hansen:

Thina Hansen 1941-2010

Thina was a wonderful wife, mother, friend, and performershe will be dearly missed but never forgotten, she is survivedby her husband John, children Shane and Diana, and grandchildrenJ.R., Michael, Olivia, Madison, and Ella
A memorial service will be held at Showfolks in Sarasota Dec. 5th at 4pm everyone is invited
Visit CircuSpace at:


Donate food items, get circus tickets to ‘Fully Charged’
by matt palm on November, 16 2010
You could get free tickets to the circus on Thursday morning —
all it takes is a show of generosity to those less fortunate as the holiday season begins. Perhaps it could be a lesson in giving for the little ones who will later enjoy the circus.
Here are the details on the Ringling Bros./Barnum & Bailey food drive:
As Thanksgiving and the holiday season approach, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is again collecting food to help stock Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida (SHFBCF)’s pantry shelves. During this difficult economy and as the holidays approach, the agency’s need for food donations is increasing.
For one day only, this Thursday, Nov. 18, between 7 and 9 a.m., Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is offering Central Florida consumers the opportunity to energize their community and donate nonperishable, unexpired food items in exchange for ticket vouchers to Fully Charged, the all-new 141st edition of “The Greatest Show On Earth.”
Last year’s food drive generated elephant-sized results. In only two hours, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® collected 5,901 pounds (nearly three tons) of food — equating to approximately 4,000 meals to feed the needy in Central Florida. Hundreds of Central Floridians participated — from dads in gym shorts to moms in PJs to young professionals on their way to work.
Festival's 1st flick focuses on circus
Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010
Free Modern Film Fest series will start Nov. 19
By Lukas Johnson
A free monthly independent film series is coming to the Cabarrus Arts Council's Davis Theatre.
Michael Knox, 36, is the co-founder of Modern Film Fest and an Asheville-based filmmaker. He and co-founder Ben McNeely from Concord are partnering with the council after Knox and McNeely's nonprofit hosted a three-day film festival in 2009 at the Gem Theatre in Kannapolis.
Knox's film, "Tearing Down the Tent," a documentary about traveling with a circus, will kick off the series at 9 p.m. Nov. 19 in the Cabarrus County historic courthouse at 65 Union St. S. in Concord. Knox, who spent part of his childhood with the Cole Brothers Circus, will talk about the film and answer questions that night as well.
The screening also will be a part of the city of Concord's Christmas tree-lighting activities and an art walk.
The events will begin at 5:30 p.m.; fireworks will be at 7:30 p.m.
"Tearing Down the Tent" depicts a snapshot of life with a circus, following Jamie Reel as he helps with the camels, rides an elephant and works as a clown for a week in Wilmington.Read more:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010




Parachute stunt launches Nitro Circus
READY TO ROLL: Mark Horning prepares to land in a wheelchair after skydiving from a plane at Matamata Aerodrome. Matamata.Parachute stunt launches Nitro Circus
NIKKI PRESTON - Waikato Times

Parachutes were joined by a tricycle, BMX bike, body board, skis and a pogo stick as members of international dare devil act Nitro Circus hurled themselves out of a plane above Matamata today.
Wearing a snorkel mask and flippers Canadian dare devil and motorcross rider Jolene Van Vugt dropped from one of two planes along with her American co-star Erik Roner on a kid's tricycle.
The impressive stunt marked the launch of ticket sales for Nitro Circus Live's first New Zealand tour. Shows will be held in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin in February.
The stars were joined by a crew of eight including FMX champs Steve McCann, Cam 'Sincs' Sinclair and 16 times X Games winner Travis Pastrana all on wacky contraptions.
The live show will star all the performers from MTV's Nitro Circus and promises to be an action filled show with theatrics and stunts staged around the 50 foot high Nitro Gigant-A-Ramp.


Dennis Gilley sent me these in an e-mail yesterday.
Said he was going through some old photos and found these.
They were taken in 1959!
This was Brother Bill's favorite project.
What memories these bring back!
It was put together down in the basement of our home
on Locust St, in Salisbury, MD.

And here's the two producers!
We were 16 years old and proud as peacocks of our little circus.
In fact this picture was taken at an elementary school where we
had our first appearance.
That's Bill on the left and me on the right.
Community Kids Awarded For Service At The Circus

Credit: Photos courtesy of Claire Redding.
Talent in and out of the ring: Local children doing good in the community were given The Barnum Award on Saturday, Nov. 13 at The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Fort Wayne.
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Under the bigtop, the circus ring is not the only place where talent shines. At Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's Circus Saturday night, it was a few talented kids in the crowd who were recognized.
The Barnum Award is a national prize given by the circus operation to honor P.T. Barnum and his contributions to society. Children who are making a difference in the community were recognized before last night's circus performance at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne and included recipients from Fort Wayne, Auburn and Leo.
Winners of The Barnum Award were chosen by a panel of distinguished local luminaries from a pool of nominees and received medals and grants to fund future service projects.

The Gold Barnum Award winner, Madeline Cumbey, of Fort Wayne, received a $1,000 grant. In order to address the problem of childhood obesity and kids health, Madeline started an after school club for 30 kids called the SMART2BFIT club. She taught other students about nutrition, physical activity and hydration. Madeline also started a school garden where students were able to stay physically active and take home nutritious foods.
The Sliver Barnum Award winner, Gavin Winebrenner, of Auburn, received a $750 dollar grant. Since being diagnosed at age seven with Lymphocyte Predominant Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Gavin and his family have worked hard to raise money for the The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. He has now spent more than 15 months in remission, but is still working tirelessly to support this worthy cause alongside his brother and sister.
The Bronze Barnum Award winner, Taylor Mandis, of Leo, received a $500 dollar grant. Taylor has been volunteering her time as a junior leader at a horse ranch where she takes care of ranch chores and assists in giving young children a safe riding experience while at the ranch. She cleans stalls, feeds the horses and is willing to help with whatever needs to be done. She has also worked hard to raise donations and grants for the ranch.
The Barnum Award makes its debut as the nation's leadership asks people to identify needs in their community and engage in meaningful service to create change. The Barnum Award is designed to reward children, ages six to 14, who have created social good and community through their own inventive and pioneering actions.

Community Kids Awarded For Service At The CircusBy Valerie Caviglia

Jack Hoxie performed on screen, in circus
By David Maurer Published: November 15, 2010

One can imagine the excitement in the voices of Charlottesville school boys as they helped spread the news.
Jack Hoxie is coming to town, no fooling, they might have said with breathless excitement. And hes bringing Scout and Golden Stallion with him.
The latter reference was to the trick horses the famous cowboy had trained and rode in many films. Those two mounts, as well as two others named Fender and Dynamite were nearly as well known as the matinee idol.
These days the name Jack Hoxie will likely elicit little more than a blank stare from most folks. But back in April 1934, when circus flyers were being tacked up all around town announcing his impending arrival, it was a different story.
Although Hoxies film career was over by then, neither he nor his countless fans were aware of it. He thought he was simply taking a break from the picture-making routine, and going back to his performance roots.
Hoxie was coming to town as the reigning star of the Downie Brothers Circus. His name alone would ensure a good attendance for his scheduled two appearances.
The handsome cowboy with the cleft chin and piercing eyes was born John Hartford Hoxie, Jan. 11, 1885, in Kingfisher Creek, Okla. His father, a veterinarian, had been killed in a horse accident just weeks before his birth.
Hoxies mother was half Nez Perce Indian, and the strong Indian features he got from her would help him land his first movie role. Soon after giving birth, the young widow left for northern Idaho to find a new life for her and her son.
This was cattle country and Hoxie went to work as a cowboy and ranch hand as soon as he found someone willing to hire him. He had a special talent for training horses as well as the necessary patience.
Like many cowpokes of that era he supplemented his income by competing in rodeos. He also did some trick riding, which in 1909 caught the eye of Dick Stanley.
Stanley was part owner of a wild west show. He offered Hoxie a job as a trick rider, and the young cowboy took him up on it.
Hoxie loved performing with his horses and stayed with the show for four years. He would have likely stayed longer if a Hollywood scout hadnt noticed him in 1913.Years before A decade earlier a 12-minute film titled, The Great Train Robbery, had established a milestone in cinematic history. Almost single-handedly that film introduced an entirely new form of entertainment to the American public a movie genre that became known as the Western.
By 1913, the shoot em ups had proven they could consistently generate box office gold. Hollywood was churning them out nearly as fast as cameras could film them, and handsome cowboys with riding skills were in demand.
Hoxies first role was as Big Eagle in the 1913 Western short titled, The Tragedy of Big Eagle Mine. In this film, and all those that followed up until 1919, he was billed as Hart Hoxie.
These were silent films so the emphasis was on action, and plenty of it.Hoxie was one of the finest horsemen to ever appear in films, and during the silent era, this easily overcame any shortcomings he may have had as an actor.
Even during these formative years when actors and filmmakers were learning their craft largely through trial and error, Hoxie instinctively realized something important. He knew that many of the kids watching him perform on the silver screen would see him as a role model, and he took that responsibility very seriously.In his films In all his films some accounts put the number as high as 1,200 hes portrayed as a good, honest man. And its been reported that he is never seen taking a drink of liquor or smoking a cigarette in a film, although one of his publicity photographs shows him preparing to roll one up.
By 1919 when the movie posters started billing him as Jack Hoxie, his flower of fame was ready to bloom. During the Roaring 20s his popularity earned him equal status with the great Western stars of the day such as Hoot Gibson, Tom Mix and Buck Jones.
In 1923 Universal Pictures inked a contract with Hoxie, and this led to his starring in major motion pictures. In 1926 he landed what he considered his best role, portraying Buffalo Bill Cody in the film The Last Frontier.
Although Hoxie couldnt have known it at the time, the last chapter of his film career would soon be playing out as well.
Next: Into the sunset.
From: The Charlottesville, VA Daily Progress

Zoo’s lone elephant will leave
The zoo will find a new home for Shenga.

Monday November 15, 2010
This spring, the Henry Doorly Zoo will be without an elephant exhibit for the first time in more than 40 years.The zoo is in the process of finding a new home for Shenga, the 28-year-old African elephant who lives on Pachyderm Hill. The move was precipitated by the death of 47-year-old Maliaka on Oct. 16, which left Shenga alone.
The elephant exhibit, which was created on the baseball field of the old Riverview Park in 1968, is out of date, said Dennis Pate, zoo director and CEO. And elephants need to be in a social setting with other elephants.
Shenga came to the zoo in 2001, to be company for Maliaka after the death of 50-year-old Penny.
The zoo’s master plan calls for a new elephant exhibit in the proposed African Grasslands exhibit. It will have eight times the outdoor exhibit space of the current exhibit, and will be built on grass and sand rather than concrete. The indoor winter space will be 18 times larger, and its floor will be covered with deep sand.
But most importantly, there will be a herd of elephants, and they will stay together day and night all year long.
Deciding which Association of Zoos and Aquariums member institution Shenga will be sent to won’t be made lightly. The decision will be based on what will be best for Shenga.
Communication with some of the zoos looking for elephants has begun. Those zoos also want to make sure Shenga will be a good fit in their elephant exhibits.
Elephant managers from potential zoo homes will visit Omaha, and Shenga is expected to be moved by spring.
Shenga will be on loan to whichever facility is chosen, so that the Henry Doorly Zoo “keeps its card in the game” with elephants, Pate said. Whether she becomes a part of the proposed African Grasslands exhibit will depend on how she adapts to her new life.
If she becomes an integral part of an elephant family, she probably will stay at her new home, he said. “We won’t want to take her away from that.”
But if she hangs on the fringes of the herd, she may return to Omaha, he said.
Pate said the zoo already is considering what to do with the elephant exhibit space on Pachyderm Hill. The white rhinos will stay there, although they won’t have to share the indoor space.
Once Shenga leaves, the rhinos will have the entire building.
Fundraising for the new zoo entrance and aquarium updates is nearly completed, Pate said. He hopes that project will be finished next year. Next up in the master plan? Fundraising for the first animal project, the African Grasslands.
“We want people to know that we’re going to find her a good home, that we’re not going to keep her here,” Pate said of Shenga. “In the meantime, we’ll spoil her.”
Iowa fair's ads pay off

Despite the Omaha-area influx at the Iowa State Fair this year, overall attendance was down — not reaching the 1 million mark for the first time since 2001. The company that conducted the survey does not have 2009 Omaha-area attendance figures.THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Deep-fried Twinkies, live animal births and family fun in the Iowa sun are apparently strong draws to people in the Omaha area.The Iowa State Fair estimates that it drew nearly 150,000 visitors from the Omaha area to its 2010 fair. That would be about 15 percent of the 967,381 who attended the fair during its 11-day run in August.
That means the advertisements for the fair seen and heard all over Omaha this summer probably will return next year.
Iowa fair officials saw a prime opportunity to lure eastern Nebraskans to Des Moines this year with the move of the Nebraska State Fair to Grand Island. The Nebraska fair relocated there after more than 100 years in Lincoln.
The Iowa State Fair ran advertisements in The World-Herald, on billboards and on metro-area television and radio stations.
The result? An online survey commissioned by the fair indicated that 17 percent of those living in the Omaha area attended the Iowa State Fair. Residents were surveyed in eight counties — five in eastern Nebraska and three in western Iowa.
“The research that we received certainly validated the advertising we were doing,” said Lori Chappell, marketing director for the fair. “We hope to continue to attract fairgoers from the Omaha market for years to come.”
Despite the Omaha-area influx, overall fair attendance was down — not reaching the 1 million mark for the first time since 2001. The survey company does not have 2009 Omaha-area attendance figures.Chappell stressed that Iowa fair officials are not trying to draw people away from the Nebraska State Fair. They hope many from eastern Nebraska will attend both fairs. Grand Island and Des Moines are about the same distance from Omaha.
“They had a fantastic year,” Chappell said. “So it was a win-win all around.”read more at:

Sunday, November 14, 2010



Death-defying show at Global Village

Perched over 60 feet above the crowd’s heads, a thin stretched of cable is the aerial highway of John and Alexandra Nock known as the seventh generation SkyKings balancing motorcycle rides and performing death defying ‘thrill shows’ that leave everyone on the ground breathless for a moment.
They could fall any moment off a wrong manoeuvre, but they continue to amaze the spectators from all ages in different countries across the world.
To them the risk fades in the laughters and the hand clapping of approval from the audience as they perform together the Skycycle Highwire Show.
Visiting Dubai for the first time to perform three times daily until December 11 at the Global Village, John and Alexandra have started training gymnastics and simple stunts at an early age.
They have three children - Andrew, 14, Thomas, 8 and Patrick, 7 - who are studying to be professionals one day. But, the Nock couple is open to possibilities that their three sons may decide to take the same death defying aerial shows with them in the future.
John told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview that his father trained him as early as two years old in gymnastics, circus skills and stunts until at nine when he started joining his dad as a professional highwire performer.
“Dad just told me one day, John your time has come to perform with me. That is it. Until now, the Nock family, has continued to wow the world for its straight seven generations of ?performers.”
The Nock family hailed in Switzerland until 1950 when it travelled to the USA and made it its home.
Alexandra, John’s wife, also belonged to a skycycle highwire performer whose parents trained her at six years old. She and John are training their children now on basic circus skills, balancing and gymnastics after their classes in preparation for future performance on mid-air.
Alexandra told Khaleej Times that they feel fulfilled every time they see the crowd looking at them in awe or simply smiling and clapping their hands for approval of what they are ?doing on air.
“I love performing here in Dubai because people are friendly and they really crowd us after our performance to greet us. The weather is also perfect.”
John and Alexandra are safety conscious, putting their security in air first before anything else.
Since joining their families in the risk of performing space wheel and riding together in a motorcycle and doing balancing and stunts while on mid-air, they have not met with any ?accident at all. “We make sure the weather condition is perfect. Windy and humid atmosphere are the only things we should pay attention to before performing. In Toronto, Canada, we delayed our performance for two hours last year because it was windy and the cable could swing as we performed. In India, we cancelled our performance in June this year for a day due to an extremely humid condition. It was too wet that could hamper our success.”
The long years of experience in thrill shows have embedded in them the wisdom and understanding of nature’s favourable or unfavourable effects on their shows that they have become very successful skycycle highwire performers. Time magazine called them the ‘True ambassadors of entertainment’.
(Khaleej Times)


Franceska, Bill Prickett & Tommy Liebel

Clinton, IA, 07/07/96

Franceska, Tommy & Toni Liebel


ARCOLA, IL 08/01/96

Clinton Iowa--1996

Tommy Liebel--"One Man Band"


Franceska & Katalina (11 mos) Liebel

Everyone pitches in!

Clinton, IA 1996

Elephand & Animal Trailer

Clinton, Iowa, 1996

Bill Prickett, guest Ringmaster

Arcola, IL, 08/01/1996


Dropping the Balls

TWIN THREAT Marty, left, and Jake LaSalle in the Big Apple Circus in 2008.

Published: November 12, 2010

THE cast of the Big Apple Circus burst into the tent for the show’s opening number, clad in confetti-bright colors. The big band’s trumpets shrilled, and the performers separated by gender into Sharks- and Jets-style packs, snapping and dancing.

A young man in a red T-shirt with a yellow musical note on the chest to match his blond curls stepped into the center of the ring. A spotlight hit on the bandstand, and suddenly there was another young man in a red T-shirt with a yellow musical note on the chest to match his blond curls, 15 feet up on a balustrade. Children in the stands gasped: “There are two!”

Then, a moment later, the one on the balustrade flipped off his perch onto a springboard and somersaulted midair to meet the other, in center ring, face to face. Martin and Jacob LaSalle, identical twin brothers, pantomimed palm to palm, mirroring each other’s movements. They never stopped smiling.

As children, the boys loved gymnastics. But Jake said, “I can’t remember a time when I couldn’t juggle.”

Halfway through the show, the brothers returned to center ring, transforming it into a whirling, hyperkinetic flurry of juggling pins and flashing grins. The LaSalles, then 24, bounded across the tent with the giddy spring of schoolchildren let out for recess. Seven clubs flipping between them in the lime-lighted dark became eight, then nine, without either twin ever losing a beat or breaking a sweat.

Blink, and Jake, younger by a moment, was suddenly 12 feet tall, standing on Marty’s broad shoulders, the pins still circling about the pair like a flock of seabirds. Blink again, and Jake swan-dived off his brother’s shoulders and tumbled like a ninja before chucking the last pin. It trailed a faint, white blur in an arc through the dark, home to Marty’s broad palm, completing another flawless performance.

The brothers bowed, still in unison.

The scene that unfolded that snowy afternoon in Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center nearly two years ago was repeated daily throughout the LaSalles’ debut in the Big Apple’s 2008-9 season, and is captured in the six-part PBS documentary “Circus,” currently running on Channel 13. But these days, the small screen is the only place to catch their act: The brothers, who started pairs juggling at age 11, won their sport’s top medals, performed at National Basketball Association halftime shows, backed up Britney Spears and strutted their stuff in front of tens of millions of viewers at the 2009 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, no longer appear together.

read more at: