2014 Convention



Friday, January 27, 2012


From Mike Naughton...

Sad news...

We regret to inform you of the death of Penny Wilson Rodriguez who died this evening after a very long illness. This information came from The Wilson Family.

Joanne Wilson's email is

The circus community will miss a very dear friend. Mike

From Bill Prickett...

LeBrone Harris (

has had multiple tests, and more to come, but Dr's still have not figured out what caused his blackout late last summer. His jaw has healed, permanent bridge is in, and hip and knees are in good shape. He is NOT in any pain.

Chuck Thorson (

had a heart attack 12-13-11, and had surgery to open up completely blocked main artery. He may have to have additional surgery to open up another partialy blocked artery.

Brian LaPalme joined Walker Bros Circus, 1-26-12, in Key West. He will be doing his dove magic and Ringmastering. Bill Prickett
New Mizpah Shrine Circus acts to fill Memorial ColiseumThey include a big cat act, Dobermans and flying ATVs.

The Freestyle Motor Show will perform high-flying feats on ATVs during the Mizpah Shrine Circus tonight through Sunday at Memorial Coliseum. (Courtesy photo)

from: Fort Wayne

By Kevin Kilbane of The News-Sentinel

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The rings will be filled with new thrills for circus-lovers young and old when the Mizpah Shrine Circus returns today through Sunday to Memorial Coliseum.
Along with updated shows involving circus favorites, such as the elephants and Arabian horses, this year's shows will feature several acts new to Fort Wayne, said Larry Solheim, general manager of TZ Productions, which operates the circus.

The Nexus Troupe will perform amazing stunts using a teeterboard during the Mizpah Shrine Circus at Memorial Coliseum. (Courtesy photo)

Some of the new performers include:
•Terranova Wild Animals, a big cat act
•Neecha's Amazing Dobermans dog act
•Tandazo Family High Wire act
•Nexus Troupe teeterboard acrobatics
•Freestyle Motor Show high-flying ATVs act
People also will see a new comedy bicycle act, as well as jugglers, Piolita the clown and other performers, Solheim said.
Circus-goers also may notice enhanced music and lighting as the circus makes greater use of new technology to compete with concerts and other major live events, Solheim said
“A Passion for Circus”

Jimmy Armstrong, a midget clown, stands with an unknown clown in front of the baggage wagons.


By Jeff Swartz Tiffany Hagler-Geard@THGEARD

Jan 25, 2012

As an avid circus goer, Sverre Braathen found an outlet to show off his hobby by photographing the Ringling Bros. circus throughout the Midwest in the 1940's-50's. He was born in Norway in 1895 and moved to the US in 1915 after finishing his studies. An attorney by day, Braathen was able to support his family, however he always made time in his busy schedule to follow his true passion; the circus. The people at the Milner Library at Illinois State University have put together an online archive, “A Passion for Circus,” of all his works. Here are a selection of the impressive Kodachrome slides produced by Mr. Braathen.

#2 The elephants, dressed with their purple blankets, get ready for a production number, August 18, 1945. The Ringling Brothers have seen issues arise over the years from PETA and other activists groups for the mistreatment of their animals. The elephants in particular.

#3 Emmett Kelly against a blue sky in August 18, 1945. He and Otto Griebling were the two best clowns the show ever had.

#4 One of the shows highlight acts was “Clown with a big rope and a small dog.” Seen here is clown Charles Bell with his small dog outside the tents.

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#5 The Sideshow banners line the midway. The acts of the Sideshow were used to draw crowds and featured human oddities, feats like fire eating and sword swallowing, and other unusually rare sights.

#6 Elena Gabriele, left, and Marion Seifert sitting on their horses, August 17, 1945. Gabriele’s former lover and ex-clown, Polidor, killed her with an axe some years later.

#7 A red cage gets pulled by two elephants, September 6, 1943.

#8 Natalia Tock, from Poland, wears her red Jungle Drums wardrobe as she heads to the tent, July 10, 1950. The circus is home to many immigrant families looking to get out of the hardships of their native lands.

#9 Sandy Marlowe holds a lion cub, August 30, 1952. She is the daughter of Ray and Theol Marlowe. Theol was a former Nelson Girl and the Nelson Troupe was one of the greatest risley acrobatic troupes of all time.

#10 Two girls in Changing of the Guard wardrobe and a clown. State Fair Park lot, August 17, 1945.

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#11 (left to right) Evelyn Kent, Margaret Smith, Laura May Petrillo, Brenda Gorring, Gladys Rimmer, aerial ballet wardrobe. All are from England except Laura May Petrillo. July 25, 1952

All Images Credit : Special Collections at Milner Library, Illinois State University


Uploaded by SuzanaLinharesTV on Jan 21, 2012
Circus in his blood

Lorenzo Pisoni recreates a pose from his childhood days with the Pickle Family Circus, an experience poignantly described in Humor Abuse at ACT. (Photo: Chris Bennion

by Richard Dodds

from: The Bay Area Reporter

Published 01/26/2012

Lorenzo Pisoni has a couple of confessions to make at the start of Humor Abuse. "I sweat a lot," says the performer, who soon confirms that statement. He also says, "I'm not funny." But that claim should be taken with a drop of salty sweat. Pisoni certainly knows how to be funny, which he proves over and over again at ACT, but he's not funny in the way that mirth flows instinctively from his pores whenever there is an audience at hand. His father had that jolly gene, putting it to use as a founder of the Pickle Family Circus, but it did not get passed on to Lorenzo.
It's almost as if Larry Pisoni created a son who had been genetically engineered to be his straight man. That's an odd situation for a 6-year-old to find himself in, a kid who began to realize that the joyous sound of children's laughter didn't often include his own. He was too busy learning how to fall down a flight of stairs. "Don't try to protect yourself," his father would admonish after a timid attempt at tumbling the treads. "Let gravity do its job." And it eventually does, as Pisoni later performs a sketch that requires repeated examples of thump-thump-thump downward locomotion.
Pisoni narrates his story of growing up in the circus, as well as relating his father's circuitous route into circusing, with samples of his father's act along with some new routines developed with director Erica Schmidt. Lorenzo was both straight man and stooge for his father's clowning, and he had to share trunk space with a puppet replica of himself that his father would carry onto the stage on his back. The shifting light flowing through the air holes drilled into the trunk was little Lorenzo's GPS system for where he was on stage.
As Pisoni describes the odd and outlandish world of his childhood, he punctuates his comments with assurances that these events really happened. Photos projected on the curtains continually verify his version of the events.
For Larry Pisoni, clowning was very serious business, and the father-son relationship was as professional as it was personal. But Papa Pisoni could also be a prankster targeting his own son, though the plastic banana he packed in Lorenzo's lunchbox everyday grew tired for Pisoni the younger. To get dessert, father made son play a game of can you top this double-take expression, and as Pisoni plays both parts, his face turns into an accelerating shuttle of ever-widening eyes. It's hilarious, again belying Pisoni's claim that he isn't funny.
As a trained actor, he plays the truth in the absurdity, and this is how he can generate his own laughs. His showmanship is in top form in a clown sketch in which his character, complete with flippers and diving mask, tries to climb a high-dive ladder for a jump into a small bucket of water. His increasingly dispirited preparations are a comic delight, even if Pisoni says he isn't funny.
Pisoni actually lasted longer with the Pickle Family Circus than did his father, but finally the teen opted for a sedentary life with mother Peggy Snider, and enrollment in a regular SF high school. There were more circus detours as he worked his way through Vassar, but most of his post-Pickle acting has been of the traditional sort.
Pisoni concludes the show by brilliantly recreating one of his father's balloon bits, and the audience happily tags along until an ill-fated denouement. It provides a bittersweet conclusion that had been set up earlier in the show, and the title Humor Abuse takes on even more levels of meaning. Don't worry, this is an engagingly humorous show, and the only abuse is a father who wants to pass the circus baton on much too quickly – like by a decade or so.Humor Abuse will run at ACT through Feb. 5. Tickets are $10-$85. Call 749-2228 or go to

Military Night At Circus

Photo by MCSA Damian Berg/Color guard from the tri-base area perform during the pre-show at the Ringling Brothers and Barmum and Bailey Circus military appreciation night. This is the first color guard performance out of a 90-city tour for the circus.

By MCSA Damian Berg


January 25, 2012

Navy Public Affairs Support Element East Detachment SoutheastJacksonville area service members and their families stepped under the big top for one of the” greatest show’s on earth” with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Jan. 21.“Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey military appreciation nights salute the troops and their families by providing reduced priced tickets for active duty, reserve and retired members,” said Chad Ballard, manager of Events marketing and sales domestic marketing with Feld Entertainment. “In-show tributes are our way of thanking them for their selfless service to America.”Before the show, the families headed down to the arena floor for some early entertainment and to meet some of the circus members. The children and their parents were met by clowns, acrobats and animals, tried on costumes and participated in some of the acts.Sailors, Marines and Coast Guard from the tri-base area rendered colors during the pre-show of the circus. Ballard said this is the first color guard to perform in their new show: Spirit of the Dragons. “Ringling Bros. opens every performance with the National Anthem. Traditionally, Color Guards render honors when the National Anthem is played or sung, hence, when available, we always try to incorporate this added measure of respect and tribute to our performance,” said Ballard.Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Heather Cowell from NS Mayport was a member of the Tri-base color guard and said she was honored to perform color guard duty.“It’s a huge honor. I got to be a part of the greatest show on earth,” said Cowell.Raven Jackson, 14-year-old daughter of Culinary Specialist 1st Class Terry Jackson, attended the performance with mother, and close friends was exited about this years theme.“I enjoyed the new theme this year because of the message it sent to me and other children,” said Raven. “To always have courage, heart, wisdom and strength.”This year’s theme engaged the audience in several scenarios to help “summon the dragon.”Other highlights included flying aerobatics; the history-making motocross bikes who ride eight-wide inside a 16-foot steel globe; horsemen performing amazing feats; contortionists; jugglers; strongmen and a unique group of acrobats jumping on trampolines. There were also the elephants, lions, tigers, horses and a feline and dog show.

Chinese State Circus TM present "Yin Yang"

The sensational new production "Yin Yang" from the incomparable Chinese State Circus TM - 200 years of Tradition explode in the World's greatest acrobatic circus!
The Chinese State Circus brings a taste of the orient


Circuses have undergone somewhat of a Renaissance in the last few years: from the days of clowns, fat ringmasters and sorry-looking animals they've evolved into something a great deal sleeker and cooler. And few have enjoyed as much success in the 21st century than the Chinese State Circus, which rolls into town this weekend.
Drawing on Chinese traditions going back 2,000 years, yet with a modern twist, the show looks set to be a sunburst of acrobatic skill, martial arts and physical theatre designed to engage all the senses.
Yin Yang is a new show for 2012 and, as well as showcasing the physical skill of the performers, includes contrasting acts such as parasol juggling and the aerial silks which, performed in stunning costume, celebrate the delicacy and beauty of Chinese culture and tradition as well as its power and strength.
Chinese State Circus, Cambridge Corn Exchange, January 28-29. Tickets start at £17. For more information and to book, contact (01223) 357851 /

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"The Swankiest Circus Party" is coming to town

January 24, 2012, Colombus, Ohio


#9 Camel Area

#10 Llama Area

#11 Bunk House

#12 Used Trailers acquired for future use.

#13 Entrance Road to D.R. Miller's house

#14 Jennifer Edgerton & Paul Duke (3-96)

#15 Norm Tourigny & Pail Duke (3-96)

#16 Grounds at house

#17 Kitchen in bunk house (3-96)


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Festival International du Cirque de Monte Carlo 2012

Les Elephants René Casselly

Uploaded by SuzanaLinharesTV on Jan 21, 2012

CFA TENT 122 SHOWFOLKS OF SARASOTA is hosting their annual big bash banquet. If you have space on your blog in the next few days, please post.TENT 122 Showfolks of Sarasota is the largest local group of Circus Fans of America, founded in 1926. Tent 122 is comprised of circus fans and circus professionals who love the circus business.





Hi, Dick,

This is my first attempt at putting anything on your Blog. Hope all goes well.Kay Bros. Cicus winterquatered here in Petersburg, Va., in the early 1930's. Also in Petersburg was where they trained Burt Lancaster to be a catcher on the week end before going on the road.Attached are two pictures of the Kay Bros. Circus.

International All Star Circus

2012 Manatee fair sets all-time attendance record

Children enjoy the rides at the Manatee County Fair, where warm temperatures and sunshine prevailed.


Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012

PALMETTO -- Do Manatee County residents love their warm weather or what?An all-time attendance record of 172,400 poured through the gates during the 11 days of the recently completed Manatee County Fair, motivated by some of the best January weather in memory, fair manager Dan West announced Monday.In the 96 years of the fair’s existence, the previous largest 11-day attendance was 155,000 in 2006, West added.“This year’s attendance was an 11 percent increase over our best ever year,” West said. “No one can ever remember the weather being so comfortable. It was impeccable. Everyone was in a festive mood here for two weeks, from volunteers to vendors to fairgoers.”The fair, which ran Jan. 12 through Sunday, had only one rainy afternoon, on Wednesday. But even that afternoon wasn’t cold and 1,100 were on hand for a Harry James Orchestra concert, West said. The largest-attended events included a concert by John Anderson and a concert featuring both Craig Campbell and Eden’s Edge, West said.

People in the stands cheer as teams compete Monday in the 17th annual High School Cheerleading Competition at the Manatee County Fair.
The 2012 fair set some other records.“I believe the 134 hogs we had this year is a record,” West said. “Another record was the 107 dairy animals we had in the barn.”Arts and Crafts also established a record for number of admissions, with more than 2,000.“We also had a larger number of rabbits and poultry than anyone can remember,” West added.Nick Baden, a long-time Manatee County resident, fair participant and volunteer, heaped praise on the 2012 Fair, calling it “the best ever” Monday.“The unique thing was the perfect weather, which we usually don’t have,” Baden said. “It was just perfect. It’s the best fair we have ever had.” Baden and West praised the hundreds of volunteers who make the fair click every year.“It’s truly a grass-roots event,” West said. “This is our community.”

Children enjoy the rides at the Manatee County Fair, where warm temperatures and sunshine prevailed.
Baden began entering county fairs in the 1940s, long before he graduated from Manatee High School in 1957. He made cedar chests, boats and other items.This year, besides being a volunteer in the arts and crafts building, he carved powder horns and won ribbons for them.“It’s not about the ribbons,” Baden said. “You enter because this is a showcase for the community and we are all part of the community.”Of course, like everyone else, Baden enjoys 11 days of fair food, for which most family physicians are willing to grant a pass.“My heaven is Susie Q’s Myakka Booth where I get swamp cabbage,” Baden said. “Swamp cabbage features the heart of the sabal palm, which is very good for you. Susie boils it cracker style, with pork and onions. Delicious.”Read more here:
Lancaster County Girl Crowned as 2012 Pennsylvania Fair Queen

Drew An Brubaker of Strasburg, Lancaster County was crowned 2012 Pennsylvania Fair Queen and Amanda Mitcheltree of New Castle, Lawrence County was named first runner-up by judges Dennis S. Hazzard of Harrington, Del., Dr. James Howe of Oley, Pa., and Becky Brashear of Frederick, Md., on Saturday, Jan. 21.
By Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Published: Monday, Jan. 23, 2012-

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 23, 2012 -- /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Drew An Brubaker of Lancaster has been crowned the 2012 Pennsylvania Fair Queen. She was crowned Jan. 21 at the annual joint convention of the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs and Pennsylvania State Showmen's Association.
"Pennsylvania fairs are a celebration of our state's rich agricultural heritage," said Agriculture Secretary George Greig. "The 57 contestants in this program are the faces of the fairs and are exceptional ambassadors for our industry."
Brubaker, daughter of Andrew and Pamela Brubaker, is a 17-year-old senior at Lampeter-Strasburg High School. She is involved in the National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Students, student tutoring, choir, swing dance club, school musicals and the school newspaper, among other activities. She works at Meck's Produce, is active in her church and enjoys reading and song-writing.
Brubaker, representing the West Lampeter Fair, received a $2,000 scholarship from the state fair association and was crowned by outgoing Pennsylvania Fair Queen Claire Werkiser of Chester County.
Each contestant prepared a brief speech highlighting the activities at her county or community fair. They also wrote an essay about the fair's personal significance in their life and local community. Each individual also gave a stage introduction during the fair convention annual banquet and interviewed with three judges.
The contestants are evaluated on their public speaking skills and knowledge of the agricultural industry, as well as on their poise and personal presentation in an evening gown competition.
Five finalists were chosen and gave an impromptu answer on the legacy they would like to leave at the end of their reign as fair queen. read more here:

Thrilling night out at the circus

Chinese State Circus in their new 2012 show Yin Yang

Published on Monday 23 January 2012

The incomparable Chinese State Circus proudly presents their UK premiere Yin Yang, visiting the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham on January 30 and 31.
The highly-awaited return of China’s greatest circus features the first UK appearance of the formidable Shaolin Warrior known only as “The One”, sourced specifically by director Phillip Gandey.
This unique extravaganza showcases only the best in entertainment. Witness acrobats defying gravity in an array of elaborate, explosive and highly choreographed presentations of power, poise and agility.
Yin Yang will not only keep the audience on the edge of their seats but show the more delicate and beautiful side of Chinese tradition with the silk aerial act, parasol juggling, eye catching Lion Dance and the amazing legendary Bicycle Act in which ten talented artistes manoeuvre onto a single bicycle.
Witness the unpredictable and exhilarating twists of foot juggling with drums, the famous Chinese poles, the sensational contortionist and the dynamic hoop divers with their amazing somersaults, leaps and jumps which all go towards completing this action packed programme.Every sensational act flows together without narrative and accompanied by a captivating and atmospheric all-girl group of live musicians.
Suitable for an audience of all ages, with evocative sets, soaring musical score and extravagant new costumes that will entertain the entire family long after the final curtain falls.
Don’t miss this stunning production that features the most daring, breathtaking and thrilling artistes to tour the UK.
Fun at the circus

Close encounter : The clowns with the ghost! Photo: R. Ravindran

by Madhumitha Srinivasan

Jan 23, 2012

The Great Bombay Circus is in town, again. The shows are entertaining as well as performances of skills.It's a world that many of you would have read about, dreamt of its grandeur and even fantasised about being a part of it. In the city many had the opportunity to witness its magic first-hand. The Great Bombay Circus!
Here's some history. It was Baburao Kadam who founded the Grand Bombay Circus in 1920 which was later renamed the Great Bombay Circus when K.M. Kunhikannan the artist and founder of the Whiteway and Hind Lion Circuses merged in 1947.
This circus has entertained many a big names like the King Mahendra of Nepal and his queen, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, former Tamil Nadu chief minister and actor M.G. Ramchandaran and more. The Great Bombay Circus has also been the setting for films like “Krish”, “Don” starring Amitabh Bachchan and was also recently seen in the film “7am Arivu” where actor Surya plays the role of a circus artist. In fact, the circus had a performance by a cycle artist who, it was announced, had trained Surya for his role.

The show kick-started with a trampoline act and was followed by juggling, a parade, acts on hoop-shaped swings suspended in the air, acrobatics by African artists, whip act by Russian artists, trapeze acts and many more.
No circus is complete without the clowns. They managed to tickle the funny bone every now and then with their goof-ups and tricks. The children in the audience were in awe of the daredevil stunts performed by the artists and laughed the hardest when the clown's pants came off mid air or when he was chased by a “ghost”.
According to their website, the circus now has around 300 employees including 30 male artists, 60 female artists, 40 administrative staff and 180 support staff. When you see them at work on stage and behind the scenes erecting the props and sets with clock-work precision, you realise there's more than just magic — it's more about hard work, team work and a passion for the circus.

Monday, January 23, 2012





#1 Sign on wagon at corner.

I visited Carson & Barnes Circus winterquarters in Hugo, Ok.

#2 Area to the sign wagon.

#3 Storage area at the same corner.

#4 Press Office

#5 Paint Shop

#6 Mechanic's Shop

#7 Horse Barn

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#8 Elephant Barn.

More Pictures comming in Part II