Circus wows crowds in Moses Lake
Event supports Shriners
Pam Robel/Columbia Basin Herald
An elephant and handler entertain kids with rides during an intermission at the Shriner's Circus in Moses Lake Saturday.
By Pam Robel,
Herald staff writer
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
MOSES LAKE WA - The colors of the big top beckoned circus-goers in Moses Lake during the weekend.
The 58th annual Shriners Circus entertained crowds during its first trip to Moses Lake.
"I tried last year to get the circus here," said Glenn Edgemon, El Katif Shrine circus chairman. "This year I just demanded we have it here."
Edgemon waded through the crowds during the weekend's six performances to welcome first-time circus attendees and pass on the goal of the Shriners.
According to the Shriners' website, the organization is, "a fraternity based on fun, fellowship and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, truth and relief" that is "serving mankind through the resources of its philanthropy, Shriners Hospitals for Children."
Edgemon said funds raised through the circus go to the Shriners' temple and then the temple uses those funds to support the hospital.
"We are known for the circus and it goes back years and years and years," Edgemon said. "I went to the Shriners Circus when I was younger."
Edgemon said organizers expected between 10,000 and 12,000 people to attend the show.
Brandee Guzman, of Moses Lake, along with her children, Amora, Breanna and Angelina, were at the circus to spend time together.
"I haven't been to the circus in Moses Lake but this isn't our first circus," Guzman said. "We saw (a circus) in Indiana."
Breanna Guzman, 9, said she was looking forward to seeing the circus' elephants.
"They're big and funny sometimes," she said.
Angelina Guzman, 6, was excited about the entire circus experience.
"I like all of them," she said.
Ringmaster Ted McRae did his best to pump up the crowd during the Saturday morning performance of the circus.
"This is a light crowd actually," McRae said. "We were packed last night and we expect a bigger crowd later today."
In addition to entertaining the crowd, McRae kept the show moving forward and announced performers as their acts began and concluded.
Among the acts McRae ushered in and out of the ring, were the horses and elephants trained and presented by Erika Zerbini.
McRae told the crowd Zerbini is a ninth-generation circus performer. According to information provided by the Shriners, Zerbini is also one of the youngest exotic animal trainers in the United States and one of a handful of female elephant trainers in the world.
Zerbini's performances stunned the audience with stark white Arabian horses turning on a dime to her verbal cues, an unusual partnership between a black and white draft and mini horse, and the prized elephants that closed out the show.
Kimberlee Smith, of Moses Lake, held her son, 2-year-old Eziekiel, for their first circus experience.
"I knew a little about the Shriners before we came," Kimberlee said. She called the event, "something to do" on a Saturday in Moses Lake.
"I want the elephants!" Eziekiel said.