2014 Convention



Friday, May 9, 2014

Circus moves on, honors fallen acrobats
By Samantha Lavien
May 09, 2014

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Circus acrobat vows to return to big top after fall
Samantha Pitard was one of eight acrobats hanging by their hair as part of an act described as a 'human chandelier' when they suddenly plummeted to the ground. But Pitard said the accident won't stop her from returning to the circus.

Samantha Pitard (l.) poses for a photo with Andrey Medeiros. 
May 7, 2014
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — One of eight circus acrobats who plunged about 20 feet to the ground during a hair-hanging act witnessed by thousands says she’ll perform the stunt again.
“For me, you gotta get back up and do it again,” Samantha Pitard told The Associated Press after being released from a hospital Tuesday.
Pitard and seven other acrobats were in an act described as a “human chandelier,” hanging from an apparatus by their hair. They were injured during a Sunday performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus when a clip at the top of the chandelier-like apparatus snapped, dropping them to the ground.
The other women are still hospitalized and Pitard said she plans to stay in Providence to support her friends as they work to regain their health.

Samantha Pitard performs a heel hang from the lyra (aerial hoop) during the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Legends pre-show.
Then she’d like to return to the circus.
“I’m hoping to join back up with the tour and show the world that I’m OK, and I’m hoping some of the other girls will do the same,” she said.
Pitard, 23, a native of Champaign, Illinois, said she’s the only one of the troupe who can walk on her own. The others need assistance or haven’t tried to walk because they’re undergoing operations. But she said the others are expected to fully recover and are in good spirits after receiving an outpouring of support, including get well cards from children who witnessed the accident. About 3,900 people were in the audience.

Then she’d like to return to the circus.
“I’m hoping to join back up with the tour and show the world that I’m OK, and I’m hoping some of the other girls will do the same,” she said.
Pitard, 23, a native of Champaign, Illinois, said she’s the only one of the troupe who can walk on her own. The others need assistance or haven’t tried to walk because they’re undergoing operations. But she said the others are expected to fully recover and are in good spirits after receiving an outpouring of support, including get well cards from children who witnessed the accident. About 3,900 people were in the audience.
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Holding Grandaughter Sharon Hilton

LATE 60'S--EARLY  70'S

While injured acrobats recover, circus goes on

Photo By Rosa Viveiros/AP  In this photo provided by Rosa Viveiros, first responders work at the center ring after a platform collapsed during an aerial hair-hanging stunt at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, Sunday, May 4, 2014, in Providence, R.I. At least nine performers were seriously injured in the fall, including a dancer below, while an unknown number of others suffered minor injuries.
May 8, 2014
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus opened in Hartford on Thursday, four days after an acrobatic stunt went awry, injuring nine performers and abruptly halting the circus in Providence, Rhode Island.

While seven of the acrobats injured while performing in a hair-hanging stunt remain in the hospital, including at least two in serious condition, the circus was scheduled to perform eight shows in Hartford through Sunday.

"I'm pleased to report that our performers are continuing to improve," circus spokesman Stephen Payne said at a news conference Thursday.

The condition of two of the acrobats has been upgraded to fair and two others remain in serious condition. Three others have asked that their medical conditions not be made public. One of the injured acrobats was released from the hospital Tuesday

Federal health and safety inspectors and circus officials have not identified a "definitive cause" for the aerial accident that sent eight acrobats plummeting to the ground, Payne said. A clip at the top of the apparatus snapped, dropping the acrobats about 20 feet to the ground.

The "human chandelier" stunt, in which performers hang by their hair from a suspended apparatus, won't be performed in Hartford and will not be replaced "at this time," said Nicole Feld, executive vice president of Feld Entertainment.

"We'll look and see how the recovery process goes," she said.

As the circus officials spoke, lionesses, tigers and a leopard could be heard roaring and growling in an area behind a curtain.

A rehearsal will "smooth the transitions" between acts to make sure the show runs smoothly without the hair-hanging act, Feld said.

The medical team treating the acrobats said Wednesday that two have spinal cord injuries and it's not known if they'll walk again.

The performers are covered by Ringling Bros.' insurance and the circus and the Feld family are doing everything to make sure that performers are taken care of "and that their families are taken care of in this critical time for them," Payne said.

Asked if a net might be used in the future, Payne said that because the act went up and down, "We're not entirely sure a net would have really added any safety feature," he said.

Circus ringmaster Jonathan Lee Iverson said first responders in Providence "may have saved a life or two."

Payne said the margin for safety for the performance was satisfactory. "We feel that our safety standards are impeccable," he said.

 from Facebook

Carson and Barnes Circus returns to Monticello

May 7, 2014
For the first time in two years, the World’s Biggest Big Top Show, based in Hugo, OK, is returning to the San Juan County fairgrounds in Monticello.

The circus will present two shows on Saturday, May 17; the first at 2 p.m. and the second at 5 p.m.

The circus is brought to you by the San Juan County Chamber of Commerce, with proceeds going toward the Pioneer Day Celebration this July.

“This is the real deal, under a football field size big top tent,” said Bayley Hedglin, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce. “When you first arrive, you find a carnival-like atmosphere with carnival food like funnel cake, hot dogs, and cotton candy. 

“There are rides for small children and tents where you can pet various animals including llamas and a hippopotamus.  You can also feed them. 

“Of course there are a couple of attractions that you won’t want to miss, mainly either riding the camels, or my favorite, the elephants. The show will amaze you, consisting of trapeze artist, motorcycle high wire and so much more.”

General admission tickets can be purchased in advance from the San Juan County Chamber of Commerce and at their ticket outlets.

In Monticello, tickets can be purchased from the Monticello City Offices and The San Juan Record.

In Blanding, tickets are available at the San Juan Record office.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children. At the box office on Circus Day, they are $16 for adults and $10 for children. Infants under the age of 2 are free.

For four generations, the Carson and Barnes circus family has toured North America with the most traditional of American Big Top Circuses.

The Carson and Barnes Circus brings first class family entertainment to all parts of America-small towns to big cities, urban America and Native America, border to border and coast to coast.

Each year they search for the best acts from around the globe and present them along with their world famous animal acts to produce the World’s Biggest Big Top Show.

Read more: San Juan Record - Classifieds, Events, Businesses in Monticello, San Juan County, Utah - Carson and Barnes Circus returns to Monticello

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Circus Confidential: M'Toto the gorilla's Sarasota legacy
by Max Wintiz
May 5, 2014

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Animals have always played a big role in the circus; elephants, tigers, lions. But decades ago the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus wowed their crowds with gorillas.
One of those gorillas was known as M’Toto. She quickly became a household name in Sarasota, and her legacy lives on today.
There have been many famous gorillas throughout time; who could forget King Kong, the loveable Koko who understands sign language, the famous Phoenix Suns mascot, and even Donkey Kong.
M'Toto never reached that kind of popularity, but during the mid-20th century, the primate left a mark on the Ringling Circus and Sarasota.
“She was nice to have around. Just to know that you had a friend who was a gorilla and a lot of people enjoyed that,” says former clown Toby Ballentine.
M'Toto – Swahili for little child -- was brought to the Suncoast in the 1940's by A. Maria Hoyt. The arrival happened in a time many in the U.S. knew very little about gorillas, says Pamela Rosaire, a long-time circus primate trainer. “In those days, you didn’t see gorillas...even in zoos. They hardly had any in this country or anywhere else for that matter.”
The Ringling Circus quickly put M’Toto to work, pairing her with another well-known gorilla at the time: Gargantua. The two were supposed to mate, but it never happened. “They wanted her to be his bride in the circus. They dressed it all up like they were going to get married in the circus. They didn’t get along at all.”
When M'Toto wasnt performing in the circus, she spent her time here at a home on Virginia Drive in Sarasota; a very unique, very long structure.
Why a house like that? “On the circus train, she liked the train car, which was 80ft long. So in 1944, they built this house, and it’s 79 feet long,” says Ballentine.
He says M'Toto was practically human. “She was adopted as a human baby, and she wanted to wear pearls, and she brushed her teeth every day with a toothbrush and toothpaste in a sink.”
M'Toto's reputation began to grow in Sarasota. She would have a lounge named after her at the swanky John Ringling Hotel. But after years in the circus, she became sick and according to many died of a brain tumor in Venice in 1968.
The legend is that her body was buried at Sandy Lane pet kennels and cemetery. The rumor is M’Toto is buried somewhere back there, but the place has been abandoned for many years. There are 600-700 animals buried there, including that famous gorilla.
After walking through the brush, we find a plaque covered in dirt and weeds. It says M'Toto.
The house that M'Toto once lived in is in foreclosure. And if you're wondering, Gargantua died in 1949. Rather than being buried in Sarasota, his skeleton was donated in 1950 to the Peabody Museum at Yale University.

TOTO and friend
Circus-goers enjoy evening of high-flying thrills

Cortney Ofstad/Daily Globe
BOBO THE elephant steps off a large drum onto a platform during the annual Shrine Circus, while his trainer looks on Monday at the Pat O'Donnell Civic Center in Ironwood.
May 6, 2014 
IRONWOOD,MI - Hundreds of families made their way to the Pat O'Donnell Civic Center Monday for the annual Range Shrine Club 3-Ring Circus.

According to Ray Niemi, Range Shrine Club president and circus chairman, the event originally took place at Luther L. Wright High School in Ironwood, before moving to the civic center.

This year marks the 52nd annual Ahmed Shrine Circus with organizations across the country and Niemi said it's something kids look forward too all year long.

"It's an opportunity for the kids to see a circus, and see animals they may never see again," Niemi said.

In Ironwood, there were two shows on Monday, and kids 12 and under got in for free. According to Niemi, it "feels very good," to have the circus with no costs for kids.

Proceeds from the event benefit transportation costs for families who have children in the Shriners Hospitals for Children network. Niemi said families are reimbursed for gasoline or other means of travel and lodging is also paid for.

Once a child is accepted into the Shriners hospital, there is no cost to the family.

"Right now in the Upper Peninsula, there are about 360 kids that are part of the Shriners hospital system," Niemi said.

Before the start of the circus, Niemi thanked the audience for "helping these special children." After the opening ceremonies, attendees watched a lion and tiger trainer work with the big cats, trapeze artists fly through the air, an elephant stand on it's front legs, jugglers throwing a variety of items, motorcycles ride in a steel globe, horses prance and other performances.

Before the performances and during intermission, kids were given the chance to get their faces painted, ride ponies and even ride an elephant.

"These kids have so much fun," Niemi said. "Once those performers start walking down the ramp, those kids' eyes get real big and it's so exciting."

According to Niemi, the goal is to help kids in anyway.

"If anyone knows of a children who needs help, please call a Shrine member," Niemi said.

Injured circus acrobats improve

Nine performers were critically injured when a metal prop fell during a show in Providence, officials said.
from: boston
MAY 06, 2014
Eight female performers who were seriously injured in Rhode Island after falling about 20 feet during a circus act in which they were suspended aloft by their hair are improving, relatives said Tuesday.

“The girls are all OK, you know, and my daughter is OK,” said Roiter Neves, the father of Widny Neves, a 25-year-old aerial acrobat who was injured Sunday during the accident at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence.
Another performer, Stefany Neves, is struggling to recover, he said. “Stefany is the worst of all,” he said in a telephone interview.
Circus accident in Providence
Circus replacing equipment after aerialists’ plunge
Father of performer says he doesn’t blame circus
9 badly hurt in accident at Providence circus
Video of the accident (graphic footage)

Eliane Neves, the mother of the 19-year-old dancer, said she was the first girl to hit the ground, according to an interview published online by O Globo, a Brazilian newspaper based in Rio de Janeiro.

The account said Stefany fractured her heels, femur, and a rib, which pierced her liver and caused internal bleeding. She was listed in serious condition Tuesday afternoon, according to Rhode Island Hospital.

Also listed in serious condition were Dayana Costa, Julissa Segrera, and Viktoriya Medeiros, whose husband, Andrey, created the act.
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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus crew members loaded trucks with equipment on Monday, the day after nine people were injured during a performance by aerialists.

Circus Flora returning to Grand Center

For the Intelligencer
Andriy Bilobrov's Jack Russell Terriers are a featured act in Circus Flora.
May 5, 2014 
The beloved St. Louis institution, Circus Flora, powered by Ameren, returns for its 28th season to present "The Pawn," a chess game brought to life through the circus. The World Chess Hall of Fame and the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis partner with the circus to create a delightfully imaginative world under the big top next to Powell Hall, May 29 to June 22.
Every June, more than 30,000 audience members gather under the big top and leave behind the everyday, entering a place of intrigue and awe. Here the impossible is possible. Adults as well as children are enthralled by a performance that captures their imaginations and transports them to a bygone era. The Circus Flora experience is palpable: the audience is completely immersed in a spellbinding story that is woven through every detail, from performers to costumes to original music.

Drawing from the history of chess, this mythic tale is steeped in right sights, sounds and the mystique of ancient Persia and India. The audience will journey to an exotic world where myth and intellect collide, and the stone city surrenders to the desert's every shifting sands. Follow the Pawn through his journey through curious creatures and intrigues: knights on mounted steed, bishops zigzagging across colored squares, chess pieces flying through the air. In this world, the chess pieces do not wait to be moved. They have their own adventures to play out under the big top.
The tale is presented by a cast of hand-picked and internationally renowned circus artists. Making his debut under Circus Flora's big top, clown Andy Kuchler plays the Pawn, maneuvering through the enchanting world of the chess board, encountering friends and foes along the way. Kuchler will meet performers and characters such as an equestrian bareback rider, S. Caleb Carinci-Asch, as he balances fearlessly atop his galloping horse. From Finland and making their U.S. debut, Duo Kate and Pasi will captivate with hand-to-hand and foot juggling finesse. Andriy Bilobrov and his Jack Russell Terriers will show the audience man's best friends like never before. Claire Kuciejczyk-Kernan mesmerizes the crowd from above with daring swinging-trapesze performance. Also joining this year are six rare, blue-eyed pied camels from the Canary Islands. "The Pawn" will also feature celebrated Colombian flying trapeze artists, The Flying Cortes, who will introduce new twists, spins and summersaults as well as returning favorites The Flying Wallendas and local troupe, The St. Louis Arches.

Circus Flora presents a truly immersive experience unlike anything else in the country. As artistic director and producer David Balding explains, "Sometimes we need respite from our everyday realities. Circus Flora takes you out of the ordinary, and deep into a magical world. Once you enter the big top, you forget everything else."
Circus Flora will not only thrill its audience, but it will woo with a beautiful storyline, delight with its comedy and – like any good work of art – is is an experience that is impossible to forget.
Tickets are now on sale for Circus Flora’s 27th big-top production, "The Pawn," powered by Ameren. Call 314-289-4040 or visit for tickets. Tickets are also available at the Circus Flora Box Office at 3547 Olive Street in Grand Center.?
Tickets start at $12y. Group tickets are also available. The Pawn opens May 29 with a peanut-free preview and runs through June 22. Show times are Tuesday through Thursday at 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday at 1 and 7 p.m.; Sunday at 1 and 5:30 p.m.; and “Little Top Wednesday” at 10 a.m., a special one-hour show for younger kids or the “kids at heart.”
Founded in St. Louis in 1987, Circus Flora is a nonprofit performing arts organization dedicated to sharing the magic of classic, one-ring circus with audiences of all ages.
Circus Flora raises its big top every summer in the arts district at Grand Center.
Through its year-round Clowns on Call program, the healing power of Circus Flora brings laughter and respite to thousands of patients and their families every year at two St. Louis-area children's hospitals.

South Yorks: The circus is back in town

The Extreme Brothers are part of Billy Smart's Circus
May 4, 2014
Billy Smart’s famous circus returns to Sheffield’s Hillsborough Park this month.

And this years show hosted by Bully’s granddaughter Yasmine, features award-winning artistes from around the world combine in a fast-moving two-hour show that has something for all the family.

Artistes include the Flying Aces from Australia, five exciting youngsters on the flying trapeze and, for the first time in the UK, the 10-handed Assadulin Troupe from Russia, direct from Ringling, Barnum and Bailey Circus in the USA with their spectacular springboard and Russian bar acts

Also on the bill are aerial star Alina Eskina, who has just completed a three-year engagement in Indonesia at the country’s top casino, the Extremem Brothers, a trio of talented acrobats from Romania, and Italian clown, Jonny Bogino, another coming to the UK for the first time.

Added to that is is the Argentinian bolas drumming of Gabriel Carmona and partner to liven up the proceedings, together with the foot juggling skills of Frenchman Germaine Delboso.

A live band, the only one in a British touring circus complements the action.

The circus is at Hillsborough Park from Thursday 22nd May to Sunday, 1st June.

Show times are 7pm (22nd May), 4.45pm and 7pm (23rd May), 2pm, 4.45pm and 7.30pm (24th May), 12.30pm and 3.30pm (25th May, 26th May and 1st June), 2.30pm and 7pm (27th to 31st May).

Tickets are £12 to £28 for adults and £10 to £24 for children.
Brazilian-Born Circus Performer Is Brains Behind High-Wire Troupe That Fell

An aerial hair-hanging stunt at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, May 2, 2014, in Providence, R.I. (FRANK CAPRIO/AP)
from-Fox News Latino
May 05, 2014
The Medeiros Troupe, a high-flying and hair-hanging stunt in the Ringing Bro. and Barnum and Bailey Circus whose performers fell during Sunday’s show in Rhode Island – injuring eight – is the brainchild of Andrey Medeiros, a Brazilian-born aerialist from a family of circus performers.

The performance includes Medeiros’ wife, Viktoriya, who was one of the people hospitalized. The troupe has been performing the “Hair Hang” act for a few years now with only two performers, Viktoriya Medeiros and Widny Neves, who was also injured. But the novelty in “Legends,” this year’s show, was expanding the hair hang to include eight women.

“We love to make the impossible possible,” Andrey Medeiros said recently.

According to the Ringling Bros. website, it’s Andrey’s “attention to every detail, even welding the three different rigs that the girls hang from, that keeps his troupe safe and sound each and every time the act is presented.”

All the performers fell 25 to 40 feet to the ground, injuring three others in the process. Three of the performers, Dayana Costa, Julissa Segrera and Stefany Neves were still in critical condition on Monday morning at Rhode Island Hospital.

There were 3,900 people in the audience, many of them children.

Investigators looking into why circus acrobats plummeted to the ground during the stunt at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. have found that a clamp snapped, a public safety official said Monday.

The Providence Public Safety Commissioner, Steven Pare, told radio station WPRO-AM, “We have identified a clamp that snapped that held them to the rafters… It snapped off.”

Roman Garcia, general manager of the "Legends" show, told the Associated Press, that “Everybody’s doing fine, everybody’s at the hospital, everybody’s conscious, everybody’s doing pretty well.”

Andrey Medeiros, a fourth-generation circus performer, and Viktoriya, a former Bulgarian gymnast who switched to circus work, met while traveling together with the Cole Bros. Circus in the early 2000s. At the time, he was performing with a troupe he’d been a part of for 19 years. When the job was over, he had to “choose the job or choose the love,” he told the Dallas Morning News last year.

Their permanent home is in Florida, but as circus folk, they travel most of the year; they have an 8-year-old son, named Kristofer.

Apart from the “hairialist” act, Andrey used to ride a motorcycle on a wire 50 feet from the ground, but he fell a few years ago, according to the Dallas Morning News, and hurt himself seriously.

“The circus owners,” Andrey Medeiros told the Fort Myers, Fla., News-Press in 2004, “they want the best, so you have to keep going to that next level.”

Stamp of approval: Postal Service unveils circus series

Circus World Museum Executive Director Scott O'Donnell and Mayor Mike Palm unveil circus-themed stamps released Monday at Baraboo's post office.
Ben Bromley
May 5, 2014
Standing on the ground where the Ringlings first performed beneath a tent, Circus World Museum leaders and Baraboo’s postmaster unveiled Monday a series of stamps depicting vintage circus posters.

Dozens of circus fans gathered in the Baraboo post office’s parking lot to hear dignitaries hail the stamps and ringmaster Dave SaLoutos play a calliope. They lined up to buy the stamps and get a special postmark from “Circus World Station.”

“The circus always brought people together from all walks of life,” Postmaster Karen Caylor said.

The stamp series coincides with the 130th anniversary of the Ringling brothers’ shows. Their first performance under a tent – on May 19, 1884 — took place near the intersection of Broadway and Second Avenue, where the Post Office is today.

“Their accomplishments have become interwoven into the fabric of our community,” Mayor Mike Palm said.

The new stamps feature performers and animals from 20th century circus poster art. Scott O’Donnell, Circus World’s executive director, said posters were critical to promoting circus performances. The museum has 80,000 posters, the world’s largest collection of such lithographs.

“The circus invented what would become modern-day marketing,” he said.

The Ringlings Bros. Circus maintained a traveling post office that operated from one of its wagons. Monday’s event recalled those days, with Circus World staff doing business from a Cole Bros. circus ticket wagon.

Looking to capitalize on the U.S. Postal Service’s unveiling of the new stamps, Circus World worked with Caylor and regional postal officials to create a special cancellation that depicts a big top and a postmark from “Circus World Station.”


“This event was a lot of fun to create,” Caylor said.

Gaining fame via stamp is nothing new for one member of the Baraboo circus community. Greg DeSanto, a longtime Circus World clown who now runs the International Clown Hall of Fame, appeared on a 1993 stamp celebrating American circus heritage. “My stamp you had to actually lick: That’s how old I am,” DeSanto quipped. “I was only worth 29 cents.”

The stamps released Monday will be good forever. A limited supply of commemorative envelopes depicting the stamps will be available through Circus World’s website at or by calling (608) 356-8341.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Conditions upgraded for circus performers
Updated: May 06, 2014
Reported by Jonathan Hall - bio
Reported by Victoria Warren - bio


7News Boston WHDH-TV

Monday, May 5, 2014


Foto  from Facebook