Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Grinches Who Tried To Steal Christmas In July

Merry Christmas in July from Steve & Ryan! Nutty ol’ fruitcake Steve Copeland here to tell you all about that wonderful holiday that Circus World celebrated this past weekend: Christmas in July….it ranks up there with Kwanza in April and 4th of July in June.
Dave SaLoutos, everyone’s favorite jolly ol’ elf, decorated the entrance to the Feld building with Christmas trees, stockings, and wreaths to get our guests into the Christmas in July spirit. 

Our customers could also enter to win the world’s largest Christmas stocking, which was stuffed full of goodies.

In our big top show we had a special celebrity guest for Christmas in July: Santa Claus….in July! He made a couple of appearances throughout the circus performance, and joined us after finale to say goodbye to all the good boys and girls. Not the bad ones though, Ryan and I threw coal at them.

I wanted to share a funny story with all of you about last year’s Christmas in July celebration. Ryan and I did a gag in the big top show that involved me falling out of a metal folding chair over and over.

I can hear you laughing already. 

Anyway, I went through about ten chairs in the course of the summer, because after a week or two of abuse, the chair’s legs would start to bend, or the chair would completely break…sometimes in the middle of the gag!
We had a chair graveyard outside our dressing wagon, and by the end of the summer the grass was starting to grow over the twisted aluminum corpses. If one of the chairs was just a little slanted but still had a few good sits in it, I would put it outside the dressing wagon so we could enjoy the beautiful weather as we waited for our next cue.
Anyway, last year during Christmas in July, Santa Claus needed to take a load off while waiting backstage. He spotted one of the chair gag rejects (no, not me and Ryan, I mean one of the chairs), and he hunkered down to relax.
Ryan and I thought nothing of it, and we were standing off to the side talking. All of a sudden we heard a loud crash and looked over to see that the chair had completely collapsed underneath Santa. All we saw was his jolly boots sticking straight up in the air!
Luckily Santa was shaken, but not injured, but you can bet your mistletoe that’s an image we’ll never forget! Coincidentally, Ryan and I didn’t get anything for Christmas last year. (Santa also brought his own chair to sit in this year)

Unfortunately not everyone got into the Christmas in July spirit this year, and a couple of Scrooges came and tried to “Bah Humbug” all over everything. During the morning big top show on Sunday, I heard an unusual amount of cheering during the elephant act. Later I found out that two women, who had jumped a fence to sneak into the park, stood up as soon as the elephants came into the ring, and they started shouting and holding up signs protesting animals in the circus.
Oliver Ramos, who owns the big top, quickly leapt into action and escorted the unruly trespassers out, amid raucous cheers from everyone else in the tent.

They were gone before the police could be notified, but then in a Christmas in July miracle, the two dinks then tagged Circus World in a post on FB about how they “disrupted family fun” at the show. Both of their names were clearly on display in the post, and if you looked at their Facebook profiles, they had multiple posts bragging about different places around the state where they had similarly made a scene. 

Scott promptly sent that convenient info on over to the police so they could handle the two grinches. 

Besides the Christmas in July excitement, things have been pretty uneventful around here lately. On Tuesday we had an excellent performance of Nothing But Nonsense. There was a family in attendance that was laughing uproariously at everything we did, and they really got the rest of the crowd going. They had been at the big top show too, and the oldest woman in the family gave a hearty laugh when I did my flip up wig bit in the pants chase. I told everyone that she was my mom, which got an even bigger laugh from the rest of the audience. Ryan and I carried that bit over to our show, and we milked it for all it was worth. Our “mom” loved every minute of it.

Nico gave me a couple of good laughs in the second big top show that day. When Ryan and I came into the dressing room at one point, we found Nico in the pants looking like this:

Before I tell you about the second laugh he gave me, I need to provide a little backstory. Dave got Ryan and I two afro wigs, an orange one and a purple one, for our disco production costumes. We haven’t worn them because since we are clowns, they come off as cheap clown wigs instead of 70s disco afros. However, Ryan picked out the orange one until it was ridiculously huge….bigger than our heads! 
Robert was ringmastering Tuesday afternoon, so I wore the huge wig to make him laugh. I made a few afro jokes for the audience before cueing Nico to run out in the pants and start the chase. Nico ran to the front of the ring, stopped, dropped the pants down so his head could pop out, and I saw that he was wearing the purple afro wig. I doubled over from laughter, and the audience got a kick out of it as well. 
It’s nice to have a little fun in the show to break up the monotony, but it’s even sweeter when the audience enjoys it too!

I will do my best to post next week, but I make no promises. Things are going to be crazy, because next week is the Ringling Homecoming and Baraboo Circus Parade, and pretty much every evening next week we have something going on, whether it is an event for the Homecoming, or something to be done in preparation for the event.
If I don’t write next week, you can be sure I’ll have a massive post ready for the following week detailing all the fun and excitement that happens at Baraboo’s Circus Week. 
I hope to see some of you there. Take care!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Better Homes & Elephants In Gardens

Hello everyone, Steve Copeland here. Well, well, well, where to begin? It has been a very eventful week here in Baraboo!

The town and Circus World was the subject of national news when Kelly, one of our performing pachyderms, escaped the park in the early hours of the morning. Our other elephant, Isla, is quite adept with her trunk, and she loosened some hardware that allowed Kelly to slip out. Kelly walked across the Baraboo River and then started wandering around a nearby neighborhood. Several people spotted her as they went about their morning routines, and so calls were placed to Circus World to let us know that one of our biggest stars was going door to door to let people know the park  is still open!
Dean, who is in charge of the elephants, went to retrieve her from the yard of an elderly lady whose flowers seemed like an all you can eat buffet for Kelly.
Kelly was escorted safely back to Circus World, and the whole escapade was the talk of the town.

I don’t know what the big deal is. Ryan and I have been wandering around people’s yards every night this summer, but the second an elephant does it, CNN gets involved!

The whole thing was excellent publicity for Circus World’s Anniversary Days, where we were celebrating our 58th Anniversary by offering $5 admission to our guests for four days only: July 1-4. As you can imagine, the park was super busy every day, especially on Monday, when there were around 1,400 people in the park. The big top was filled beyond capacity, and another tiger show was added alongside Nothing But Nonsense to accommodate the large crowds.

Photo by Oliver Ramos

That’s right, I said tiger show! Ryan Holder, or Radar as Ryan and I affectionately call him, is here again this summer. He has been touring with the Carden Circus all season, but began performing here on July 1 and will be with us through the end of our season since Carden is on a planned two month hiatus. 
Ryan and I have known Radar since we were all First of Mays on the Kelly Miller Circus back in 2009. He started as a tiger groom and went on to inherit the tigers, the equipment, and the act, and he has really come into his own as a tiger trainer and person who really loves and cares for his animals. 

It was wonderful having such big crowds for our shows during Anniversary days. Nothing But Nonsense was particularly fun, as the rowdy audiences gave us plenty of opportunities to improvise. One memorable occurrence happened when our Borscht-Belt era ventriloquist dummy character, Kreplach, was having his big death scene. Right in the middle of it, someone’s cell phone rang, so I, puppeteering Kreplach, ran up into the audience, demanded she hand the phone over, and then as Kreplach, mercilessly berated the person on the other end of the line. I wish I could know what that poor person on the receiving end of a puppet tirade was thinking!

On Tuesday, Ryan’s daughter, Abrianna, all decked out in her patriotic best for the Fourth of July, made her debut in Wesley William’s unicycle act. Abrianna absolutely adores Wesley (or Bruce-Lee, as she calls him), and occasionally he will put her on his shoulders as he is practicing on his unicycle backstage.
During the morning show on the 4th of July he rode into the ring with Abrianna sitting on his shoulders. Tatiana said that Abrianna looked petrified as they rode out, but as soon as Wesley put her on the ground, she styled like a true circus pro.


Wesley said the next day when he was about to ride his unicycle out for opening, he made eye contact with Abrianna, who shook her head and said, “Not me! Not me!”

On the home front, Pamela has been working hard to make our home as beautiful and cozy as she can. Last summer she spent a couple of weeks completely redoing the inside; she painted, she put down new flooring, and installed new hardware on the cabinets and drawers.

Every season she re-decorates our dinette area, and this summer’s decor is one of my favorites. It is so elegant and calming; I love it!

But my wonder woman didn’t stop with the inside of the trailer. She also created a nice dining area right outside our front door using things found around Circus World. 

We have hosted several dinners for our friends, and Pamela pulls out all the stops to make everything as fancy as possible. We put out our fine silverware and glasses, candles, an ice bucket, napkin rings, and I even manage to keep my feet off the table! 
Pamela’s dinner parties are beautiful, but they sure are a lot of work to set up and clean up! Perfection is important to my wife though, and she works like crazy to make everything perfect for me.
I’m hoping one day she will share her talents with the world by having her own show on HGTV. In the meantime, I will enjoy having a beautiful wife and home to come to every day after work. 

That’s about all the news that’s fit to print for this week! As always, if there’s anything you’d like to hear about in this blog, please let me know in the comments!  See you all next week!