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Monday, March 27, 2006 


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It seems only appropriate to say a liitle more about Hugo, OK. Why? Because Hugo, a tiny town with less than 7,000 people may be America's greatest circus city. What's a circus city? It's a place that circuses call home. In the early years of the American circus the east side of the Hudson river in New York and nearby CT saw the rise of the first circus towns. Somers, NY is sometimes called the Cradle of the America Circus. Over a fifty year period beginning around 1820 dozens of circuses were framed by the "Flatfoot" circus syndicate based in Somers. Aaron Turner created the first circus "bigtop" there, and P.T. Barnum was a ticket seller on the Turner show. Later circus towns moved west with the frontier. Girard, PA on the shores of Lake Erie was home to at least four shows, including the Dan Rice Circus. In his day Dan Rice was the most famous entertainer in the U.S. Ohio was home to the famous John Robinson Circus, a title that toured for over 100 years, and to the Sells Bros Circus, and later to the Mills Bros Circus. By 1870 Delevan, WI could challenge Somers as the center of the circus world. Baraboo was home to the Ringling show. Bridgeport, CT home to the Barnum enterprise. Early in the 20th Century Peru, IN emerged as the greatest circus center of them all. The Great Wallace Circus, the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, and later the five big circuses that made up the American Circus Corp all called Indiana home. By the 1930's more and more circuses found that warm winter climates were a big advantage in the off-season. It costs a small fortune to heat an elephant barn in Wisconsin. Beginning with Ringling the Gulf Coast of Florida became a hub for circuses. But not every circus headed for the Sunshine State. The Miller family originally wintered their circus in Arkansas, until a local community leader invited the show to stay in Hugo, OK. Since the 1940's Hugo has seen a dozen circuses depart from Oklahoma every spring. Some of those titles are nearly forgotten, but in 2006 Hugo is still the home to four major tented circuses. Circus Chimera, The Culpepper Merriweather Circus, Kelly-Miller, and the biggest traditional show of them all, our own Carson & Barnes Circus. Choctaw County isn't just famous for circuses, it's a recreational wonderland, a quiet place just a few hours away from the hustle of the big cities of OK, and TX. We're thrilled when you see us in the circus. We're delighted when you visit our hometown. Ben

so will you guys be in ohio?

logan jacot
zoppe family circus

Sometime in mid-summer

Ben,

Will you be coming back to NJ this year? I've been hearing rumors.

I did some advance and was "guest clown" the last time I think that the show was out this way in 1998.

Pat. As you know routes can be mysterious. But I think it's more than a rumor that it's an east coast year.

Ben

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