Sunday, April 30, 2006 


El Paso. Hot. The dust of Texas got in its last licks. Tomorrow its back to New Mexico with a 170 mile jump to Lordsburg, then on to Silver City. On Wednesday we’ll be in Arizona back on the border at Douglas. Spotty wireless internet I’d guess until we approach the peopled parts of AZ.

Saturday, April 29, 2006 


El Paso. Perfect circus weather. Winds have finally died down and the temps haven’t climb back up into the 90’s. A beautiful show day with three performances. A dawn the bigtop was haunting quiet in it’s blanket of dust left over from yesterday.

Aaron offers up his first contribution to the blog:

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls salutations to all. My name is Aaron C Broderick. I;’m the ringmaster for the Carson & Barnes Circus and I have enjoyed hearing from you over the last month. Now it’s my turn. This past month has been very exciting. I’ve learned a lot about the circus and I’ve learned a lot about myself. I;ve met many different people and I’ve discovered more about faith. So far we’ve visited Texas and New Mexico. I miss my family, who have been very supportive of my efforts to work in a circus. I especially miss my brother Joe who has given me hope my whole life. Joe is in Iraq. I’m dedicating everything I do on the show to him. This season we’ve had our good days and our slow days, but mostly good. I’m excited that we’re off to a great start. Hope to see you all as we move along.


Friday, April 28, 2006 


El Paso, TX. Cooler today. The wind is still kicking up dust on the lot, and more dust is blowing in over the Rio Bravo from Mexico. The forecast says the wind will die down today, and by tomorrow we should have perfect circus weather for the rest of the weekend. We had visitors last night from the show across the river in Juarez. When several shows play the same town or nearby towns simultaneous there’s always some visiting back and forth. It’s a nice way to keep up on news.

Thursday, April 27, 2006 

El Paso, TX. Hot, windy. Early jump from New Mexico through commuter traffic to the lot in El Paso. This is a four day lot and license. We all hope for green grass and Walmart in walking distance. This lot is dry and dusty and back from the road, though it's still all circus inside the bigtop. One show today. We hope for a busy weekend. There are three circuses in the immediate area. A circus on ice as well as our show on this side of the border, and another circus across the bridge in Juarez. At least two other circuses have been here in the last two months. A long stand means there's time to catch on laundry, or doctors visits or sleep. Better bandwidth, so we should have pictures tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006 

Alamagordo, NM. High desert. Warm and dry. How the circus travels. In this age of online route planning and GPS tools of circus travel remain surprisingly simple and trustworthy. Route cards list for the next weeks weeks and approximate distances. Arrows mark turns or reassure drivers that a truck is headed in the right direction. Daily route sheets give written directions. Today’s route sheet read like this.

Route from Socorro, NM to Alamagordo, NM. April 28th, 2006. Approx 132 Miles. Shows 4:30 & 7:30 PM. Lot – Otero County Fairgrounds.

Leave the lot same way we came in. Turn right onto Fairgrounds Road. Go to Stop sign and turn left on NM Highway 1. Go ½ mile and turn right onto entrance I-25 South. Take I-25 South seven miles to exit #139 Highway 380 East. Take 380 East sixty-four miles to Carrizozo, NM. Turn right on US 54 South. Take 54 fifty-eight miles to Alamagordo, NM. Past Home Depot on your left ½ mile turn left onto Fairgrounds Road. (Note the imagination behind all those streets called Fairgrounds Rd.) Follow arrows to lot.

That and a little bit of luck and a lot of fuel and you can move sixty vehicles in a circus.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 

Socorro, New Mexico. Warm with sunshine and wind in the afternoon. After two weeks with virtually no internet connectivity, we're back on line, albeit slowly. No pictures till more speed. Great news out of Canada where at the Safari Park in Ontario another elephant calf was born. That's two calves in about a month. So much for the claims by Animal Liberation advocates that reproductive conservation can't work and elephants don't thrive in cooler climates.

Long jumps into west Texas where we made dates at Abilene, Odessa, Lamesa, and Andrews. Nice crowds in New Mexico, and hats off to the hard working hosts in Hobbs, Carlsbad, Artesia and Riudoso. The climb into the mountains from Artesia was hard work on the trucks. It's always tough to move a big show. Another long jump this morning back down into the high desert. Tomorrow we jump to Alamogorda, then we play a four day stand in El Paso before heading west again.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006 


Denton, TX today. Warm. Hard to believe the Oklahoma winter was only a few weeks ago. Show moves to Bowie, TX tomorrow. Then Abilene after that. You can print coupons for Abilene. Blog will be on hiatus for a few days, then back with more news!


Monday, April 10, 2006 


Denton, TX. Forecast says we’re in for another lovely day. Whenever the Carson & Barnes Circus arrives in a new town there children or school groups around to see the animals and to watch us raise the biggest bigtop on earth. What some adults don’t know, is that circus is a great way to teach science. Two of the most spectacular performances on this 70th anniversary of the circus are directly dependant on the application of the Laws of Physics and mechanics. A motorcycle uses velocity to climb a wire, and the wire itself provides a fulcrum point allowing the bike, the rider, and the passenger to achieve a kind of balance. Similarly our amazing tightwire act relies on balance poles to shift the center of mass when building and maintaining the seven man pyramid, and inertia to keep it moving. Great performances appear to defy the laws of physics. Great performers in reality learn to make those laws work for them.

Sunday, April 09, 2006 


Allen, TX. Palm Sunday. Perfect circus weather. Shows moves to Denton tomorrow.

We've got coupons available online for Denton!

Saturday, April 08, 2006 


Allen, TX. Cooler today, with a stiff breeze predicted. It's been said that a circus is a little bit like a sailing ship. Anytime you've got that much 'canvas' up you are ruled by the winds. Tent crews, like old time sailors are a well disciplined bunch of guys.

Texas is circus country. As far back as the 1870's when Mr. Coup put the Barnum Show on the rails, big circuses have felt at home here. Texas was where the railroad shows came in the autumn to lock-in the profits they either had or hadn't made elsewhere before retreating into Winter Quarters. By the early 20th Century Texas was putting some pretty impressive circuses of its own onto the rails. South Houston's George Christy not only built a large circus that carried his name, he also moved it better than almost anyone else. The Christy show could and did occasionally play more than one town in a single day. The logistics were daunting. Unload the train, set up the tent, parade, perform, tear it all down again -- reload the train -- then repeat the entire process again 100 miles down the road on a long summer evening.

Circus has never been a job for anyone afraid of hard work.

Friday, April 07, 2006 


Allen, TX. Perfect circus weather!

Thursday, April 06, 2006 


Garland, TX. Partly cloudy with a little wind.
A bit more on elephant conservation. Elephants have been described by some researchers as charismatic megafauna, large animals about whom everybody has an opinion. The fact that Save The Elephants bumper stickers don’t adorn cars the way that Save The whales decals once did probably speaks to a few simple facts. It was much easier to save the whales. Whales didn’t compete for space with an ever growing human population. Whales never destroy crops. Whales aren’t killed of by draughts the way that African elephants are. And it’s very hard to poach whales. Saving elephants doesn’t just mean protecting them in ever smaller wildlands, many conservationists would suggest that it also means maintaining a genetically viable captive population supporting reproductive conservation efforts. It isn’t easy to reproduce elephants, it takes an enormous amount of work.

Ironically a few organizations claiming to represent animal lovers actually pose a threat to elephant conservation efforts. The philosophical ideology behind the animal rights movement opposes captive reproduction in zoos circuses and elsewhere as a conservation tool. Better a species should become extinct in the wild than bred in captivity, animal liberation says. Lacking a shred of scientifically valid evidence to support their position, rights groups seek to stop conservation efforts through legislative action, creating humane care standards predicated on the behavior of animals in the wild with large appetites and limited forage possibilities. In California the State Assembly is considering a Bill AB 3027 with requirements that even the world class San Diego Zoo could not meet. One observer Megan Sloan has written:

This Bill sounds good at first glance... To the non-animal professional.
Almost every person who has PERSONALLY worked with elephants agrees that this bill is preposterous, resulting in California facilities housing elephants, having to ship the animals to other locations.
Elephants in the wild do travel great distances, 50 miles or more in search of food/water. But in captivity they are provided these things, and do not have to search for them. If an elephant in captivity has 50 acres to himself, he will hang out where the food is, whether he has 50 acres or 1 acre.
If this bill passes, it will result in no captive elephants in California. Seeing an animal up close and personal garners respect and visitors always learn from something they can stand next too, even touch. How are we (Zookeepers, Animal Trainers, Educators), supposed to share the plight of the Elephant if we can't even show people one?!
This bill, if passed, would just be a foot in the door for people, who are not knowledgeable about Elephants/Animals or Education, To Ban all animals from being in captivity? What’s next? The Giraffe, Hippo, Lion?
As I'm sure you already know, California is home to 2 of the best Zoological facilities in the WORLD. The San Diego Zoo and The San Diego Wild Animal Park. These 2 facilities have done so much for the world of conservation for all animals, just not Elephants. The zoo's elephant enclosure is about 1 acre, and the animal park has 3 acres. Expanding is usually not an option, as property is extremely costly, then building the proper facilities as well. These 2 world famous zoos would have to ship their elephants out! And that would be incredibly detrimental to the Conservation. .
Long Story Short...
NO ON AB 3027!!

Maybe folks have forgotten that the California Condor, a symbol of the State was saved from extinction through captive breeding. When the
Committee in California meets on April 25th animal liberation activists want them to forget about the role that zoos and circuses and private facilities play in conservation. They want them to forget conservation and species survival altogether. Animal liberation/animal rights groups are asking politicians to embrace pseudo science creating the very real possibility that elephants will move another step closer to extinction. That's tragic.

Operating a circus where a portion of the money from every ticket we sell goes directly to elephant conservation, anti-conservation efforts make us very sad.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006 


Garland, TX for two days. Circus lovers never tire of elephants, but as we all know wild elephant herds are highly threatened. We worry about elephants. At Carson & Barnes Circus we're working with several leading organizations to promote species survival and reproductive conservation in Asian elephants. We are especially proud of our work with the Endangered Ark Foundation located in our hometown of Hugo, OK.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006 


Durant. A brief stop back in the great state of Oklahoma today. Noted circus maven Harry Kingston spent several days with the show last week, remarking on the beautiful green lot in Pittsburg. Harry and Diane had a great time. Harry's been a Carson & Barnes fan since 1970.


Monday, April 03, 2006 


Greenville, TX. Blue sky, sunshine, warm weather, and suddenly the days are an hour longer! Sounds like circus season.

Sunday, April 02, 2006 


Pittsburg, TX today. Shows at 12:45 & 3:45. Some housekeeping on the blog. You may now enlarge the photos.

Because this is the 70th anniversary of the Carson & Barnes Circus, quite a milestone, it might be fun to mark some other circus anniversaries now and then. Some anniversaries are important, some minor, many are just fun.

Barnum said that the tent poles that hold up the American Circus are elephants and clowns. Most of us would agree with that. Children might add a third pole. Kids would probably argue that you can't have a circus without cotton candy. 106 years ago a man named Thomas Patton began selling cotton candy on the Ringling Bros Circus, and a love affair was born. Mr. Patton is sometimes erroneously credited with inventing cotton candy, in reality William Morrison and John Wharton invented the sticky stuff in Nashville, TN in 1897 and patented the first modern machine. They called their confection Fairy Floss. To this day, in the business, cotton candy is called floss. Eat it, enjoy it, think of it as a bit of circus history.


Saturday, April 01, 2006 


New Boston, TX today with a partly cloudy sky this morning. Veteran bull man turned farrier extraordinary Gary Hill visited the show earlier in the week and posted a nice picture to another blog. This thumbnail doesn’t do it justice, but if ever a big circus looked pretty on a lot this 70th edition of Carson & Barnes does. The old adage suggests that a fresh coat of paint covers a multitude of sins, I’d say on this show the amazing artwork on the new road office enhances a plethora of virtues. There are so many stars on any circus who never step into the center ring to receive the applause they richly deserve, painters, prop men, the canvas crew to name just a few. No show looks good without them.