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Tuesday, May 19, 2009 

Tuesday May 19th. Mill City, OR. 40 miles. Cold, rain. Grass lot.

Why write a blog if the information is the lot, location, and weatherm somebody asked? It’s a legitimate question. There have been a lot of those posts this season, though I’ve assumed that come summer I would get long-winded again. Mostly I’d say it’s better to write something than nothing at all – and ultimately through the years what I’ve tried to create is a route book through the seasons. The where’s and whens. The two most common comments or emails I get about the blog ask a couple simple questions – what’s the best act on the show? Or when wil;l CM buy a new tent? This season the first question is easy. Jessi Wonderfool’s clown routine “How To Get A Man” may be the most consistently funny clown routine I’ve seen in years. And I’m not a big fan of clowns. Jessi makes it work every day in every show and her physical comedy is outstanding. The second question is harder to answer. Circus fans in particular have been asking show owner Trey Key about a new tent for at least a half a dozen years. I suspect Trey’s sentiment is that so long as the tent serves its purpose, there are other needs. When does an asset become a liability? When does a liability become an asset again? Recently it occurred to me that the A-1 tent we call our bigtop, now in its 15th season has seen more than six thousand circus performances. If it was circus building, no matter how much it needed paint fans would declare it historic. Millions of people have watched a circus beneath this tent. AQs much as all of us may think that its ugly or worn, or a tough place to work in when it rains – it has earned its scars and patches honestly and entertained a generation of families since it was first pulled from the bag smelling of fresh vinyl in the mid 1990’s.

Three more days in Oregon, then Washington, then we turn east.

Couple of simple questions? How about a third? Can you explain American circus routing principles to an antipodean?

Nice spin. CM still needs to get a new tent. It may have been a novelty to have a lacy tent six years ago, now, it's just embarrassing. Appearance and perception are everything. What does Trey think the perception of his show is, when the tent looks as it does? The acts can be fabulous, but if the first impression is of a run-down, worn-out show, then guess what people walk away with?

Just sayin'.

Sus, I'd probably argue that your correct, a much patched tent gives the wrong impression and shuts you out of shopping center dates etc., no matter how strong the show or the nice paint on the trucks. On the other hand I think most people once under the bigtop are quickly won over by the show itself. The old adage that you can't judge a book by its cover applies.

Of course Culpepper needs a new tent...Im sure Trey is well aware of that fact. Im quite sure Trey has a good reason for not buying one...like not going into any more financial debt in todays tough ecomonic times...That tent has been through the wringer over the years...I should know because most of the extreme damage was done in the mid 90's when we were there and the stitches I helped sew in it are still there today. That tent holds good memories for alot of people. I was married under that tent and so was my sister Natalie. Bobby and I also made alot of money under that tent...lol...while I certainly do agree that first impressions are important, didnt Culpepper just have a record setting day under that tent not long ago? If I were Trey, Id use that tent until there was nothing but cables left or until I had the cash in hand to buy a new one...

Lauren Fairchild
Culpepper 1996-1999

LOL. Lauren I think you probably nailed it pretty accurately.

Well it takes alot for me to comment on the blogs these days but I just cant seem to let this one go after re-reading Miss Susabell's comments/questions. Who is she and how many tents has she worked under? She says Culpepper's tent is embarrassing...who is it embarrassing to...Her? Let me ask this...(and Im not trying to be bitchy)...how much are her insurance payments to keep her show going? How much does it cost her in fuel each moth to keep her show going? Not to mention taxes, permits and printing, etc...Add that to the laundry list of expenses that Trey has each month and then ask the question again why Culpepper doesnt have a new tent...Trey has had the show for 10 years now (if Im right in my math) and he has done a fine job in keeping the thing on the road each year. Culpepper already had an established route/following when Trey took it over and it seems to be holding its own, in spite of the "lacey tent"...If people think it is so easy to keep a show on the road these days AND have top notch rolling stock...then think again...it's just my opinion, but my hats off to Trey...milk that tent for all it's worth...lol...When I think back to the torment that that tent has been through over the years, people would be astonished to know that it's still in the air everyday...Ill actually be sad, as I know all of our Culpepper Family will be when Trey does buy a new one...thanks Ben for the forum and I do hope to meet you on Culpepper soon, under the old tent...(Ill show you my own stitches from the 1997 storm damage...lol)

OMG! That top is older than my daughter!!

Hope to catch u someplace in the Midwest.

Paul H.

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About me

  • I'm B.E.Trumble
  • From Everywhere, United States
  • Ben Trumble works in circus, carnival, and media relations
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