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Thursday, June 04, 2009 

Thurs June 4th. Omak, WA 45 miles. Gravel. Very hot.

On the Colville Indian Reservation.


Wednesday June 3rd, 2009. Bridgeport, WA. 105miles. Mowed field. Very hot.

95 degrees F. today. Probably the hottest we’ve seen since the California desert. The last time a circus visited Bridgeport was 1959. We’ve had a huge day – though it might take another fifty years to repeat the same business. Beautiful drive along the Columbia River beneath the cliff faces near Soap Lake. Tomorrow north for dates near the border with Canada.


Tuesday June 2nd. Warden, WA. 45 miles. Grass. Overcast, hot, windy.

The rest of the week will see long jumps north to the Canadian border, then back down to Spokane. Next week we’ll play Idaho, backtracking for one more Washington date.

There are more theories on routing a circus than stars in the sky. When a show has a good year the routing and booking are works of genius. A bad year and the routing was done by the village idiot. The genius and the village idiot are usually the same person. In the days of wagon shows a route was relatively straight forward. A wagon show could move 20-30 miles a day, no more. There was nothing sophisticated about picking towns. The railroad shows that created the golden age were far more flexible. Suddenly a circus could route in to areas where there was prosperity and skip whole states where times were hard. Truck shows have historically borrowed from both models. The circus has to play someplace every day… And you can only drive so far and still put up the tent. But you try to avoid areas where you just don’t do well. Except when you can’t. Every season has certain destinations, dates and states where a show anticipates strong business. The jumps between those destinations can go on for weeks, and that’s the dicey part of routing. A show can play its way across the high plains for a month moving from the Midwest to the west coast. If all goes well, most days will pay for themselves. If things don’t go well it’s a long trek. Likewise its possible to jump the entire distance playing no dates between destinations – but that can be very expensive. Finally some shows will make long jumps with travel days playing only a few select towns over a 1500 mile repositioning between destinations. There’s no right way or wrong way to route between destinations. Pick one and you may be this year’s genius, pick another and you might be the dunce.

Monday June 1st, 2009 Royal City, WA. 75 miles. Grass. Hot.

Heavily Hispanic farm town along the river. Irrigation fuels growing cherries and hay. Great audience for both shows.

Thanks for that explanation Ben.

Very different to the Aussie model!

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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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