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Wednesday, July 15, 2009 

Monday July 13th, 2009. Melrose, MN. 75 miles. Grass. Warm, slightly overcast.

Melrose has a plant that processes turkey. Large Hispanic population. Respectable presale and strong gate. Nice day.

Sunday July 12th, 2009. Cokato, MN. 60 miles. Grass. Overcast, muggy.

Today would have been my father’s 79th birthday. I thought of that only when I noted the date for this update. The first time I came to MN was as a kid with my parents. We drove from the east coast straight through in a station wagon and spent a few days on the upper Mississippi on a houseboat fishing. I remember the Wisconsin Dells.
In 2000 Cokato gave CM Circus it’s biggest day ever. There have been other good days here as well – and two years ago the town was a successful. Today we fared poorly. The host blamed the economy but likely the real reason was some lack of organization in the presale and promoting the show. There nothing all that different about Cokato that it should have fallen flat where other towns this week did not.
In the comments somebody recently said that he hates booking "played out" towns. I’m not entirely sure what that means. A place like Salinas, CA sometimes sees five shows in a year, and some years every one of them makes money. The demographics are right. Traditionally even a smaller community doesn’t get "played out" when a show visits every two or three years – not with a good well organized motivated sponsor. Some good towns cease to be good not because they’ve seen too many shows but because the towns themselves are in steep decline. The desert towns in California were like that this year. Last fall California scared the heck out of me. I couldn’t imagine how any show could do well there this season. Once beyond the desert CM did very well. What I’d failed to see months before, what Trey saw was that the demographics of the farmworker towns were different. Yes there was high unemployment but farmworkers don’t own their home, and aren’t losing them to foreclosure (like the desert towns) and the folks that are working will still come out for a show.
What really makes for a "played out" town is a town that’s been burned by circuses that come under lot and license, promise much, deliver little, and overcharge for everything. It’s the same scenario that gives a bad name to free kids tickets. A bad circus poisons a town far more than a good circus returning every couple of years.

Ben, I never said I didn't like booking played out towns. I said I didn't care to see shows play them. Let me clarify what I meant by that. The town I refered to has a population of 1,979 (which is a completely different case than Salinas, CA with a pop. of 143,517).

"Traditionally even a smaller community doesn’t get "played out" when a show visits every two or three years – not with a good well organized motivated sponsor."

That's true if the show that visits every few years is the only show that visits, but when the town sees average three shows a year. Another problem I have is that I see Culpepper play towns that have been hit by 2 shows already this year, then jump through towns that haven't been hit by anyone in four or five years. It frustrates me.
Please know, I want Culpepper to be successful as with every show. I just feel there are communities around that may had been better fit.

"What really makes for a "played out" town is a town that’s been burned by circuses that come under lot and license, promise much, deliver little, and overcharge for everything. It’s the same scenario that gives a bad name to free kids tickets. A bad circus poisons a town far more than a good circus returning every couple of years."

That is very very true also, just know that there have been three appearances of those lot and license, big talk, no walk, high priced shows since Culpepper visited last.

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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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