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Thursday, November 19, 2009 

In 1897 lightening struck a center pole on the Ringling bigtop, erected in North Dakota.  Several workingmen died.  As always, that night the show moved on.


We all know that on some level the circus and the carnival are about the stories that we tell.  The oral traditions of a sometimes insular traveling society.  The jackpots of a subculture.  And when we stand around sharing our stories there are always characters that pop up with names like Cowboy, or Indian Phil, or Mad Dog, or in a place like Lucerne Valley, California, certainly Hog Jaw. 


The heroes and the goofs. 


That these same names are less often mentioned when we talk about the history of this outdoor amusement business doesn’t diminish their contribution.  In a discussion of history we recall acts and owners, promoters and trainers, the guys who run phone rooms, or paint trucks – but by no means should that suggest that somebody on a tent crew or shoveling dung is any less important.  The act that earns $3000 a week may love the circus.  The man or woman making a small fraction of that and doing it for twenty years loves it no less. 



The jags, the majordomos, the batmen, the heavy-lifters who make a life of it…


Invaluable, dear friends.  

About me

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