When the opportunity come up in our Gatekeeper editorial meeting to get a behind the scenes look at “The Greatest Show On Earth” I was the first to jump at the assignment. When I heard I had to be there at sunrise my enthusiasm faded a bit, but come on, it was a once in a lifetime chance to see the circus from a new perspective. I really didn’t know what to expect since I haven’t been to the circus since I was a child. I arrived at the Macon Centreplex about 6:45 am and was greeted by smiling, happy and joyful circus people. It elevated my mood immediately! Jillian the show’s PR guru met me at the door and went over the rundown about what we would see this morning. I was lucky enough to be able to see a clown, horses, and an elephant named Asia who predicted the Seahawks are going to win the Superbowl! (She tried it three times in practice and it was the Seahawks every time) For you Patriot fans, don’t worry we made sure the ball was the correct pressure!
First thing I was able to experience was the King Charles Unicycle Troupe practicing their routine. They are simply an amazing group of athletes that had me slack jawed watching their artistry. The story behind the King Charles Unicycle Troupe can be found here: I really think that you will just love how this troupe came about and the discipline behind what they do each night under the big top.
Next I got to meet Kelli the Clown! I’m not usually a clown fan, as I’ve seen Stephen King’s "IT" too many times, but she was a was the coolest clown I have ever met. Kelli had lots of energy and was very upbeat unlike Stephen King's clowns. I loved her costume from the big bow on her coat, down to the big clown feet. This is her fourth tour with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey troupe. I was also amazed to learn she actual had to go to Clown College, no its not like the clown college I attended, it is actually a college where you learn the craft of being a professional Clown.
Probably my favorite part of this entire experience was meeting Asia! Asia is a 40 year old elephant who is the most graceful and amazing creature I have ever been up close and personal with. I wanted to pet her and take her home so bad, but Georgia is a no touch state so none of that happened. It was so surreal to be 3 feet away from a beautiful Asian Elephant! Such a magnificent animal. I know people have their questions about how the animals are treated and I can assure you these animals are treated like royalty! I even did some additional research about the treatment of the elephants and the other animals with the circus and being an animal lover I was completely comfortable with what I learned. What Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey do for elephants is absolutely amazing. They operate a Center for Elephant Conservation. Here you can read all about the elephants and how they are cared for. Elephants are extremely social creatures and only those elephants that exhibit certain traits and attributes are used in circus life. They are loved, cared for and very well taken care of, I think they have it better than my dogs!
Lastly, I would like to thank everyone at the Macon Centreplex and at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey for this awesome experience. I have a new love and appreciation for the circus and I hope our little behind the scenes review gives you some motivation to go and experience the Greatest Show on Earth for yourself!