The Circus rolls into Bakersfield

Joe Bergman, Photographer/Reporter

The 145th edition of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus rolled into Bakersfield with shows beginning on Sept. 10 and running through Sept. 13 at the Rabobank Arena.

This year’s show is called “Circus XTREME” and features both human and animal stars alike. Prior to the circus opening night, clowns and BMX freestyle riders invaded Bakersfield Metro BMX on Sept. 9 in an event to not only promote bicycle safety, but to collect safety helmets for those riders who could not afford to purchase their own.
BMX freestyle riders Koji Kraft, Scott Twiford, Bob Meade, and Kenny Short rode laps, raced the children, and preformed numerous stunts and tricks.

New to this year’s edition of the circus, is a pack of eight twin-humped Bactrian camels, including three rare white Bactrian camels. According to Ryan Henning, the Assistant Animal Attendant with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey, utilizing camels is a circus first. Henning compared the camel’s behavior to that of a horse, but with much less energy, making training them much easier. The camels receive daily grooming and exercise and are available for public viewing which occurs an hour and a half prior to each show.

For other animals, there will be regulations forthcoming.

According to Victoria Blackwell, a representative for Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey, the circus is more than laughs, and every little bit of community outreach helps.

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is slowly removing the Asian elephants from their traveling shows and by 2018 the circus will be elephant-free.
All current elephants will then be permanently housed at the Ringling Brothers Center for Elephant Conservation located in central Florida.

Circus EXTREME has one show on Friday at 7 p.m., three shows on Saturday (11 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m.), and two shows on Sunday (1 p.m and 5 p.m.).