Set-up for the Kelly Miller circus began early in the morning of June 22. Additional activities for families included early access to elephant rides as well as the opportunity to watch them eat their breakfast. Ringmaster Rebecca Ostroff spoke to the crowd about her personal background in the circus business and what viewers could expect during the shows while the big top tent was set up in the background.
Ostroff spoke to the crowd first about the big top tent which can take up to three and a half hours to set up while only about one hour and a half to take down. The famous big top is a European push-pull tent which involves both the knowledge of mathematics and physics to be set up in a timely manner. These tents can last in the circus for up to ten years and can fit up to 1,100 people at one time. Ostroff then took the opportunity to discuss her lifestyle as ringmaster. She is currently 61 years old and will soon be featured on an episode of the show “Forever Young” on NBC. In regards to this she stated that it was important to focus on what you enjoy and “just don’t stop doing what you’re doing.” She was also featured in the movie Water for Elephants.
Ostroff spoke about the Kelly Miller Circus itself as well as the owner John Ringling North II. She spoke highly about how the Ringlings are the only circus with their names in it. She additionally spoke about the Kelly Miller Circus and their international cast and family friendly prices. Within this circus there is a large focus on the human animal bond. All of the animals involved in the circus are treated in a very positive manner; they are constantly being played with and exercised and always have a fresh source of water.
Children and their families arrived early also to watch elephants Sydney and Jenny eat their breakfast. Joey Frisco is the man in charge of taking care of these elephants and was very open about his knowledge and experience with these animals. Cindy is a 45 year old elephant while Jennie is 51 years old. These animals typically live to be 35 in the wild but with the care of people like Frisco can live up until 75 years old. These animals eat lots of hay and fresh produce; they eat 150 to 300 pounds of food a day and drink from 50 to 150 gallons of water a day. The longest amount of time these animals are transported for the circus is about an hour and a half and Frisco says that they are very content within this time. They get a lot of air during the summer to cool them off and in the colder months they have their own heating system. Frisco said that the most important factors in caring for elephants are exercise and mental stimulation which is provided through their acts in the show as well as interaction with people during elephant rides. Mental stimulation is also provided through the ways they are played with; they play with salt blocks and horse balls. Frisco says the animals are treated with a lot of care because he believes that “the elephants choose you to be their handler, you do not choose them.” He spends a lot of time with them everyday, plays with them and also washes then five to six times daily.
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