Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus Takes Center Ring in Jonesboro

August 27, 2004 -- Posted 4:00 p.m. CDT

Jonesboro, AR -- After 50 years of being absent from Jonesboro, Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus is back.

From clowns to elephants to flying trapeze artists, they all take center ring at "The Greatest Show on Earth" and you can catch all the excitement here in Jonesboro.

They don't call it "The Greatest Show on Earth" for nothing.

"We're actually one big family," said Brian Newman with the Circus.

Rain or shine, the success of this historic- family event is dependent on the over 100 performers.

"As far as performers, we've got the best in the world," said Newman.

You know them as acrobats, dare devils who throw their hats into the ring night after night, amazing spectators with their stunts. Behind the scenes they're the same people who set up everything in record time, 6 hours before the show!

"It's easy to do when you love what you do for a living, we do it because we love it," said Newman.

These fine performers typically join the circus because it's a family tradition, sometimes a 7th generation family tradition. No they don't see it as a tough life on the road, instead just a thrill to be under the big top.

"We've got a 17 year old who does a triple somersault off of a trapeze bar," said Newman.

There's a lot that goes on behind the scenes at the circus that the performers consider superstitious; like you never wear green, you never eat peanuts, you never whistle in the dressing room, and you never put your shoes on the table, because it's considered to be bad luck.

"It's things like that that are all over the circus that are fun to learn about everyday," said Newman.

Now despite popular belief, Ringling Brothers does not allow anyone to ride the elephants. When it comes to the animals, the circus says they get top priority.

"If there's a choice between water for the people or water for the animal, the animal gets the water," said Newman.

Just another member of a big, happy family impressing crowds year after year; every act a main event.

The circus will be in town all weekend. There are three performances on Saturday, and two shows Sunday. If you don't already have your tickets, you can buy them at the door at the Convocation Center.