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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Believe it or not... » » My Day With The Big Circus Sideshow (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Eric the Excellent
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Montana
234 Posts

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Hello, eveybody. Here's an account of my day at The Big Circus Sideshow, if you're interested. Up here in Montana opportunities to see something like this are pretty rare and I know some of you folks reading this have probably never made it out to see an honest to goodness sideshow.

In real life I am a nursing student and with one semester to go until I get my RN I've been exploring options for once I get out in the real world. (Options that do not always include medicine.) So, I've been asking around different freakshows about what employment is like. That's how I initially got in touch with The Curator of the Unusual, Mr. Jim Zajicek. We talked a bit via The Café' and I hopped at the invitation to come check out his show while it was on its way through Montana.

I pulled into The Montana State Fair, given a warm welcome by Mr. Zajicek, given a tour of his show and the many oddities it contains, and introduced to the animal attractions. (If you ever get a chance to, go see it!) Afterwords I was introduced to the staff, all very nice people.

I admit to some trepidation; before that day I had never met another fire-eater besides my teacher. (Kinda few and far between up here.) I was glad to learn that I fit right in and held my own, skill-wise. I was even given some wonderful pointers on sword swallowing by Richard, a performer who's routine involved swallowing a sword and juggling with it down his throat (and a fire act, too boot.)

The stories had to have been the best part; I hung out next to the ticket booth most of the day just talking with whichever staff member happened to be there. One of the guys, Racetrack, seemed like he'd been doing this literally forever. (It was later confirmed to me that yes, he had in fact been doing this for an eternity.) And he had the stories to prove it...

After wandering the fair for a bit and ingesting some wonderful/horrible carnival food I came back to the sideshow and was given a backstage tour; the trailers (beautiful), the portable shower, the equipment (including handmade automatic stake drivers and pullers), the staff's living quarters... Mr. Zajicek was adamant that I see how his staff lived like normal people and not like stereotypical drugged up carnies, crashed under trailers and living day to day by fleecing spectators.

As evening wore on I was invited to grab my torches and play around for a while. Jay, a “cagey” magician by nature even offered me a chance to take the stage, do my fire routine, and make a couple of pitches. I sold a grand total of one books, woohoo!

Anyway, it was a lot of fun and I was made to feel very at home. Heck, half of the reason why I am writing this is because I did not know what to expect and I wager a fair share of you don't know, either. Time and time again, people “warned” me of nasty, sleazy, drugged up freaks living like animals...

Instead, all I met were genuinely nice, interesting, and impressive human beings.

So thanks guys, it was an experience and a half; I hope I'm lucky enough to end up in a troupe like yours.
Rick West
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Texas
243 Posts

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Eric, thanks for taking the time to write about your visit to the Big Cirus Sideshow.
Jim has one of the nicest sideshows still touring...a show for the entire family and
priced so everyone can afford to see the show. Every year Jim adds something new...
a new attraction, new banners or new talent to the lineup. I look forward to seeing
the new Daisy Mae display later this summer.
"Never let the truth stand in the way of a good jackpot"

"You say things sometimes, you don't know what the hell you mean. But you're sincere when you say it." Bob Dylan
Mr. Pitts
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David Pitts
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I've visited with Jim at his show a couple of times. He's a good guy and a real professional in outdoor show business. I had a great time every time I visited. I got a chance to work the bally too, it was a lot of fun. Jim really makes you feel welcome. Rick West took the picture of Henry and me in my avatar when we were on Jim's bally stage. What a great day!
David Pitts
The Astonishing Mr. Pitts
Comedy Magician and Ventriloquist
http://www.mrpitts.com
Jim Hand
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Ocala,Fl.
137 Posts

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I have painted circus and carnival equipment for over 54 years and I consider my work being part of the BIG CIRCUS SIDESHOW an honor... The Curator is always a pleasure to talk to and a gentlemen to do business with... I traveled with the BCS for a few weeks several years ago and have fond memories of the expierence... Jim and RaceTrack are real " old school " showmen who believe " This year show, sells next year tickets ". I consider both my friends.
The Curator of the Unusual
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Tampa FL
1399 Posts

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Enjoyed having Eric stop by...It was excellent!!..

http://api.ning.com/files/FKY2Wfcqp3ykHu......0361.JPG
You come to a point in your life when you really don't care what people think about you, you just care what you think about yourself.
Evel Knievel

contact: curatoroftheunusual@hotmail.com
Rotten
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833 Posts

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What a great experience for you! I'm so happy Jim showered, sobered up and hid the staffs cages.

Amazing banner line and cool pic too! With the exception of Jim's hand in his pocket holding his alfalfa.
Eric the Excellent
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Montana
234 Posts

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It's reassuring to know that, in this day and age, people can still be professional enough to hide their staff's cages, eh Rotten?

I love how that picture turned out; the colors really pop right out at you. Thanks for posting it!
The Curator of the Unusual
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Inner circle
Tampa FL
1399 Posts

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Eric the Excellent entertains the People in the BCS...

http://api.ning.com/files/BRJZJzqTpgwvBs......0348.JPG
You come to a point in your life when you really don't care what people think about you, you just care what you think about yourself.
Evel Knievel

contact: curatoroftheunusual@hotmail.com
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