Kosair Shrine Circus amazes audiences for nearly 90 years


by Johnny Archer with C.J. Daniels (web story)


Posted on February 9, 2013 at 10:10 PM

Updated Sunday, Feb 10 at 5:13 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Year after year, the Kosair Shrine Circus packs in crowds at Broadbent Arena.

The acrobatics, the wild animals and colorful clowns incite the blossoming imaginations of children who've attended for almost 90 years.

Tricky is one of 40 Kosair clowns in Louisville. He became a clown a year ago after visiting children at Kosair Children’s Hospital.

“People that have been to Kosair know what it’s like. There are some families that have been there for months and months,” Tricky said. “[And] when you go in there and make a kid smile who hasn’t smiled in a month and forget their problems for 5 minutes.”

That is just one of many reasons why the Shriners continue to bring the circus to Louisville each year.

They draw thousands just to watch circus entertainers perform their best material.

For many of those associated with the circus, it’s much more than a career. It’s the nostalgia of being born and raised within the circus circuit.

Trapeze artist Rolando Bell hails from Mexico. Both his parents were born in the circus.

“I was born in the circus. I did a lot of things; the trampoline, the unicycle. I worked with animals 21 years and then I started to work with the flying trapeze,” Bell said.

Bell said his son is also continuing the tradition of being in the circus.

Bell says he’s constantly on the road but no matter where he’s performing, there’s guaranteed to be smiles on many young faces in the crowd.