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Nobody roams with Culpepper and Merriweather for the money. Certainly not David Volponi. On stilts, he is nine feet tall. On the ground, he is 5 feet, 8 inches of peace--soft-spoken, always smiling, a gentle soul. The circus is his sanctuary against an outside world, its hard knocks and false friendships. Five years ago, Culpepper and Merriweather visited Volponi's home town of Groveland, near Yosemite National Park. He walked on stilts to promote the circus for the local Lion's Club. "Mr.
October 28, 1990 | Reuters
A circus Bengal tiger escaped from its handler during a parade and killed 1-year-old Oscar Mejia, a police spokesman said Saturday. The attack happened Friday as the circus troupe paraded through the small town of Candelaria, about 190 miles southwest of Bogota, to publicize their show. Firefighters cornered the tiger and rescued the child, but he died of claw wounds.
January 15, 1994 | From Reuters
Investigators focused on a possible broken wheel in the probe of a Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus train derailment that killed two performers, federal officials said Friday. "A wheel was possibly involved in the accident. We are attempting to locate as many parts of the wheel as possible," said Jim Hall, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board. Once collected, the pieces of the metal wheel will be sent to the safety board laboratory in Washington, D.C.
October 8, 1988 | United Press International
A tiger that escaped during a circus show in northern Shanxi province mauled an 8-year-old boy and sent hundreds of panic-stricken spectators fleeing in pandemonium, the Workers' Daily newspaper said Friday. At least 40 people fainted with fear when the 2-year-old tiger burst out of its cage during a circus performance last month in Yanggao county in Shanxi province, about 130 miles west of Beijing, the paper said. The boy suffered severe lacerations.
July 19, 1997 | DEBRA CANO
Dressed in baggy plaid knickers with suspenders, oversized shoes that looked like big boxing gloves and a bright red bubble-like nose, Michael O'Neill clowned around this week and gave children at Anaheim Central Library a preview of the circus. He stood on his head, performed magic acts, read a story about Harriett the elephant going to the circus and juggled balls, clubs, sticks and scarves to the oohs and ahs of more than 100 children and parents.
April 9, 1997 | CATHY WERBLIN
As Cirque du Soleil is about to furl its Orange County big top, Circus Vargas may be taking its place in the center ring of controversy. Circus Vargas has filed for a city event permit, asking to hold its show in the city beginning April 28. Even before the circus had filed for the permit, more than a dozen animal-rights activists had urged city officials to deny it access to Garden Grove.
May 16, 1997 | STEVE CARNEY
Circus Vargas has won approval to perform at the Huntington Center Mall in July, despite complaints from animal-rights activists. The circus had been granted a permit, but that approval was put on hold until a zoning hearing this week. City Councilman Tom Harman said the activists were not aware of the first meeting, in April, and asked for another hearing so they could voice their concerns.
November 23, 2002 | Lee Margulies
Cirque Eos, a 4-year-old Canadian troupe of jugglers, acrobats and high-wire artists, has pulled the plug on its North American tour, which was to have included stops in Los Angeles and Costa Mesa. "Unfortunately, our tour has not been as financially successful as we had hoped.... We are going to have to find a new way to develop this territory," Cirque Eos President Michel Rousseau said in a news release. The group of 20 performers had been scheduled to appear at Dodger Stadium Dec.
May 23, 2004 | From Times Wire Reports
A circus performer was injured when she fell 30 feet to a concrete floor during a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus show in St. Paul. Witnesses said Dessi Espana was twirling near the top of a long piece of chiffon hanging from a metal bar when the cloth gave way. Another performer on an adjacent piece of chiffon was not injured, circus spokeswoman Alexis Copeland said. Espana was taken to a St. Paul hospital.
August 5, 1989 | DENNIS McDOUGAL, Times Staff Writer
Blame it on big-budget, thriller-killer movies a la "Batman" or "Indiana Jones," or reality-based tabloid TV, with its re-created moments of death-defying accidents and murder. Or lay it to the emotion-numbing, stark reality of daily hostage headlines in every newspaper in North America. Whatever it is, the circus just doesn't quite provide the thrill quotient it once did, if you're fortysomething. The 119th edition of Ringling Bros.
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