By Tim Leeds
Jordan World Circus will present the Havre Shrine Circus at the Great Northern Fairgrounds Wednesday, June 28.
There will be two shows, one at 2 p.m. and one at 7 p.m. They will be held in the Bigger, Better Barn if the weather is bad.
Along with the ringmaster, clowns, acrobats, and circus refreshments, the Jordan Circus brings some top-billed entertainment.
One of the first performances scheduled for the show is The Amazing Hoffmans, who bring a selection of big cats, all on the endangered species list. People at the circus will see Apollo, a royal Bengal tiger; Zimba and Sheba, Asian black panthers; Athena, a very rare Lemurian spotted leopard, and Thor, a Florida panther, the rarest of all subspecies of cougars. The Hoffmans use an array of costumes, props and presentation styles to bring an entertaining and educational show to the circus.
Yaro Hoffman, a seventh-generation circus performer who works with his wife Barbara and daughter Rachael, said "Our purpose is to educate and acquaint people people with these beautiful creatures and to raise people's level of consciousness about the need to preserve endangered species."
The Hoffmans pay special attention to the needs and care of the animals. They ensure they receive proper diet, and are a wealth of information about each animal's background, breeding, care and future.
The Hansen family, known professionally as the "Rolling Diamonds," are also featured performers. Young Shane, with his wife Alicia (he is 25 and she is 21,) is continuing work begun by his family in Denmark some 30 years ago. The act includes rollerskating on a small circular platform four feet above the ring, as well as Shane juggling nine rings and Alecia's aerial cloudswing presentation, given later in the show.
The founders and producers of the show, the Jordan's, have developed an act of their own that is featured just before the intermission. Patsy Jordan, founder, and her late husband, John, were both born to circus performers. Her son Jody, one of the youngest producers in the circus world, is the trainer of the Jordan Danger Zone Riders.
The Jordan riders will perform their Globe of Death, in which two or more motorcycle riders speed around a giant steel sphere made of open steel mesh. The act was on display for 10 years at Circus Circus Casino in Reno, Nev., and now they take it on the road with their traveling circus.
After the intermission, trapeze artists, aerial acrobats, clowning and trained bears are among the acts leading up to Gary Thomas's presentation of trained elephants, the last act before the Stars and Stripes Forever is played and the farewell exit march begins.
This is the 93rd year the Shriners have put on circuses. The annual shows are the main fund-raiser for the group's children's hospitals, where patients receive orthopedic, burn and spinal cord injury care. The treatment is free of charge, and local Shrine clubs provide free transportation to the hospitals.
The first Shrine Circus was presented in Detroit at the local Light Guard Armory. Although that building was demolished several years ago, a state historical marker commemorates the site's contribution to circus history. The Detroit Shrine Circus continues to grow, giving some 40 performances over 17 days; the largest Shrine Circus as well as the oldest.
Shrine circuses were being presented across the country by 1920. Today at least one circus is presented somewhere almost every week from January through November.
Advance tickets for the show are $7 for adults, and are $7.50 for adults and $2.50 for children at the gate. See your local merchants for free tickets for children. Tickets are available at Hank Tweeten's Auto Body, Tire-Rama and Northern Insurance.