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Going to the Circus and death by a jump rope

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    dough boy | Male | 46 years old | Kansas City

"Why do today what you can put off 'til tomorrow"

Programmer by day, comic nerd by night. My official job title is "Director of Janitorial Engineering"

February 2024




So we made the annual pilgrimage to the circus on Saturday night with our free tickets.  My wife's Grandfather used to be in the Shriner's so we get comped general admission tickets for free.

Lexi is still too young to understand what is going on.  She had more fun sitting on her aunt's lap and playing with some cheap neon bracelets.  I don't really get anything out of it...but this time I did come away with some questions.

So I was curious as to how a circus functioned.  I mean it is obvious people doing things, and animals and the such...but how does it make money?  I mean everything is a business and has to make money or else there would be no reason for it right?

Obviously one of the biggest money makers had to be the chinese made light toys.  Pretty much 50% of the kids had one...and at $10 a pop (minus the $.50 it cost to make) is a pretty hefty profit.

Then of course there is the intermission.  This lasts about 30 minutes and after the first half was 1.5 hours and the second half being 45 minutes my wife had to ask "Why do they have to have an intermission?  Couldn't they just do without it so we could get out of here sooner?"  Little does she know this is a money maker and that is the only reason.

They had elephant rides, pony rides, and air bouncy things setup...all of which cost money.  They also gave away a boys and girls bike...of course you could enter for fees as well.

Now that we have a revenue source...my next question is how much do they have to make?  When I look at the performers (i.e. the 7 year old trapeze girl)...how much does she earn?

Also...some of them are only out there for a few minutes.  Then I wondered...are some of them multi-talented?  I.e. do they do multiple things.  My answer came soon when I saw a big "mexican" guy that performed with 3 different "groups" - I think they called them "troups".

But tonight was the night of a jump rope death.  It started off with a group that did some group jump roping and stuff...one of the guys tripped right out of the gate...this was a sign of things to come.

Then there is the big mouse wheel thing that spins around and a guy runs around it, jump rope arounds it, and even walks blindfolded around it...all on the outside.  On his downward turn he got te rope caught under his foot and he fell.  Luckily he grabbed the wheel thing and was able to recover.

Then there was the tightrope walkers.  I asked my wife if they have ever tried out for the olympics.  I would think they would be pretty good at the balance beam.  But anyways, one of them pulls out a jump rope and proceeds to jumprope across the high wire.  But he too had problems and got his leg caught in the rope...and there is not much to grab onto.  He tumbled down and fell over the side...barely catching himself with the crook of his knee (he was dangling upsode down).

We knew it was serious when his partner lunged for him and there was a flurry of activity on the ground.  He righted himself and sat there...catching his breath and realizing how close he came to serious damage. (The Mrs. said that he would only break a few bones...but I told her he was heading for a broken neck).  The ring master came out and asked if he was alright and then proceeded to ask the crowd to make some noise for him to regain some confidence.

He continued on and everything finished with no damage done.  These guys are probably 30-40 feet up in the air with nothing under them and no safety wires.  All it takes is one person dying for the whole industry to be regulated.

Another thing I found weird was the music.  They had the theme from Star Wars, the them from Planet of the Apes, and music from U2 (Vertigo).

  • Nov 24, '08 by 1573's avatar 1573
  • gee, sounds like the near accidents and the music were the most exciting things. ever wonder how much of the "near death accidents" are staged to add some needed excitement?
  • Dec 1, '08 by arbogasts's avatar arbogasts
  • just watch curious george meets the zucchinis http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAc0hNX5Bz4
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