For over 60 years now, the El Korah Shrine has been sponsoring a traveling circus. The event routinely makes stops in eastern Idaho. Monday they were in the Idaho Falls area and Tuesday they had two shows in the Gate City.
“We have animals, we have thrill acts, we have acrobats, we have singers, there’s something for everybody,” said Tess Emerson, Ringmaster for the Jordan World Circus. “It’s live entertainment. You can’t beat it and it’s all right in front of you.”
The path to circus life is as diverse as the acts themselves.
“I went to a circus school called, Circus Warehouse in Queens, New York and I actually came to this show as an aerialist and so I do flying trapeze…”said Emerson.
It was her singing ability that caught the attention of the circus owners and now Tess is a ringmaster. Daniel Weeks found another way to get to the circus life.
“I grew up riding dirt bikes and started doing this for a living and the Shrine Circus called us and so we’ve been doing these for about 3 years,” said Weeks.
Many of the entertainers will do upwards of 400 shows per year. That’s a lot of time on the road but they all say there is nowhere else they would rather be.
“It’s the kids,” said Emerson. “Seeing the kids at the show really makes my job the best. I love it when I see their face lights up. That’s when I really love my job because this is all magic to them.”
“The kids and being able to put a smile on everybody’s face,” said Weeks. “It beats a 9-5 job.”
Some of the proceeds from the circus benefit the activities of the Shriners in Idaho on this side of the 45th Parallel.
“They are assisting Shriners in doing what Shriners do, helping kids, funding parades, finding our temple operations and so on, said Ron Lester, El Korah Shrine Potentate.
The circus will be in Twin Falls Wednesday where 102-year-old Dorothy Custer plans on riding an elephant.