Dean Kelley was 4 years old the first time he went to the circus and hes had a love affair with the big top ever since.
I saw the clowns and I was just enamored, said the now 31-year-old Kelley during a recent telephone interview. After that, he went to the circus every year when it came through his hometown of Kansas City, Kansas. His parents thought hed grow out of it.
Kelley has been touring with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey for six years as a clown. This weekend hell serve as the pre-show host for the Barnum Bash, the newest show from the storied traveling circus.
Audiences can expect typical circus fare, including elephants, juggling and acrobatics, but there are also a few newer elements to the show, such as Motorcycle Mania, the Wheel of Steel and the Globe of Steel.
Theres also the Mighty Demetri, who will challenge an audience member to a feat of strength.
Theres something for everybody, said Kelley, who added that his favorite part of his job is watching the audience react to the show, especially when the parents response is as excited as the kids.
But the thrill and excitement isnt lost on Kelley just because hes around it every day.
Every day I get to pet an elephant, he said. And every day theres one thing that reminds me why I do what I do.
Whether thats a kid running up to give him a hug or a 95-year-old experiencing a circus for the first time, Kelly recognizes how fortunate he is to get to travel with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey.
They dont call us the Greatest Show on Earth for nothing, he said.