Circus coming to Steamboat Springs |

Circus coming to Steamboat Springs

Carson & Barnes Circus will pack performances with elephants, daredevils and contortionists

Marcus Vela said what happens under a big tent in Steamboat Springs on Wednesday night will be intoxicating.

"Right when you enter, you're going to get hit with the smell of popcorn, cotton candy, elephants and hay," said the director of media relations for the Carson & Barnes Circus. "That's what a circus should be. It's not going to be an air-conditioned arena where you have to sit 400 feet above the ring. You're going to be 20 to 25 feet away and right on top of the show."

The circus will pitch a big tent at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena and offer two shows Wednesday starting at 4:30 p.m. Entering center ring will be elephants, clowns, trapeze artists, daredevils and contortionists.

"It's very up close and personal," Vela said of the circus. "You're getting world class performers who feed off of the energy of the crowds. You cannot even go to a zoo and get as close to an elephant" as you'll be able to Wednesday.

Started in 1937, the Carson & Barnes Circus markets itself as the world's "biggest big top circus." Vela said the performers travel to more than 200 towns each season, including Steamboat, Craig and Meeker this year.

He added while the circus's main attraction tends to be its elephants, there will be plenty of human attractions.

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After a patriotic parade Wednesday night, an actor will ride a dirt bike across a high wire during the "motorcycle trapeze." More than 30 performers will put on the show that lasts about two hours.

Vela said proceeds from Wednesday's circus will benefit the Endangered Ark Foundation, a nonprofit that works to preserve the endangered Asian Elephant and other endangered animals. Tickets purchased in advance at cost $14 for adults, and $6 for children. Tickets at the door cost $2 more.

"You'll see the circus one night, and you'll wake up the next morning and it's gone," Vela said. "That's always been part of the magic."

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email

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