Tuesday, January 19, 2010

CONGRATULATIONS! Ring of Fame Inductions 2010

Congratulations to the 2010 inductees of the Circus Ring of Fame. (l to r) Bill and Carol Hall (sponsors); Sue and Rudi Lenz, inductees; Shelagh Yelding-Sloan (sponsor), Brigitte (sponsor) and John Pugh, inductee. (Photo courtesy of Jack Ryan)

Circus Ring of Fame Honors Legendary Performers

Ceremony Applauds Contributions to Circus Arts

The official program (below) for the 2010 23rd Annual St Armands Circle Ring of Fame induction ceremony outlined the activities held in St Arrnands Circle Park but left out the best part: As each person took the podium, we heard circus history firsthand.

The crowd loved every minute of the event. Wild applause came easily. Tourists sensed the excitement and joined the crowd to celebrate six giants of the circus arts.

Rousing circus music set the mood, thanks to the Sarasota Concert Band under the baton of Charles Schlarbaum. The Honorable Richard Clapp, mayor of Sarasota, highlighted recent local circus news, including the unveiling of a historical marker at the former home of circus greats Karl and Helen Wallenda and the announcement about expansion plans for the Circus Museum at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

Master of Ceremonies Chuck Sidlow created mini-shows for each inductee. First a speaker introduced the honoree. Then Sidlow called the circus star forward and placed a lavalier with the Circus Ring ofFame medal around the person's neck in Olympic fashion. Then the emcee read aloud the individual commendation.

Renowned Chimpanzee Trainers Rudi and Sue Lenz were first up, followed by John Pugh of Cole Bros. Circus, Animal Trainer Manuel "Junior" Ruffin, Trapeze Artist Tony Steele, Highwire Walker Tino Wallenda-Zoppe and the multi-talented Dime Wilson Family. Follow the links to read in-depth about each of these legendary performers.

After the inductions and sponsor recognition, everyone adjourned to the southeast side of St. Armands Circle Park and six new plaques swaddled in a red covering. After Sidlow counted 1-2-3 and blew a whistle, the inductees whisked off the wraps and posed for the cameras.

Tino Wallenda - Zoppe, Kathy Nelson, Penny Wilson Rodriguez, Trudy Strong, Donna Bannister, Linda Wilson

The Wilsons (Photos courtesy of Tracey Degirolamo Bannister)

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