Friday, June 01, 2012

..Shrine Circus: Family affair..

..Jeffery The Clown..

..James Plunkett..

A few sprinkles didn't damper the spirit at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds Thursday afternoon.
The circus was in town.
The show began with the dog act and Jeffrey Plunkett followed
with an entertaining clown act, driving in with an old car.
The car quit in the ring. Jeffery danced around, encouraging the crowd
to clap and stomp their feet. After the roar died down,
Jeffery tinkered with the engine and pulled a skunk out from
 under the hood. He tried lots of things to start the car,
with lots of comical results.
A few raindrops fell, but Jeffrey’s antics and the crowd’s
 laughter seemed to be what as needed to chase the dark clouds
 away and bring the sun.
Then came beautiful women twirling hula hoops followed
by miniature horses.
The Tehama Shrine Circus, now 53-years-old, performed twice in
 North Platte Thursday, at 2 p.m. and at 6 p.m.
Organizer Bob Peal from North Platte's Tehama Shriners said they
 try to bring the circus to North Platte as early in the spring as they can.
The circus has a busy route.On Wednesday it was in McCook and
will be in Sidney on Friday.
The Shriners were happy with attendance – nearly 550 –
especially considering that the show started under dark clouds
and a few sprinkles.
Peal said this is the North Platte Shriner’s primary fund raiser
 of the year, next to selling Vidalia onions, which they do each fall.
Peal is also looking forward to the next Shriner event, riding mini-cars
 (puddle jumpers) in the Nebraskaland Days parade.
Before the excitement started, the cotton candy stand attracted a
 lot of attention, as Jeffrey the Clown was sold the candy. Samuel
and Rebekah Troshnski and step-sister Rachel Simonson of Missouri,
all with sticks of cotton candy, were excited to be there. This is
their first circus in North Platte, as they just moved here from
Columbia, Mo.
But this was the fourth year Rachel, Maddie and Sydney Hatch,
ages 10-6, of North Platte attended. Their friends Jill Dombrowski
and Terry Fashching look forward to bringing them. All three
children got their faces painted and were excited to see the performances.
Performing in this circus is a family tradition, as much or more
than attending.
James Plunkett is the owner and ringmaster. His brother Jeffrey
 is the clown.
They were born in Dickens and now live in Maybank, Texas.
Their grandfather Ed Plunkett began singing and dancing in
 Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show when he was only six-years-old,
Jeffery said.
His father Marlin Plunkett was born in a storm cellar in 1928
and also started performing as a child. Plunkett said nearly
everyone in the family followed in grandfather Ed's footprint and
still perform in circuses around the United States.
The family left the Dickens area and moved to Texas around
the time World War II began. They stopped performing to
help in the war effort. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor,
five uncles went down to enlist. One was too young but four
served during the war. Grandpa Ed worked in San Antonia in
 an airplane factory.
In the mid-50s, 11 members of the family formed the Plunkett
 Stage Show. Jeffery said it was a three-act repertory show
that performed on three days a week, three performances a day.
Shrine circus crewmembers and performers Daniel Rodriguez
and Angelo Toscano, both from Las Vegas, also come from
generations of circus performers and both started performing
when they were six-years-old. Rodriguez is from Columbia and
Toscano is from Argentina.
Ringmaster Jairo Ojeda of Dallas is 21, and along with his two
 sisters and one brother, they are fifth-generation circus performers.
The circus begins touring each year in February and takes the
summer and winter months off. In September they start again,
touring for six weeks in the southeastern states.

The North Platte Bulletin - Published 5/31/2012
Copyright © 2012 - All rights reserved.
Flatrock Publishing, Inc. - 1300 E 4th St., Suite F - North Platte, NE 69101