Circus in town for annual stint at the Shrine Auditorium

2014-03-26T17:10:00Z 2014-03-27T07:52:05Z Circus in town for annual stint at the Shrine AuditoriumBy CHRIS CIOFFI ccioffi@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

It was fun for young and old at the 63rd Al Bedoo Shrine Circus on Wednesday as audience members cheered on performers at the Shrine Auditorium.

Ladies dressed as cowgirls danced from ropes, elephants performed tricks and a chihuahua completed a death-defying jump for the crowd.

Norma Alberta said she hadn’t been to the circus since she brought her children many years ago.

The longtime resident of Red Lodge now lives in an assisted living home in Laurel, but the experience brought back memories of going to the circus in her youth.

“I think you’re still a child when you go to the circus,” she said.

The all-ages show at the Shrine, located at 1125 Broadwater Ave., was free, and bleachers had been removed so people in wheelchairs could easily move around.

Most of the people in attendance had a developmental or physical disability or currently reside in assisted living facilities.

“It gives them a chance for an outing, something they might not get often,” said Con Mike McClurg, a Shriner since 1980.

McClurg, after attending more than 250 performances, took this year’s show to heart.

He recently lost his left leg after a lengthy battle with an infection. He has been recovering at Eagle Cliff Manor, a rehabilitation facility in Billings.

“Living out there, I wanted to make sure some of the residents got a chance to see the performance,” he said.

McClurg has remained positive through the experience. He said he thinks it will help him as he interacts with Billings children who have received medical help from the Shriners.

“I think that it’s going to be an asset for me, dealing with the kids,” he said.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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