Ringling Circus Closes; Clowns Say Goodbye

Pricilla Mooseburger January 25, 2017 

Unless you live under a rock, you have heard of the closing of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus by the owners, the Feld family.

Many of you know my long-time connection to the circus. But if you don’t, here it is in brief:

Family History with Ringling/Feld Entertainment

Ringling Circus Clown College Class of 1982


My circus promo photo

– Tricia Manuel went to RBBBC Clown College in 1982; one of the four female clowns hired by Irvin Feld (eleven clowns were hired out of the sixty graduates).

  • Toured with the Blue Unit 1983-1985.
  • Performed at the “Circus at Disneyland” for three consecutive 10-week seasons 1986-1988. Also performed in clown shows for Feld productions of “Musicfest” across the country those same years.
  • Designed clown costumes for the three Feld daughters for the 20th anniversary of Clown College in 1988.
  • Designed clown gag costumes for the Gold Unit tour of Japan in 1989.
  • Designed clown gag costumes for Clown College in 1989.

– Daughter Julia Bothun hired as a clown for Ringling Circus Red Unit 2014-2016.

– Son DJ Weiss hired as a clown for Ringling circus Blue Unit 2012-2015, Red Unit 2017.

I have counseled, encouraged, coached and consoled circus clown hopefuls.

Some achieved their goals; others did not. But it was worth the chase no matter what happened.  Over the years I have made many costumes that have toured with the big show.


Sad Clowns as the elephants leave for the last time.

Photo taken during the final elephant show


“The Greatest Show on Earth” is no more

To say I have a heavy heart is an understatement.

The end of Ringling in the form as we know it is devastating.

As my son, who is currently a clown with the Red Unit, has told me, “Mom, every show is someone’s last show. All these families who have come to see the circus for years are losing a family tradition.”

We have already said good-bye to the elephants. (you really don’t want to get me started on that)

I even got to ride the elephants!

Good-bye, Ringling

Ringling Circus will close in May 2017.

No more train runs, no more load ins, no more opening nights, no new cities to explore, no audiences to thrill.

After 146 years, just one last move out.

It is an end of an era of a special kind of entertainment.

There are still other circuses out there and I encourage you to support them.

But Ringling over the years in its purest form was the “Greatest Show on Earth.”

 * SIGH *


The ache in my heart is like that of the death of a loved one.

I can’t console my children or my clown friends enough.

There are no words to express the true meaning of this loss.



We will love the days we have left, and hold the circus in all its forms deep within our hearts.

As the clowns, animals, performers, concessionaires, working men and women, train crew, promoters, and office staff scatter across the globe like the seeds of a dandelion in a brisk wind, I hope they will bloom where they are planted and something new can begin.


Learn more about the art of clowning with Moosburger Originals. 





(Posted by N)