Make way for elephants as Shrine Circus comes July 5

Managing Editor

Spiderman swings high above the crowd, one of several acrobatic acts at last year's production of the Jordan World Circus. The Central Montana Shrine club will bring the circus to town again this year on July 5.
Photo by Charlie Denison

Here come the elephants – not to mention tigers, jugglers, clowns and acrobats -- when Lewistown hosts the Jordan World Circus on Wednesday, July 5 at 2 and 7 p.m.

Sponsored by the Central Montana Shrine Club, the Las Vegas-based circus is bringing its three rings to the Fergus County Fairgrounds for the 67th time, according to Shrine Club Secretary George Dengel.

“We’ve been bringing the circus to town for almost 70 years, and we’ll keep doing it as long as we’re still in business and they’re still in business,” Dengel said. “It’s a labor of love and it’s for the kids. We’ve never charged for any child to go, and we never, never will.”

Dengel said in addition to the circus acts, there will be traditional circus food available, and animal rides for kids during intermission.

While children’s tickets are free, adult tickets are not – but the money goes to a good cause. Proceeds from the event will be divided between the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children – Spokane and paying the travel costs for families with children getting services at the hospital.

“There’s no cost to the families for medical care for the children that have to go there,” Dengel said. “They have a place there for the parents to stay while the kids are getting treatment, which is also at no charge.

“On the first visit both parents’ costs are covered, and after that the fund covers one parent.” Dengel added, explaining there are 22 Shriner’s hospitals in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and three institutes dedicated to caring for burn vicitms.

Dengel said he became a Shriner in 1979, has been the chairman of the circus committee for 20 years, and has sponsored five kids to go to the Shriner’s hospital.

“My dad was a Shriner,” Dengel said. “I had my mind made up I wasn’t going to get involved, but then I sponsored a girl to go to the Spokane hospital and that was the start of it.”

Circus tickets for children in Lewistown, Moore, Hobson, Denton, Grass Range, Winnett and Winifred were distributed through the schools. Tickets for children ages 14 and under are pre-paid, bought by donations from the community and by the Shriners themselves, Dengel said.

“When they hand out the report cards there’s a ticket in them,” Dengel explained.

However, he said, if a family has lost their child’s ticket, they can come to the circus anyway and the Shriners will make sure the children are able to get in.

“This is all for the kids,” Dengel said.


Circus Schedule

What: Jordan World Circus

When: Wednesday, July 5, two shows: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Where: Fergus County Fairgrounds



What is your favorite part of the Fair?