Shrine Circus' business booming, despite competitor shutting dow - WNEM TV 5

Shrine Circus' business booming, despite competitor shutting down

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

The chairman of the company that owns Ringling Brothers Circus said its demise was years in the making.

The announcement came as the Shrine Circus is entertaining families this week in Mid-Michigan.

Robert Swartwood, with the Shrine Circus, said the news of their competitor's fate is sad, but his circus is not going anywhere.

He said the Ringling Brothers' decision to stop including elephants and other exotic animals in their shows may have caused the shut down. He said the Shrine will not be following their footsteps.

"Whatever they do is their business. But that doesn't affect us. Our animals get the best care. I can assure you that," Swartwood said.

The Ringling Brothers announced on Monday it was closing due to high operating costs and low ticket sales. The show removed elephants from their line up because of criticism from animal rights groups.

"I do wonder how well the animals are treated behind the scenes and all that. Hopefully they are treated well," said Marleen Escue, circus patron.

Joey Frisco is the elephant trainer at the show. He said the animal's health is their number one priority.

"We are taking care of the animals like we always do. That's the most important part and we want all the people to know that," Frisco said.

As for Swartwood, he said ticket sales are booming and could get even better now that there will be less competition. He said it's important for them to stay open because the proceeds from the Shrine Circus go to children hospitals across the country.

"We have no intention of not continuing. We will be in Flint and Saginaw, hopefully forever," Swartwood said.

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