1. Tony Steele Flys into The Wenatchee Youth Circus

2. Feeding the Wenatchee Youth Circus in 2012

3. The Wenatchee Youth Circus' Amazing Summer of 2011

4. Wenatchee Youth Circus 2011 Photo Album

5. Getting Ready for the Circus Season 2011

6. The Wenatchee Youth Circus Comes to Town

The above links go to fantastic WYC 2011, 2012 and 2013 pictorial stories and a colorful picture album

...written by 4th-year performer McKenzie Madland and presented by Circus4Youth's editor Jim Cole.

The 6th-link is a story by Pete Adams, former president of Circus Fans of America.

(or see it all by just scrolling down this page)


Story Link Details

1. Tony Steele Flys into The Wenatchee Youth Circus

(see this story directly below, or by clicking on the Circus4Youth link above)

Written by McKenzie Madland, 4th-year performer for the Wenatchee Youth Circus 

Pictures by Mark Madland

Submitted by Editor on 7/13/2013  -  Edited by Jim Cole of Circus4Youth


2. Feeding the Wenatchee Youth Circus in 2012

(see this story directly below, or by clicking on the Circus4Youth link above)

Written by McKenzie Madland, 3rd-year performer for the Wenatchee Youth Circus 

Pictures by Mark Madland, Don Eggerud and Barbe Eggerud

Submitted by Editor on 8/23/2012  -  Edited by Jim Cole of Circus4Youth


3. The Wenatchee Youth Circus' Amazing Summer of 2011

(see this story directly below, or by clicking on the Circus4Youth link above)

Written by McKenzie Madland, 2nd-year performer for the Wenatchee Youth Circus 

Pictures by Mark Madland, Don Eggerud and Barbe Eggerud

Submitted by Editor on 10/30/2011 - Edited by Jim Cole of Circus4Youth


4. Wenatchee Youth Circus 2011 Photo Album

(see this story scrolling further down the page, or by clicking on the Circus4Youth link above)

Written by McKenzie Madland, second year performer for the Wenatchee Youth Circus 

Pictures by Mark Madland, Don Eggerud and Barbe Eggerud

Submitted by Editor on 5/22/2011 - Edited by Jim Cole of Circus4Youth


5. Getting Ready for the Circus Season 2011

(see this story scrolling further down the page, or by clicking on the Circus4Youth link above)

Pictures by Mark Madland, Don Eggerud and Barbe Eggerud

Submitted by Editor on 11/3/2011 - Edited by Jim Cole of Circus4Youth


6. The Wenatchee Youth Circus Comes to Town

(see this story scrolling down the page near the bottom.

Submitted by Pete Adams




2013 Article

1. Tony Steele Flys into The Wenatchee Youth Circus 

Submitted by McKenzie Madland on   7/13/2013
Last Modified




Imagine spending a month with Hall-of–Fame Pro athletes and learning basketball from the likes of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson or Larry Bird… or football from Joe Montana, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady… or baseball from Babe Ruth, Willie Mays or Hank Aaron… or Flying Trapeze from Miguel Vazquez, Tito Gaona or TONY STEELE!

Athlete stars such as Michael Jordan and Babe Ruth have always
been positive role models for kids.


Flying Trapeze Legend and Ring of Fame recipient Tony Steele! 

Tony demonstrates trapeze techniques to the Wenatchee Youth Circus flyers.


The Wenatchee Youth Circus (WYC) let its imagination run wild and magically Tony Steele magically flew into Wenatchee  as guest trainer at WYC for a month.  Tony concluded his trip by performing with our flyers in WYC’s spectacular first show of the 2013 season. 

Weeks before his arrival in Wenatchee, Tony studies the flying act
on video at the Circus4Youth office in Florida.

Tony's patience and clear instructions accomplished a lot in only one month!

Tony joined the act at the WYC opening show in Plain, Washington.

Our Circus will never be the same!

Tony working with Billy, and a "Forward Over" to Cole.


Just in case you’ve been living under a circus rock, Tony is an international Ring-of Fame recipient for his many accomplishments during 60 years of professionally headlining on Flying Trapeze throughout the world.  You will find Tony in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first flyer to successfully complete a 3½ backwards somersault (in 1962); a trick repeated by only about 3 other flyers for many years, and to this day, only a very few flyers since then!

Tony has performed all over the world!

Flying Trapeze training doesn't get much better than this!


Within a day of his arrival, Tony found himself entertaining a crowd of 50,000 as he rode through the annual Wenatchee Apple Blossom Festival Parade on the WYC float.  Immediately following at our practice lot, Tony scaled the rope-ladder to the fly platform and then scared the pee out of everyone else watching except our fly crew, who Tony told to be watching for his trick.  Without hesitation, Tony swung out, turned on the bar, but clumsily banged into the platform, tumbling over it to end up dangling by one arm (see picture).

Tony in the Wenatchee Apple Blossom Parade.


The Wenatchee Youth Circus parades in front of 50,000 people!

Tony's joke on us...it scared the heck out of everyone!


This was one scary move and even worse to see an older guy in a terrible stumble 20 feet above the ground.  Pure shock came over all of the circus people watching from below.  Could it have been a stroke?  A heart attack?   NOPE!   It was just a “welcome trick” from a 76 year old flying trapeze headliner who still entertains audiences in true circus fashion after all those years.  I very much enjoyed my month with the legendary and incomparable, Mr. Tony Steele.

Tony with McKenzie Madland and her dad Mark.

Tony throws a half turn to catcher Cole.


Tony’s trick of “stumbling over the fly platform” was a surprise to everyone.  After all, his resume shows him as first in history to complete the Double Layout, 2½ with Full Twist, in addition to the Backward 3½.  Amazingly, Tony is still doing Backward Doubles.  In a nutshell, all of us girls now love “Uncle Tony” and the guys “just wish” they could do the things he does.

A 50 year friendship, Tony with the WYC founder and
former director (for 60 years), Paul Pugh.

The WYC trainer and coach Brandon Brown, who enjoyed working
with Tony and learned a lot of new training skills.


I could go on about how Uncle Tony worked tirelessly helping to train our flying crew as well as what all was accomplished, such as my progress on the “Seat-Roll”, successful “Legs”, etc., etc., etc.  But, what I bet you really want to know is the man underneath that Sea Captain’s hat.  Until you have met the man, you would never, ever have the REAL story about the Flying man of Steele.  At 76, Tony can still do quite a few things, including the backwards double, forward over, seat-roll, pirouettes and much more.  I got to know Tony very well while he stayed with my family for the time he was in Wenatchee. 

Tony is no stranger on a circus lot.  This is Xan Kaplan, an aerialist with
Cole Bros. Circus with "Uncle Tony".  He made a big hit with our dogs as well!



Here is my list of what I know about Uncle Tony Steele after hanging out with him for a month:


Has never met a girl he didn’t like or truly appreciate.


Still practices on flying trapeze at least 3 days a week


While in Wenatchee, practiced 15 days in a row


Expertly extended the WYC Fly net an additional 10ft behind the catcher to ensure Flyer safety.



Has a sharp eye on Flying Trapeze technique, as well as sharp edge on his joke telling, some of the jokes he tells to adults cannot be repeated here!



Completely dedicated to promoting the art of the Flying Trapeze, even for the guys.


Great 50-year friendship with Guppo the Clown (Paul K. Pugh), Founder and Director of WYC.



Gets WYC Flyers Taylor, Billy, Cole and me to listen, which is no small feat.


Loves his catchers regardless of their “lower class”. Is fond of saying: “oh, he’s just the catcher”


If they are really good, catchers are allowed to return from the catch bar to the fly bar to the pedestal, or otherwise known as “the glory end”


Sometimes the catcher will want to advise the flyers but are often told to “get in the lock, close their eyes, stick out their hands and the flyers will do the rest”.


Talks about a favorite catcher nicknamed “butter fingers”


Loves his 12 to 15 hours of sleep per night!


Sometimes gets mistaken for somebody only 13 years old!


Eats whatever is cooked and lots of it.


Knows some really good clown gags, and is a practicing Magician.


A dog and people lover; Bucket, Murphy and Opie all got invited to the table for meal scraps


Sometimes ends up below the pedestal board, hanging-on by one arm.


Was given the message that the girls Volleyball team thought he was cute.


One of the kindest, most big hearted and generous people I have ever met


As “Guest Trainer”, Tony was a total pleasure to have around the lot as he coached and led by example.  It is dif­ficult to believe this gentleman is still doing “Backward Doubles” at age 76. The Wenatchee Youth Circus and I truly treasure the invaluable time spent with the GREAT Tony Steele!


We love you Tony!  Come back real soon!!!  -McKenzie



The following details are a few of the important tips Tony used to instruct the WYC flyers and catchers:


·         Flyer


®     Back to the Bar:  Most important for flyer success on getting back to the bar is to tilt and leave the feet in the catcher’s face, then continuing to leave the feet even after completing the half turn.


®     Back Swing:  going into the “7” or the “L” or the “Set”; the butt of the flyer must always keep in a vertical line coming straight down from the back of the shoulder line.  This technique keeps the flyer from falling out of the back-up position.  Miguel Vazquez doing the Quad is an exception to this because of his extreme position moving above the horizon.  He causes slack in the cable to compensate for the extreme height necessary for that trick.  Nevertheless, Miguel’s butt will come back in front of that vertical line before he breaks for the trick.


·         Catcher


®     Height of the swing:  Most important for a catcher is to maintain the height of the swing.  If the catcher loses his swing, the timing will change for the trick.  Also the catcher must be careful NOT to “pinch” the flyer on the “half return” so no disruption is made to the flyer’s necessary tilt.  This disruption will eliminate the flyer’s proper tilt towards the bar.


®     Returning the flyer to the bar:  As the catcher passes through center, he must place his body weight in front of the flyer by pushing his head and chest forward ahead of the flyer.  This gives the catcher ability to continue using his body weight as a solid base to follow-through with straight arms.  Not doing this pushes the catcher away from the flyer and gives no advantage of extra height for the flyer to get back to the bar.




·         Swing


®     Six Positions: The swing is divided into six positions;


1.       Sweep Back – when leaving board feet drag behind


2.       Then Forward – preparing to go up and over the barrel


3.       Level off - at the end of front swing


4.       Pike Forward - starting after the top of front swing, drop butt ending in a straight-leg pike position. This position starts slightly after a “level off” (dropping the butt rather than lifting legs).


5.       Sweep Back – keeping toes pointed and head forward


6.       Arrive at Top of Back Swing – Here there are two options: The first is to hold the “set” position. The second is to go to “7” position and then raise legs to the “set” position, to be held until center where the break (strong sweepback) will occur if performing layout, double, etc.




·         Half-Turn back to the Bar


®     Catching the Bar: 7 position; while keeping feet in the catcher’s face, tilt towards the bar and twist entire body (head/shoulders/hip) releasing both hands simultaneously. Feet must be left in the catchers face until both hands are securely on the bar.  Sweep back then forward, mounting the board in the “limbo” position.


®     Missing the Bar:  If the bar is missed, utilize your tilt position to continue into another half twist landing on your back.  Simply put, a miss must continue into a second half twist, in order to land safely on the back (objects in motion tend to remain in motion traveling at the same speed and velocity. 




·         Layout


®     Back Layout Flyaway: From the break at center (pipes) the objective is to get to a hand-stand position in the sky.  From there simply raise your head, look at catcher and present hands in catch position.






·         Seat Roll (Penny Roll)


®     Two Swings:  Most people need 3 swings but if you are good you can be ready to go in two swings.  First position at the front end of the swing is an upside-down pike.  Eyes must focus on the knees or bar to eliminate a possible “dislocation” (skin-the-cat).  Most importantly is to scramble to the sitting position (gluteal crease) at the height of the back swing.  This is a small window of opportunity to get up on the bar sitting position and should be acted on quickly.  This seated position gets the flyer ready for the back lay-out roll at the front end of the second swing.  At the end of the roll the head should be looking up to seek the catcher.




·         Double Back Tuck “Salto” (somersault)


®     Getting Height: The double is a more difficult and advanced trick which requires more height at the onset.  A departure from a higher “raise” is absolutely necessary to carry the height to the end of the swing for a successful catch.  Simply put, the bigger the trick the more necessity for a higher swing.  Perhaps this is the reason the French flyers call the “raise” or “riser”, “the Advantage”, which is what it is.




·         Feetsacross (Legs)


®     Coming back to the bar: After holding the legs the catcher must twist in the same direction, aiding the flyer who is executing a half twisting “turn-up” when reaching for the bar.




·         Passing Leap


®     Feetsacross is 1st Phase:  This is the first phase of the “Passing Leap”.  However, instead of twisting back up to the bar, the first flyer “lays back” to avoid being hit by the second flyer who is passing over the top to the catcher.  To properly catch the bar, the first flyer reaches with one hand under and one hand over.  This 1st flyer doesn’t get completely straightened out until arriving at the pedestal board.


®     2nd Phase: 2nd flyer jumps on the empty bar in the “kip” (or up rise) position and has the option to perform either the “shoot over” or the “forward over”


®     Shoot-Over vs. Forward-Over:  The second flyer from the kip position shoots straight forward keeping level with the bar or performs a forward somersault to the catcher. Both options come back to the bar with a half turn to join the first flyer.  The first flyer should move well-out-of-the-way to give 90% room to the second flyer.


®     Timing:  The second flyer can’t get on the bar until it comes back to them, at times causing 2nd flyer to be late.  This can be corrected by the 1st flyer zinging the bar back over their head to the 2nd flyer more quickly, which corrects the timing.  The 1st flyer throws the bar while being caught by their feet, correcting the timing.




Good luck following all your “Flying Dreams”!!!    -McKenzie






 2012 Article

2. Feeding the Wenatchee Youth Circus

Submitted by McKenzie Madland on   8/23/2012
Last Modified


The Wenatchee Youth Circus, based out of Wenatchee, Washington, is only one of two traveling youth circuses in the United States.  Keeping the show running smoothly requires a team effort from both the kids and adult volunteers...all of whom must be well fed...3x a day!   Read now how this is accomplished by one of the teenage performers and our Circus4Youth reporter...Miss McKenzie Madland, age 15.

McKenzie styling after her performance on the flying trapeze.

According to the old adage, “an army travels on its stomach”. Well, a circus travels on its stomach too and this is especially true for the Wenatchee Youth Circus.  Our chuck-wagon, "CookShack", is by far our most important piece of circus equipment.  It not only feeds the circus but the other side of it is painted to be the center backdrop for all of our performances.


"Circus Social Central!"

The Cook-Shack also serves as a backdrop.

The backside of the cook-shack.

Also called  the "cook house"...as seen on Ringling Bros. Barnum &
Bailey Circus in the 1930's

The "CookShack" also is by far the most favorite circus place to be because it means we can all eat and spend quality family time together.  CookShack is our "circus social central" and the source of 3 squares a day, which is at the heart of the reason our troupe can keep traveling on down the road.

The Cook-Shack semi trailer rolls into Renton following a slow
140 mile trip down the mountains from Wenatchee.

Ceasar Salad...always a favorite!

A breakfast selection of pastrys...almost as good as donuts!

A healthy selection of fresh fruits...and plenty of cold milk for
growing active circus kids!

A Commercial Driver's License is necessary to haul CookShack each summer to the 12 to 13 show locations/lots across the state of Washington.  The last two years CookShack has been driven by Fred Adams, whose 13 year old daughter, Ali, is one of our two wonderful Ring Mistresses when she’s not clowning around.  Last year we were forced to get a new/used semi-truck to haul CookShack, which replaced our old truck after its engine broke bad on the way back from our 4 shows in Renton WA.

Setting up the trapeze rigging in Renton, WA.

Everyone has a job for set up and take down.

Taking a well deserved lunch break!

As we say in the circus "Children of All Ages"!  Left: Mr. Paul Pugh
(Guppo) the founder and director of the Wenatchee Youth Circus,
and right: Ryder seems to be enjoyng his Lasagna!

It’s difficult to believe CookShack can feed three meals a day to over 40 kids and 20-30 adults; sometimes for as many as 5 days in a row.  Imagine for a second YOU ARE THE COOK responsible for feeding 70 hungry people 3-times each day and you will appreciate the size of this enormous circus task.  Gratefully, WYC has three traveling parent-cooks who have teamed up and taken-on this monster mission this season.

The always smiling Ava helps out in the cook-shack.

Left: Mitchel and Chris are ready for some Lasagna!
Right:  Cole being a gentleman...who's the other plate for??? hmmmm

The menu board posted on the Cook Shack.


My mom Kerry was the main cook last year. The cooks this year are Pam Tipton, Cindy Davis and Korey Rosvold.  Pam's 13 year old Courtney performs on Double Trapeze, Single Trapeze and Swinging Ladders, while 16 year old Cole is the new Catcher on the Flying Trapeze, when he’s not Tumbling or flying off the Trampoline and Teeter Board.  Cindy's 13 year old Jillian is one of our two great Ring Mistresses and 11 year old Libby now performs on Single Trapeze, Roman Ladders and is dearly missed in clown alley.  Korey's 9 year old Ava performs on the Roman Ladders, tumbling and is an accomplished clown when not helping out in CookShack.

Not your normal trip to the super market!

Pamela Tipton and Cindy Davis double check
the shopping list for the Wenatchee Youth Circus.

...and this is just PART of what they bought!

At the checkout counter.

...and the total is...$713.10!

Unloading the grocerys into the Cook Shack trailer.

The massive task of gathering the food starts with shopping at discount grocery stores such as Wenatchee’s Costco, Cash & Carry and Safeway, spending most of the profits from the shows' gate-receipts.  Pam and company build a shopping list around an extensive menu, based on the number of people expected to travel to the next 5 to 6 show-stops multiplied by three meals a day.  Then, Pam does it all again six weeks down the road.  The main meals consist of lasagna, chicken, beef, fish, veggies and salad, which is supplemented with donated pastries from Safeway.  Thirty-gram protein bars and protein shakes are also available for those who feel they need higher than normal levels of protein because of their high-level of physical effort towards setup/tear-down, practice and performances.

Mr. Corey Rosvold is a 3rd cook, and he is preparing an egg caserole.

The Cook-Shack truck ready to be loaded and move on to the
next town of Renton, WA.

CookShack houses two giant freezers and a large box refrigerator, storing the food for more than half the circus trips over the course of a month and a half.  It also has two commercial stoves, a dishwashing sink, large counter top and storage cabinets/shelves for all the cooking utensils and dry goods.  Once prepared, the food is set outside on a long serving table under the tent-awning attached to CookShack, covering an eating/meeting area filled with tables, chairs and hungry people.

Natalie rings the triangle...guys, put your shirts back on...lunch is ready!

Washing your hands before you eat, a rule in the Cook-Shack!

Left: Who could resist this tasty garlic bread...as offered by Miss Shylin!
Right:  The Lasagna was great!  Circus4Youth had some...twice!

Show manager Brandon Brown and his 7 month old baby
daughter Alexis, help out serving dinner.

A Ringing of the “bell” around the circus lot is a most prized and sought-after job and announces to the performers and parents THE FOOD IS SERVED.  Everyone dashes to the hand-washing line trying to get washed up for the meal and be first in line for food and desert!  Also, the strict rules are "NO SHOES NO SHIRTS NO SERVICE!" and "Kids get served first!" There is always enough food for seconds and thirds for anyone who feels they need more.  The favorite meal of the year is the "real turkey" Thanksgiving type dinner.  This usually only happens once a season and is always the very special meal presented before the last show.  Also, guests are most welcome to dine with us under our cozy CookShack awning.

McKenzie does the "Hox Off" to Cole in Flying Trapeze.

Special visiting guests Levi and Lola enjoy some chocolate pudding
courtesy of the Wenatchee Youth Circus.

We LOVE our pets on the Wenatchee Youth Circus...but sorry Lilly,
you can't eat in the cook-shack!


If you are ever in Washington State during summer days and nights, don’t hesitate to plan your trip to come see the Wenatchee Youth Circus.  Our schedule is always posted on our website, WenatcheeYouthCircus.com and our Facebook page.  Or better yet, “come join our circus” and you too will experience the-summer-of-your-life, traveling with a 60 year-old youth circus and dining three times a day at the great CookShack.

May all your days be circus days!  Good day and God Bless!

Circusly yours,

McKenzie September Madland
Wenatchee Youth Circus

To see additional photos of the 2012 Wenatchee Youth Circus, check out Circus4Youth Facebook page:


or...Wenatchee Youth Circus:

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wenatchee-Youth-Circus/220770844602889?fref=ts


Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/WenatcheeYouthCircus/?ref=ts&fref=ts

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2011 Article

3. The Wenatchee Youth Circus' Amazing Summer of 2011

There is one word I can use to sum up this summer and that is fantastic!  I guess I could also say fabulous, terrific, sad, stressful and most of all heartfelt.  I can sum all those descriptive words wrapped into three main events; Newcomers, Mastering New Tricks and Graduating Seniors.

2011 Route Card, all dates in Washington State.

The Wenatchee Youth Circus, July 16 & 17 in Pateros, WA.

The "backyard" with the RV trailers and camping tents in Plain, WA.

Newcomers:  I fondly remember my first year of being a newcomer.   I was both excited and nervous.  You never know if you will like the people you are working with, or if they will like you.   And that's not only the performers - I am talking about everyone; parents, siblings and even the four legged members of the family.


Newcomers...Ali and Gillian.

...And two more who are enjoying their first year with the WYC...
Left:  Ava                      Right:   Darwin

Clowns...Marisity & Toby

Her first year in circus, Natalie became quite the wire-wlker!

"Mr. Mellon Collie" (Mark Madland, McKenzie's dad)
and Siska, a 6 year old Golden Retreiver who belongs to Jessi.
Dosen't he look cool in that hat!

Some of the pet dogs that traveled with the Wenatchee Youth Circus.

So, as always, we did the best we could to make everyone feel welcome and loved.  We never left anyone out because, as you know, we are a tight-knit family and we have to live with each other day-in and day-out every summer when we travel.

Paul Pugh (Guppo) has a Sunday morning "ringcurb" church service.

The great state of Washington, a map that became very familiar!

A typical scenic drive to one of our tour dates.

I have to say the best thing about having newcomers join is being able to help teach them and guide them through new acts and tricks.  It is even better when you see them perform for the first time in front of hundreds of people and end the day thinking this is the best thing they have ever done.  After a day like that it is hard to get them to stop practicing and come in to eat dinner. They will practice on the equipment for hours if it means they can perform in another show and maybe move on to something bigger.   This leads me to the next highlight of the season…

The "Cook Shack" where meals were served...and a few cast meetings.

Mastering new tricks:  It was great to see so many new kids looking at us performers and saying "I want to do what they do".  And, as usual, this went on through the entire season.  The small tricks were learned first, and then on to trying bigger tricks that some of the experienced performers, who have been here their whole life, haven't even tried to do yet.  Three of our new performers worked all season, from spring practice to summer travel, on mastering high wire and even had the chance to perform at the end of the year.  It is fun to see the smiles that come to these “First of May*” faces (as Guppo calls them) when they have mastered a new trick; even if it is only as simple as jumping correctly on the trampoline.  Another great thing to watch was all the younger kids – as well some of the parents - learn to help put up tents and all the other giant rigs.  

Left: Founder & Director of the WYC, Paul Pugh (aka "Guppo")
Right:  Newcomer, Maristy climbs up to the high wire pedestal.

Darwin & Maristy practice trampoline.

The author of this article, McKenzie Madland practices flying trapeze.

This year during our own Wenatchee Show we had the privilege of performing two shows, each in front of over 600 fans to cheer us on. What a great experience for both new and old performers.  You should have seen the smiles on our faces after those shows!!   We even celebrated our graduating seniors during one of those great shows. 

A cool spring day did not keep the crowds away in Plain, WA!

...And working to the audience in Marysville, WA in June!

Graduating seniors:  Here comes the sad part; knowing that our seniors were leaving, or should I say "moving on"?  It was extremely saddening for me to see our seniors, Emily Pratt and Austin Habich   going off to college.

Austin joined the circus two years ago and had worked his way into becoming a major part of the family and our performance.  He was so strong and determined - he could do any trick he wanted.  I will always remember his “running man” impression on the trampoline.  We will all miss his sense of humor and his great smile.

Austin "jogging"on the trampoline.

 I will never forget Emily.  At my very first practice she let me use her Capezios for my first time walking the low wire.  I remember her and Billy Tuthill sitting up on high wire with me for hours and hours, patiently encouraging me to take the first step out on that small strand of wire.

Emily Pratt, who has been in WYC since 2002,  and Guppo.

On the very last show of 2011 with our high wire as a finale, we had our whole high wire crew sitting up there and crying our eyes out because we all knew it was would be Emily's last show as a performer.  We might have sat up there for what seemed like forever, just hugging, crying and saying our goodbyes.

A very emotional show, Emily Pratt's (front) final performance with WYC
Sept 4, 2011 in Vernon, WA.

Saying goodbye?  Excuse me, never mind, there are no goodbyes in circus, there is only "see you later!"

Circus friends...they're the BEST!

Even now we have our rigging back up and will continue getting ready for next summer.  The new performers are now old performers with one summer of sawdust in their shoes.  Guppo is busy filling up our next year with performances and we can’t wait for the day when we  will, once again,  load our wagons back on the trailer and get ready to perform under the big blue skies of summer.

To be continued with an amazing photo album of the 2011
Wenatchee Youth Circus!




4. Wenatchee Youth Circus 2011 Photo Album

Submitted by Editor on   11/3/2011
Last Modified



...Which includes the playing of our National Anthem.


McKenzie, Taylor, Naomi and Courtney.

Taylor                                       Naomi


Left:  Mitchell combines two circus skills!   Right: Chris styles to the crowd.


Left: Jack and Kim.                    Right: Billy and Jessi.

Left:  Zack & Kim.             Right: Billy & Jessi.
The daring duo on the high double trapeze!


Kim doing a backflip...plenty of spotters in place.

Zack                                            Cole

Brothers Wyatt & Austin perform their routine.

Austin soars high off the tramploine!


Left: McKenzie does Hula Hoop while balancing on the wire.
Right:  Pretty in Pink, a very young Miss Shylin walks the wire.

The cable is loosend, and Bily walks the "slack wire".


A congress of colorful clowns!



Daniel "high fives" the audience on his unicycle.

Left:  Our youngest clown, 3 year old Saebrianne.
Right: Nathan waiting for his cue.

Myron the Magnificent                              Darwynn

Left:    Robert as a Court Jester     Right:      Princess Allison 

Left:  Blue Haired Ava            Right: Marrisity






Jessi does a final spin on the Spanish Web


The Wenatchee Youth Circus Titans of the Teeterboard!

Billy's version of a teen "getting high"!

The teeteboard act...always a favorite with the audience!

Alex flys off the teeterboard.


The Roman Ladder act has several group variations.  Photo on the right includes
(top to bottom) Ava, Billy, KaytElise...Jessi, Josue, Courtney...
then Allie Austin & Vanessa.

The 9 person Roman Ladders act...have your cameras ready!


Courtney                                       Jessi

Two different costumes were used for this act during the season.

"Look Ma...No Hands!"

The "Trapeze Twins"  Courtney & Jessi.


Billy doing a chair stand.

McKenzie walking the wheel across the high wire.

McKenzie's "Arabesque".

The "wheel barrel", by Emily, Billy and Natalie.

3 person pyramid.

High Wire style and smile!


Kim flying over the circus!

Austin,  Alex,  & Billy.  Three back somersaults at one time.

Austin flying like Superman!

The "helico[pter"... by Austin Marisity & Natalie


Emily and Mitchell..."Don't move your hand!"


Emily and Elbow the Clown.

This trick requires very special training.. DO NOT ATTEMPT IT!



The "Flying Fledglings" in an informal pose. 
L-R McKenzie, Taylor, Kim, Billy and Naomi.
"You didn't tell us this was going on Circus4Youth!"

Billy's "layout" to catcher Brandon.

Taylor with the "bird's nest" across to Brandon.

Mckenzie's 1st show, a "hocks off" (knee hang) to the catcher.

Passing Leap,  Billy, Kim & Brandon.

Back to the trapeze bar...then dismounts to the net!

A final style and smile!


Allie and Taylor brave the cold water in this make-shift shower.

Watching the 1985 movie "The Goonies" on a cool evening after the show
in the cookshack in Chewelah, WA.

Left: Marisity & her dad Darren.
Right: Jessi & her mom Sharon.

The "new" (used) truck, a 1988 Peterbilt...in great shape!

Setting up the high wire rigging.

Left: Allie & Jessi,  Right: Taylor ready for Double Trap.

Left:  Ashley rides her unicycle in pre-show.
Right, Katy changes out the music in the "air calliope"

The "Swinging Ladder" Girls, Courtney, Taylor, Naomi & Vanessa.

Left:  Ali stretching before the show.         Right: Taylor & Jessi.

An "un-official" flying trapeze practice on the last day gave Robert,
and other kids a chance to try it out.

Natalie gives it a try!

McKenzies hand after a few days of flying trapeze.

The entire cast of the 2011 Wenatchee Youth Circus.
May All Your Days Be Circus Days!...See You in 2012.

For more on the Wenatchee Youth Circus, visit their website:

And... check out their Facebook page!











2011 Article

5. Getting Ready for the Circus Season 2011


This presentation was authored by Jim Cole, Editor of Circus4Youth.org

Also featured within is an article by Wenatchee Youth Circus's very own, McKenzie September Madland, who is C4Y's newest youth reporter.

McKenzie gives her views on getting ready for circus 2011. 



Submitted by Editor on   5/22/2011
Last Modified

The distance between Peru, Indiana and Wenatchee, Washington is 2,049 miles (according to Google Maps).  Those two cities are for the most part, just ordinary American cities... except for the CIRCUS!  Both Peru and Wenatchee are the homes of two of America's oldest running youth circuses.   This year Peru enters it's 52nd year of operation, and for Wenatchee it's season # 59!  There is so much in common between these two youth circuses..and yet there are notable differences.  Peru has an air conditioned arena and performs 11 shows during the 3rd week of July, while Wenatchee goes on tour from Late May thru early September and performs under the open sky.  Circus4Youth now presents a series of photos that show the multi talented kids from both youth circuses tuning up their skills in preparation for season 2011.  There is also an article written by our newest youth reporter McKenzie Madland (13) who gives her views on getting ready for circus.

There are 2,049 miles that seperate Peru, Indiana from Wenatchee, Washington.
However the enjoyment of participating in youth circus brings them so much closer!

Billy & McKenzie do the "me and my shadow" walk.

Blake walking the high wire.

Natalie pracices trampoline, while McKenzie climbs up to
the Flying Trapeze rigging.

The "back-up swing" in Flying Trapeze.

The "Under & Over Passing Leap" by Billy and Kim.

A half turn back to the fly bar.

Practicing "Roman Ladder" in both Wenatchee and Peru!

Alex's Trampoline practice. Note the differences in the trampolines.

Two of the special WYC transport wagons can be seen in the background.

This type of "pedestal trampoline" is new to the Peru Circus this year.

Two youth circus girls finding their balance!

My name is McKenzie September Madland and I am a 13 year old circus performer in the Wenatchee Youth Circus.

I joined the circus last year. I joined because one of my friends told me it was really fun and she has been in the Wenatchee Youth Circus her whole life. Her name is Taylor and her mom and dad were in the circus when they were my age and eventually went on to perform pro. Taylor likes to say she was born into the circus!

Taylor and Mckenzie.

My driving focus for the first year was to be one of those amazing and graceful high wire walkers. The first time I laid eyes on the high wire I knew that was what I wanted to do. I didn’t take me long to get used to the low wire; it took a little longer for me to ignore the knot in my stomach and step out into space on the high wire. The first time I got up the courage and finally walked the high wire by myself was not even 10 minutes before we had to take down the wire and leave for my first circus performance.

By the end of my first summer I was in a lot of the main acts. I performed in Roman Ladders, Swinging Ladders, Low Wire, and High Wire . As we traveled throughout the Summer it didn’t take long to get to know the people in the circus and become friends. We are like family in this little youth circus.

We started this year out by working really hard to raise money for all the repairs that it takes to keep our Circus running from year to year. We need a new truck to help tow our “Cook Shack” and are hoping to replace our Flying Trapeze net before the end of the year. So far, we have raised enough money to put a down payment on a truck. This money came from selling ad space in our 59th year program and two community grants that support youth programs in our valley.

We have a lot of new performers this season and they are excited to learn how the circus works. “Guppo” (Mr. Pugh, our director) will be happy because he finally has lots of new clowns for his acts! The older performers have spent a lot of time working with the new younger kids helping them learn their routines and get comfortable on the equipment. I have been working hard with some of the older performers learning how to fly. Brandon, our trainer, has spent a lot of time teaching me the timing and the landing coming off the Trapeze.

The great thing about looking at the Peru circus pictures is that you get the feeling they are a bunch of kids just like us that love the Circus. They practice indoors and we practice outdoors, they have some different equipment than we do but still... it is all about being the best performer you can be when it is time to do our shows this Summer.

It is nice to know it is not just us that has a youth circus that allows the local youth to learn and try amazing new things. The Peru performers look like they are working real hard to perfect their acts and have fun at the same time. I am looking forward to talking with some of them on Facebook and getting to know more about the group and their acts. I wish them good luck with their circus season!

Our time for practice is coming to an end and the circus has a big general meeting and potluck this Saturday (May 21, 2011). After we eat we will spend the rest of the day tearing down our rigging, loading it on the flat bed and getting ready to travel to our first performance of the 59th season in Plain, Washington on Memorial Weekend.

Balancing Bicycle & Roman Ring practice in Peru.

Peru's "Jugglenauts" brushing up on their skills.

Titans of the Teeterbaord!

Aerial acts start practice at a low level.

The poster for this year's circus.

All locations in Washington State


McKenzie & Brooklyne (from Peru) are now friends on Facebook.
Join our Circus4Youth Facebook page and make new friends in
our unique world of youth circus!

May All Your Days Be Circus Days...
(and if you live in Wenatchee or Peru,
they probably are!)



2007 Article

6. The Wenatchee Youth Circus Comes to Town

Submitted by Pete Adams




       The Wenatchee Youth Circus celebrates its 60th Anniversary this season with performances all over Washington State.  Under the guidance of founder Paul Pugh who is their managing director and with the assistance of Brandon Brown, Josh Dailey, and Meghan McLean, Assistant Managers, this show comes on the lot as two 18 wheel semi trucks.   Yes, this youth circus is unique as it sets up for each and every performance on a different field most every week and performs from 3 to 5 shows at each site. Paul Pugh who started the program and later was a school principal, maintains his makeup and clown routine known as “Guppo”. The show continued to grow from those early days to now putting on a full fledged performance with a flying act, wire act and yes three rings of entertainment.

The five colorful wagons that are loaded on the semi trailer are a reminder
of the old days in circus history when wagons were loaded on
railroad flat cars as seen in the lower photo

The unloading ramps are set in place.

The wagon is lowered down with an electric winch.

The crew pushes the wagon to it's position on the circus lot.

            When the two semis come onto the lot, you realize that everything has to be taken off the semis and put up which takes from 5 to 6 hours.  While visiting the show, I took time to watch the entire set up one evening before the first performance the next day.  Five specialty designed wagons are hauled on one flatbed trailer.  When taken off, one of these becomes the band stand with a calliope and drums.  Two others contain the two dressing/sleeping tents for the students and their chaperones as well as for costumes.  The last two wagons contain equipment for the specific acts.  Individual performers and parents are assigned their roles in putting up the dressing tents, canvass backdrops, setting up the cook and dining tent area, and keeping the performance area clear.  Racks on the sides of the semi and underneath hold the entire major center poles to features the aerial acts, the tight wire and also the flying rigging.  The second truck is a full kitchen in the center with stove, refrigerator, oven, and freezer with plenty of space for their circus cook.  In addition to the center cookhouse, a generator is contained in the front quarter of the semi and storage is in the back. 


The traditionally painted circus truck parked in position.


Safety pads and other equiptment are loaded in this wagon.


This wagon also has side doors to make things easier.


The circus ring sections, called "ring curbs" are unloaded.

The aluminum poles for aerial rigging are being unloaded from the
lower portion of the semi trailer called the "possum belly".



At the back door area, a crew sets up the wardrobe tent,
also called the "pad room".

            To assist the director and assistant directors is a great group of active supporting parent volunteers and several older students who have learned how to put up the circus as well as performing and then afterwards how to take it down and re pack it into the specialty wagons.  There are 30 plus member of the cast this year which means that each and every performer also has tasks to perform including set up and tear down as well as performing during the show.  Children of all ages are invited to join, but youth under the age of 12 must have a parent/guardian in attendance.  The normal schedule is to arrive the day before the show, set up the show in the early evening, perform for the next two days and then tear down after the final show returning back to Wenatchee that night.

The whole crew helps in the raising of the aerial rigging frame.





Supporty guy lines are tightened with a "rachett come along".


Additional aerial rigging goes up by block & tackle.



While not in any Phys-Ed handbook, beating iron stakes into
the ground is great exercise!

            When you have to set up the entire show, the whole premise of safety is most important and the adults at Wenatchee take special care including the winching of the wagons as they are lowered from the semi to the ground.  They can then be pushed to where they need to be on the lot.  The second semi is the back drop for the show with the dining tent toward the back of the show.  In addition two small tents are set up for the novelties and food items sold near the ticketing area in the come in.  Seating is defined by the place of performance and in this case of the visit to Wenatchee were supplied by the recreation department by bringing 10 sets of bleachers to one side of the arena. 






With the main aerial frame in place, 4 additional poles are raised along side.



Adjustments are made to the flying trapeze rigging.



"Now hold that stake steady",   more iron stakes must be driven.



....and girls can drive stakes too!.




Paul Pugh, the director and founder of the Wenatchee Youth Circus
"bites off" a pully block from the aerial rigging.

            Once the unloading begins, all rigging is taken to the designated area from which it will be set.  At the same time the center ring is brought out of the back of the center wagon which also contained the calliope.  Once the many poles were in place different teams of students did various activities. Some worked on putting up the two costume/sleeping tents while others started the process of putting in the stakes necessary to guide the equipment.  Remember we have the sky as our top, so all rigging had to come from the ground.  The youth has garnered how to double hit on the stakes and really brought back memories of the setting up of the big top.  The lifting of pipes, etc was determined by the age and strength of each individual and no student had to exert himself/herself more than he/she could actually handle.  Once stakes were in the ground and the high wire platform was attached to the top of the poles, the wire went up.  Measuring the angles and space was all very carefully calculated by the directors.  Once up, it was secured.

Taking a test flight on the swinging ladder.

Of utmost importance....the CIRCUS4YOUTH banner must be hung!


A well deserved break, these kids work hard!

            At a similar time the set up of the four center poles was begun again mapped out for accuracy.  Safety was the most important aspect of all work.  This gave the show three rings to perform various aerial acts.  In the back of ring one the flying act rigging was also set up in a similar manner.  As much of this is being done by the older students and adults, the younger members were assembling props needed for each ring of the performance areas.  In addition two trampolines were put together from scratch which saves storage space and a low wire was built at one end of the arena.  Truly the set up was amazing with the kids sweating and working so hard so that the next day they can perform.  Very few youth shows put up their own rigging every time they perform.  Rigging was checked at the end by warming up on some apparatus.  In all cases mats of various descriptions are used again for safety where nets will not work.  The flyers and the wire walkers of course had nets. 







 For more information on this youth circus, check out:

...and from show director Paul Pugh, a listing of the circus wagons and their contents:

Wagons 31 & 32 carries tents and wardrobe

Wagon 33 carries the air calliope, the sound system and tumbling mats.

Wagon 34 carries misc equiptment and the flying trapeze rigging (exept the long ploes)

Wagon 35 carries the high wire rigging and net.