The Culpepper and Merriweather Circus Will Return to Wellington on July 17th

Wendell Nelson
Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce

The circus is coming to town” – is a phrase that brings back many fun-filled memories and it is time to share these memories with our children and grandchildren.  The “Culpepper and Merriweather Circus” is coming to Wellington on July 17th and it is sponsored by the Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce.

The circus had its beginnings in 1985 and developed into a family traveling circus under the name of Culpepper and Merriweather Combined Circus with its home base in Queen Creek Arizona. In 2001, the circus moved to Hugo, Oklahoma. Hugo is called Circus City since the C&M Circus is the 20th circus to make Hugo home base since 1941. The Culpepper& Merriweather circus brings their show to over 200 towns in 17 different states.  They specialize in affordable, family friendly entertainment enjoyed by children of all ages along with parents and grandparents. This is great family entertainment and an opportunity to go behind the scene to see how animals are cared for and where the performers live.

Circus Day is a fun time to watch a small circus unfold from trucks and turn a vacant lot into a unique entertainment center.  Arrive by 9:30 am and watch the big top tent go up with the help of workers (4 to a stake) driving stakes that holds the tent secure. Enjoy an opportunity to tour the site and see the animals up close and talk with performers. There are horses and ponies, a lion and a tiger, dogs, birds and other animals that travel with the circus.  You can generally find a clown or two getting ready for a busy night of entertaining you.

Stay around for the afternoon program with food and amusements – pony rides, bouncy houses, 22 ft. slide and face painting available.  

The 90-minute show will start (first showing) at 5 pm and the second showing at 7:30pm and no seat is more than 40 feet from the ring.  Laugh with the stand-up clowns, big clown with his small car, and ones that can’t stay out of trouble. Performances of great balance, performing on tent top rolling barrels, high wire walking and ground level unicycle acts occur throughout the show.  A contortionist so flexible you will wonder if she has any bones in her body. A very tall horse and a very small pony work together with their trainer and a group of dogs please you and their friend while having fun. Trey (circus owner), with Francis the lion and Delilah, the tiger, will make you laugh and cause your heart to skip a beat. The cats are both “hams”, love to perform and get their daily brushing and scratching from Trey.  These large cats look fierce but are Trey’s buddies and play mates. Francis is getting to be an old man at 17 years on the 4th of July but like his owner Trey they both still look good.  

Simone will keep the chaotic activities in the ring rolling as Ring Master and your adrenalin circulating with her aerial trapeze and rope program.  Her antics on the flying trapeze will take your breath away. Time flies during the show and you will get a chance at intermission to reflect and get a snack.  Then it is off again to more fun and surprises.

Trey and Simone are a great couple who love their animals and their circus.  I have worked with them for the past ten years and have been amazed at the rapport that Trey has with his cats both in and outside the big top.  Two years ago, we had to find medical help for Francis (Trey’s lion) who had developed an infected tooth. It was a challenge to find antibiotics for a lion traveling between show locations in rural mountain Colorado.  Working with CSU and a helpful veterinarian on the western slope of Colorado, we got the antibiotics for Francis and the infection was under control by the time he arrived in Wellington. All went well but Francis did not perform in Wellington since he was having and recovering from a root canal surgery at the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital. This year Francis and Delilah will be in Wellington to give Trey his show time kiss.

Skeeter, the “advance Circus Clown” will be in Wellington for the 4th of July parade and celebration and stay for the 5th of July to meet with children at day care, the library and the Boys and Girls Club facilities. She will put on short programs and give away some kid’s circus tickets.

The Chamber members and local business owners will be selling discounted tickets in several Wellington locations for three weeks before the show including during our 4th of July celebration.  Look for the posters with Francis the lion’s picture to tell you where to purchase tickets. These tickets cost $12 for adults and $7 for children (2 to 12 years of age) and seniors 65 years and older up until show day.  Tickets will cost $15 and $8 on show day at the circus ticket office. A portion of the ticket sales will stay with the Chamber of Commerce to support its programs for local business development and other program activities.  The Chamber is a 501(C3) nonprofit organization.

If we sell enough tickets, the Circus will stay another day!!  Thank you for coming and have a great time.

(post updated with location on 6/28/19):
The circus will set up east of the middle school in the vacant field east of 6th Street.

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  1. Thanks to Rev. Halpern for commenting about the miserable lives that animals endure in the circus. Tigers do not naturally kiss humans, as shown in the marketing photo for this circus; nor do lions do tricks. They both must be trained to do such unnatural behaviors. To see the suffering that circus tigers undergo, check out: Forcing wild animals to perform in circuses is neither safe for the humans nor for the animals, as seen in the recent killing of a circus trainer in Italy. Please do not support this circus. There are plenty of exciting circuses where all the participants are willing (aka “human”), participants.

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