Clown shortage? Less and less willing to wear the nose - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Clown shortage? Less and less willing to wear the nose

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The father and son duo clown for the camera. The father and son duo clown for the camera.
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

We have nearly one third less clowns than a decade ago and their numbers are dwindling. It seems when they retire or pass away there aren't that many young people willing to wear the nose.

We went searching for clowns at the most obvious place: The Jordan World Circus, which just happens to be in Tyler at the Oil Palace this weekend.

They have tigers, but no lions or bears, although there are elephants and trick ponies, and plenty of roadies. They're setting up the rings, preparing the rigging and blowing up inflatables. But where are the clowns?

Dieter Galamvos, the man in charge wants to help with that mystery, but he's a little busy so he deferred to his ringmaster, Tess Emerson.

"Are you personally suffering a clown shortage?" I asked her.

"You know, I don't think so. Our clowns do three acts in the show and they have many more if we needed them. So our show is pretty good with clowns," Emerson replied.

"So what are your clown's names?" I queried.

"We have Kampanita, and Kampanilla, and they are a father-son duo," she said.

Father-son duo? I had to meet these guys.

Juan Cifuentes has been a clown for 54 years, and his son Patrico Cifuentes has been a clown for 26 years.

"We are three brothers, and only I am the clown. I like it. I love it, the show, the people," Patrico Cifuentes revealed.

He also likes working with his dad. The clown shortage does reflect in a picture Patrico showed me. His younger brother was a clown as a child, but chose to put away the greasepaint. Patrico says it's hard work.

"It's very easy to make people cry, but to make a smile; love, is very difficult," Patrico said.

Patrico is Kampanilla, which means little bell, and his dad is Kampanita which also means bell. It has taken years for them to develop their act but they didn't want to reveal much of it. They want you to go to the show for that.

"I don't think you can have a circus show without clowns. I like them. They provide a lot of comedic relief when there's a lot of death-defying daredevil acts happening. It kind of brings you back to earth a little bit," ringmaster Emerson concluded.

Clown numbers are dwindling in part because comedy is tough. There's no doubt clowns have big shoes to fill.

If you'd like to support clowns and the circus in general, the Jordan World Circus is holding four shows over the weekend at the Oil Palace. Saturday, Feb. 22 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets are $18.99 for adults and $14.99 for kids.

We have a link here for a free child's ticket that can be used with the purchase of each adult admission.

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