An Amazing Day at the Circus! (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

My Son Squeezing my Clown Nose at the Circus, Duluth, Georgia, February 21, 2015

My Son Squeezing my Clown Nose at the Circus, Duluth, Georgia, February 21, 2015

Yesterday, my son and I went to see the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus at the Gwinnett Arena in Duluth, Georgia!  What an absolutely fabulous and fun time we had! The circus performance was so much more and better than I ever imagined it would be!  Oh my gosh!  I have never seen any performance quite as amazing and incredible as that which I saw yesterday at the circus!  I recommend to anyone who can go, to see these wonderful and astounding performances.

Alexander Lacey Hugging a Leopard

Alexander Lacey Hugging a Leopard

At the circus, my son and I sat in the third row, right up in front. I got great tickets from StubHub.com for $25 each only a couple of days before the show. It was incredible to save about $40 on the ticket prices, and still get such fantastic seats! I still can’t believe it!  The money I saved was then spent on food and souvenirs. Thank you, StubHub!

Alexander Lacey with the Big Cats

Alexander Lacey with the Big Cats

There were so many performances and shows that my son and I enjoyed seeing at the circus. Alexander Lacey – the lion tamer – put on a great show with several lions and tigers doing many tricks.  We had prime seats to watch as he rubbed a lion’s tummy, and kissed lions and tigers. He also rode through the arena in a fancy, motorized circus car with a leopard that he hugged and kissed!

Elephants Standing on their Hind Legs

Elephants Standing on their Hind Legs

We watched as Joseph Frisco, III, and Mario Bovio superbly-handled up to six elephants at a time. There was one portion of the show in which four elephants stood up on their hind legs, with most of them placing their front feet on the backs of the other elephants. It was really incredible to see!

Some of the Many Circus Performers

Some of the Many Circus Performers

We saw the Tuniziani Troupe perform on the flying trapeze, with at least one performer doing a triple somersault while flying through the air. There were the men of the Chinese National Acrobatic Troupe whose acrobatics included jumping through hoops that were up to ten feet off of the floor. The women of the Chinese National Acrobatic Troupe skillfully spun and twirled diabolos in the air in synchrony. And, the men and women together formed a giant peacock while either riding and/or standing on top of two bicycles and each other while on the bicycles.  It was pretty neat!

Women of the Chinese National Acrobatic Troupe

Women of the Chinese National Acrobatic Troupe

The Torres Family, who ride motorcycles while inside a giant steel ball, left my son speechless and myself both amazed and concerned for their safety. Beginning with a group of four motorcyclists, they steadily increased their number up to eight during their final performance.  All of the motorcyclists rode in circular patterns inside the steel ball, while not having any collisions!  Their performances amount to a world record achieved every day!

The Torres Family Motorcyclists

The Torres Family Motorcyclists

The Tchalabaev Cossack Troupe gave astounding performances by riding their horses. These riders did not just “ride” horses by sitting on them, but also stood atop of them, sometimes standing with one foot on each of two horses galloping next to each other. There were also performances of men in the group who hung off the horses in what was called the “dead-man rag,” in which it appeared that the horses would nearly kick them. Other performers (two at a time) also climbed over and under a horse while it was galloping. They also performed a five-person pyramid while the horses were at a gallop. It was all pretty amazing!

International Folklore Dancers and Elephants

International Folklore Dancers and Elephants

There were performances of clowns, dancers, dogs, goats, and the motorcycle highwire – which was almost directly above us, with no nets – that were also wonder-inducing. My son was amazed to watch a dog jump into a man’s arms from 16 feet off of the floor. Hans and Mariya Klose, and Vicki Zsilak and Alex Petrov, respectively, did a great job with the dogs and goats. The clowns were so funny, too, and kept us laughing. The dancers added even more vigor and vitality to the overall show.  The performances of the goats, dogs, and miniature ponies were great, too.

Johnathan Lee Iverson and Paulo Dos Santos

Johnathan Lee Iverson and Paulo Dos Santos

The folks on the motorcycle highwire, riding back and forth, and even spinning around the highwire, were incredible to watch. Johnathan Lee Iverson and Paulo Dos Santos, the Ringmaster and his sidekick, were the gel that pulled it all together in this cool show. To top it all off, the Ringling Brothers Band played live music during the circus performances!

Joseph Frisco, III and Elephants

Joseph Frisco, III and Elephants

If I might have changed one thing in the circus, it would be for the elephant that wore the mammoth suit to have it removed. Elephants are such wonderful, intelligent, and sensitive creatures, and to see an elephant dressed up in a full-body costume was distressing. Certainly, the animal was alright and was not being hurt, however it leaves me to wonder how much stress it really creates in this creature.

Alexander Lacey with the Big Cats

Alexander Lacey with the Big Cats

The one and only previous time that I had ever been to a circus was a Barnum & Bailey event sponsored by the Shriner’s. I went with my brother and other children on school buses when I was seven-years-old.  I think I remember seeing some elephants, but we were seated so highly up in Buffalo’s War Memorial Auditorium – and because the adult chaperones with us showed absolutely no eagerness or excitement at all – I don’t remember much of it except getting separated from the group when we left.  Thankfully, I was able to flag down a friendly policewoman who was directing traffic, and she took my brother and I to our school bus. That is the most I remember about going to a circus as a child – being left behind and having to step up to fend for my brother and myself amidst a sea of people. I expect that was the reason I never got to go see the circus again as a child – due to the careless “supervision” I experienced.

Performers at the Circus

Performers at the Circus

So, one can imagine what a wonderful treat it was to take my son and watch such an incredible and breath-taking circus!  Anyone who can go to and enjoy seeing the circus should do so in order to enjoy all of the wonderful and astounding performances that are in store!  Thank you to Nicole and Alana Feld for producing such a wonderful show!

“Enjoyed Last Night’s Gwinnett Gladiators’ Hockey” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

My Son with Maximus

My Son with Maximus

Last night, my son and I enjoyed an evening of Gwinnett Gladiators’ hockey.  We have gone to watch several Gladiators’ games at the Gwinnett Arena through the years, and this one was another good experience.  Of all of the times that we have gone to watch Gladiators’ hockey, last evening was the most full of spectators that I have ever experienced the Arena!  There were lots of people out to support the hometown team last night.  Of all of the times we’ve gone to Gladiators’ hockey, we’ve never had a photo opportunity with the team’s mascot, Maximus, but we did last night.  Thank you, Maximus – both my son and I really enjoyed that!

Gwinnett Gladiators vs. Reading Royals, February 22, 2014, Duluth, Georgia

Gwinnett Gladiators vs. Reading Royals, February 22, 2014, Duluth, Georgia

The Gladiators’ played the Reading Royals from Pennsylvania.  There was alot of good hockey that was played, and also much fighting on the ice – which got some of the crowd pretty riled up.  Some folks like a good show, but I come for the hockey.  The goalie who played for the majority of the game really got a workout – he prevented the Royals from scoring on 35 of 37 attempts!  Way to go, Nick Niedert!  Our concern goes out to the first goalie of the evening who took two really hard hits and appeared to get knocked out after a hard hit by a member of the Royals’ team.  We hope you are okay.

Gwinnett Gladiators vs. Reading Royals, February 22, 2014, Duluth, Georgia

Gwinnett Gladiators vs. Reading Royals, February 22, 2014, Duluth, Georgia

This weekend was also a special “Puck Dynasty” time for the Gladiators.  Vouchers for special grey and white camouflage, mesh jerseys were being sold at the Arena last night, inspired from the show, Duck Dynasty.  While I have never watched that show – nor really have an interest to – it was good to come out to support the team and for my son and I to enjoy a good game of hockey!

An AC-DC tribute band played songs of the hard rock band, AC-DC, during intermission periods, as well.  There were many people who enjoyed the music, though it was just noise to us.  While I mean no offense, I think that a band that played country music would have been a bigger hit at the game.

Gwinnett Gladiators vs. Reading Royals, February 22, 2014, Duluth, Georgia

Gwinnett Gladiators vs. Reading Royals, February 22, 2014, Duluth, Georgia

We are happy for the opportunity to have sat by some really nice folks at the game, last night, too.  It certainly makes for a better experience for everyone when people are kind and polite to each other.  And, thank you for locating and turning in my camera that I inadvertently left – I returned to find it, and am very appreciative of getting it back! 🙂  I really appreciate the kindness of whoever turned it in to customer service, and those who helped me retrieve it when I came back for it!

Though the Gladiators’ came out with a score of 2-1 in a loss to the Royals, you are a winning team in our book.  We appreciate enjoying an evening of good hockey!

References:

Gwinnett Gladiators (2014).  Duluth, GA: Gwinnett Gladiators.  Retrieved on February 23, 2014, http://www.gwinnettgladiators.com/site/default.asp

OurSports Central (2014).  OurSports Central.  Retrieved on February 23, 2014, http://www.oursportscentral.com/sports/?t_id=804

“Exciting Hockey of the Gwinnett Gladiators” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Gwinnett Gladiators Hockey, October 2012

Gwinnett Gladiators Hockey, October 2012

Each year for the past several years, my family has enjoyed viewing at least one Gwinnett Gladiators hockey game during each regular season.  The Gwinnett Gladiators are a hockey team based in Duluth, Georgia, and that play at the Gwinnett Arena. This fall, in October, we were privileged to attend an October hockey game – much as we also did last season – when my son earned a free “Hat Trick for Reading” ticket for reading three on-grade level books.  The dentists that serve the hockey team sponsor the “Hat Trick for Reading” nights, and they are a real treat for us to come and enjoy exciting Gwinnett Gladiators Hockey! 

My Son Enjoying Gwinnett Gladiators Hockey, October 2012

My Son Enjoying Gwinnett Gladiators Hockey, October 2012

In the past, we have also attended a Gwinnett Gladiators hockey game with a pack of Cub Scouts to which my son belonged, while also enjoying a tour of the facility.  It was wonderful to get a “behind-the-scenes” look at the hockey rink, to view the players as they held a team practice session, personally receive a practice game hockey puck from one of the goalies, and sit in a Zamboni ice resurfacer. 

Me with my Son Sitting in a Zamboni on a Cub Scout Tour of Gwinnett Gladiators Hockey, January 2011

Me with my Son Sitting in a Zamboni on a Cub Scout Tour of Gwinnett Gladiators Hockey, January 2011

Growing up in the “Snow Belt” near Buffalo, New York, I was an ardent fan of the Buffalo Sabres.  As a child, I would sometimes stay up late at night when I was supposed to be asleep, quietly listening to radio broadcasts of the games.  It was the broadcasters of the games who truly brought these matches to life, and infused in me a love of hockey that I now share with my own son. 

Maximus the Lion, Mascot of the Gwinnett Gladiators Hockey Team, October 2012

Maximus the Lion, Mascot of the Gwinnett Gladiators Hockey Team, October 2012

Attending hockey games of the Gwinnett Gladiators is always exciting and enjoyable.  It is also a special treat if the television cameras capture my son waving his pennant in enthusiastic support of the team, and when we have the chance to meet the team’s mascot, Maximus.  Going to see a Gwinnett Gladiators hockey game is always affordable and enjoyable for the whole family.