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Jun 27, 2014 8:53 AM by Steven Albritton

Circus Keeps Focus On Safety of Performers

The greatest show on earth is making its stop here in Lafayette for the next few days. With death defying acts and little room for error safety comes before anything else. Only a couple months ago nine girls were seriously injured when the rigging they were hanging from fell from more than 25 feet in the air. The act required the performers to hang from their hair, but something went terribly wrong. Luckily, everyone survived and are now trying to recover.

"All of the kids at that show have actually sent flowers and get wall cards to the ladies in the hospital," Ringmaster David Shipman said.

The show in Lafayette this week is a different show from the one where the accident occurred, but that incident was felt through out the Ringling Brothers family. Shipman says he remembers where he was when he heard about the accident and says many of the performers on his circuit know those who were injured. He says even with the accident safety has always come first no matter the tour, no matter the circumstances.

"We are sure that we triple check everything for the safety of these performers and what you see is an unbelievable feat of super human strength and agility, speed. These are incredible feats by these unbelievable performers," Shipman said.

Mexico native Erica Villanueva is one of those performers. She spends her time on the high wire and inside "The Globe."

"They (the motorcycles) go around us inside the globe. It's adrenaline. The first time I was so scared. I was so scared and nervous," Villanueva said.

Even with the level of danger in many of the acts, Shipman says it's that risk and excitement that keeps the crowd and performers coming back for more.

"You want to make sure that a part of the greatest show on earth is that level of risk, that ability to keep you on the edge of your seat and keep you engaged. That really is what makes us the greatest show on earth, but safety is our number one priority.

Performances will happen all weekend to see Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey's "Super Circus Heroes." You can visit Ticketmaster or the Cajundome box office for details.

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