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Severe winds cancel Idaho Falls circus

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - Wind gusts of 60 miles per hour forced the Cirque Ma’Ceo equestrian circus to cancel Friday’s Idaho Falls performance.

Inside the big top, strong gusts created a low rumbling noise. Rattling metal filled the treble range.

“It’s pretty scary to be in here,” owner Olissio Zoppe admitted.

“I’m being extremely calm right now, but my heart is right here listening to that wind,” he added.

Local News 8 interviewed Zoppe inside his RV. The winds rocked it back and forth.

“Outside, it’s like a small train going by,” he said.

Cirque Ma’Ceo has toured in its current configuration since 2012. This is the first time it’s ever cancelled a show due to wind. Then again, it’s also its first time in Idaho Falls.

“The only time I’ve ever experienced wind like this is when this tent had gone through a hurricane,” Zoppe said. “Wind is the worst type of weather a big top can endure.”

The winds were also strong enough to tip over porta-potties, so the circus battened down the hatches.

“We put some extra stakes here,” Zoppe said, gesturing to the ground outside the big top, “as well as some extra straps, just to really brace the main mast.”

“Look at the amount of dirt that’s been blown,” he continued. “It’s covered up the T-plate almost completely. It’s like a desert storm!”

And don’t forget - this is an equestrian circus.

“Our first priority is the safety of our horses,” Zoppe said. “And they react to wind.”

Circus staff had to move the horses from an outdoor tent to a barn.

“Walking them from the horse tent to here was pretty chaotic,” Zoppe admitted. “But they did well.”

“Today was probably our biggest day,” he continued. “We were almost completely sold out.”

Those tickets are being honored at the weekend’s other shows. It’s not the sort of thing Zoppe planned for when booking this tour in December.

“We might’ve missed a couple details, like the main one being how powerful the wind can be out here,” he said.

But that, as they say, is show business.

The Cirque Ma’Ceo will perform Saturday at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., as well as Sunday at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., at the Bonneville County Fairgrounds.

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Sam Gelfand


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