SUISUN CITY — It started almost a century ago, when Roberto Osorio’s great-grandfather went to a circus in Mexico and fell in love with the girl on the trapeze.
“He ran away three times,” said Osorio, one of three brothers who run the American Crown Circus: Circo Osorio USA, which started six days of performances in Suisun City on Wednesday.
His great-grandfather’s family managed to catch him and bring him back three times, finally forcing him into the Mexican Army, where he learned to read and write, always keeping in touch with his future wife.
“Three years later, they married,” Osorio said, adding that his ancestor also started his first act by doing acrobatics – flipping over a trained bull.
The American Crown Circus: Circo Osorio USA circus is now run by brothers Franciso, Leonico and Roberto Osorio, the fourth generation of the Osorio family, which ran El Coloso De Las Americas Circo Osorio for 83 years, one of the oldest circuses in Mexico, and El Circo De Choya for 25 years.
When Osorio’s parents, Hermino and Rosabello Osorio, retired from the circus business and came to Texas to give their sons a good education, Hermino taught his sons circus tricks and stunts in their backyard in the early evenings – to keep them out of trouble.
“They wanted us to be doctors and lawyers,” Osorio said with a smile.
But they got bit by the circus bug, which sent them to work for other shows and parks that included the Carson & Barnes Circus, Knott’s Berry Farm and Circus Circus in Reno, Nev. Hermino even built his own trailer to travel with his sons in the business.
The 17-year-old Las Vegas-based circus is now a one-stage traveling operation with high-wire acts, acrobats, magicians and clowns that Osorio describes as “a Las Vegas-style production that is between Cirque de Soleil and the more traditional traveling circuses.”
“Ours is a very high-energy performance with nonstop action,” Osorio said of acts that include a motorcycle stunts on an incline wire and the Pendulum of Death, which he described as similar to a very large hamster wheel with several acrobats performing inside. “We want people to remember what it was like when their father or grandfather took them to the circus.”
With the exception of a two-year stint, the Osorios’ circus has been coming to Suisun City for 17 years.
“Suisun City is one of those towns that we feel very comfortable with. We are honored to be here,” Osorio said.
The circus opened Wednesday in the open field at Marina Boulevard and Highway 12. Performances will be offered at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; at 3, 5 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, and at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
The circus is sponsored by the Suisun City Community Services Foundation, which gets a percentage of ticket sales to support Suisun City recreation and community programs.
“He always put on a good show,” said Mick Jessop, Suisun City’s Recreation and Community Services director. “It is great entertainment and the prices are reasonable.”
The circus is one of several events that the foundation has planned to raise money. It is also sponsoring a carnival that will be in town for a six-day run during the second week of June.
A sponsorship and donation drive by the foundation will kick off next week to find local businesses and residents willing to help fund events such as Christmas in Old Town. Earlier this year, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. agreed to pay the costs of this summer’s Saturday Night Movies at the Plaza. The nine-week series starts June 21 with the Movie “Bolt.”
For more information about the circus, go to www.americancrowncircus.com. To help out the foundation, call 421-7200.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.