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Couple keeps circus traditions alive at Ag Expo & Fair

July 21, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Robert Bone of the Skin and Bones' Comedy Circus performs with Tootsie-Roll on Sunday for an audience at the Washington County Ag Expo & Fair.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

SHARPSBURG — The days of big circuses are becoming less frequent because of regulations and the costs of transportation, according to Mariah Skinner, who has been involved in the entertainment for years.


It also has become more difficult for circus acts and their animal shows to operate due to the actions of animal rights groups, Skinner said.

But Skinner and her husband are keeping the circus craft alive with their Skin and Bones’ Comedy Circus, which performed five shows at the Washington County Ag Expo & Fair on Saturday and Sunday.

Skinner and her husband, Robert Bone, kept about 40 spectators entertained during a 5 p.m. show Sunday that involved a pig, a dog and other attractions.

Bone came onto the stage early in the show juggling several flaming clubs.

“Boys and girls, never try this at home. Go to Grandma’s house,” said Bone, who dressed in a clown outfit, as did his wife.

When the pig took the stage, it used its nose to roll out a carpet for the show. It performed other tricks, too, like waving to the spectators.

The couple talked about how the pig was homely but talented.
“She takes after you,” Bone said to Skinner.

Skinner said in an interview before the show that she and her husband met in a circus operation in Florida. Skinner said she didn’t get into the business until her mid-30s and she had previously done a little teaching.

Skinner said her husband was interested in theater and later went to schooling for his circus work.

“They call it clown college,” Skinner said.

“They can’t teach you timing. Only audiences can teach timing,” Skinner said.

Skinner said she and her husband have performed in just about every state. When they return home to Alabama, they do other jobs to make ends meet.

“It’s hard to make a living,” Skinner said.

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