‘Exotic Animals’ Will Not be at Missoula Circus, May Camp at Fairgrounds
If you want to see cats, Bozeman is the place to go, and not just for college sports. This year is the 70th anniversary of the Shrine Circus in Missoula, which will be in town on Friday, but according to Shriners spokesman Hal Gillette, no lions or tigers will be on display.
"Everything is ready to go, but it's not like normal, if that's what you call having lions and elephants on the scene, we won't have those this year, but it's still going to be a lively affair: rides for the kids, high-wire acts, everything that the circus provides except for the elephants and tigers," Gillette said.
Elephants and tigers were performing at the Shrine Circus in Bozeman last week and Missoula advertisement for the Jordan World Circus still mentions that there will be “exotic animal acts,” however, Gillette says the animals will be taking the night off when they get to Missoula, except for an act that features trained dogs.
"It's the same circus group, it just so happens that we're the only city in Montana that won't be having elephants and the cats," Gillette said. "They wanted us to try to find a place to store [the animals]. I don't know if this is true, but I heard that the county had offered the fairgrounds out here to store the elephants?"
Shriners are celebrating the 100th year anniversary of the Missoula “Algeria Temple” Shriners group at the circus this year. Funds raised at the circus go to help pay for Montana kids who need medical attention at any of the 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children, the closest of which, is in Spokane, Washington.
The exotic animals won't be in Missoula because of a vote by city council last year to ban exotic animal acts.