By Stephenie Tatum/ParaglideFebruary 18, 2011
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - For 50 Fort Bragg children and their Families it was a party under the big top last week.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus invited the Families to a special animal care seminar followed by the main event, "Zing Zang Zoom," at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, Feb. 10.
The circus wanted to show their appreciation for the military and what they do for the country, said Jason Gibson, production manager.
For one Fort Bragg Family, it was not only a night to see the show, but it was also the first time in four years they were at an event as a Family.
Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Roller, his wife, Shelby, and six of their seven daughters who range in ages from 15 years to 17 months were chosen by the Armed Services YMCA to attend a free night of entertainment.
"Being invited is great since we have such a large Family. The big deal for us is that dad is home this time. It has been about four years since we have done something like this as a Family," said Shelby.
The Families watched as cats, dogs and birds performed tricks of all kinds using commands given by their trainers. Susie, a 46-year-old Asian elephant drew the most attention as she sat on a stool and waited for her next command. After completing her tasks successfully, Susie was given a loaf of bread as a snack, which she ate in one swallow.
Rebecca Freeman came to the circus with her sons, A.J., 3, and Chase, 9, and was surprised to find out about the seminar.
"I didn't even know about the preshow. That was pretty awesome," Freeman said. Freeman said she appreciated for the opportunity to attend the circus while her husband is deployed. "It's excellent to have something to do with the kids. It can be hard to keep them entertained by yourself. I feel so fortunate," she said.