The First Time I Met Pete
It has been fifty years since Pete
joined the show. He is from Breckenridge, Minnesota and was
twenty four years old when we played his home town at the county
fair. It's a small county fair held in the City Park each year.
The park is located right downtown in Breckenridge.
I had seen Pete on the main street in town. As I remember we had
arrived a day or two before the fair had
I had this girl working for me as my boss canvasman at that time.
Her name was Jerry Burk. Jerry was always one of those people full
of fun and "BS". She asked me if I had seen "that dwarf up there
in town", I told her "yes I saw him." She then asked me if I
wanted her to go and promote him? I said "oh sure go ahead", I
figured she was just full of bull. Well in about an hour here she
comes with Pete!
Jerry said "let me introduced you to Pete Terhurne. He wants to
join the show." I talked to him for a little while and said "ok
why don't we do this, because your from this town why don't we put
you in clown make up so that everybody doesn't recognize you in
this small town." So we put him in clown makeup and he became our
ticket taker. But we didn't fool anyone, everybody came up and as
they handed him their ticket they patted him on the head and said
"hello Pete see you're working with the fair this week."
From Breckenridge we had a long jump, we jumped almost a thousand
miles from Minnesota down to
Springfield, Missouri. Pete worked for us for that week also.
Then we jumped from Springfield back up to forty miles North of
Breckenridge to Fargo, North Dakota. Well Pete had a sister who
lived in Fargo so Pete told his mother that he wanted to go up and
spend a week with his sister. He knew we were going to be at the
fair when he asked his mother. His mother told him it was ok. So
Pete went up to stay with his sister Audrey in Fargo. Sure enough
when we pulled onto the lot hereís sister Audrey with little
Pete. He wanted to go to work, I told him "ok sure."
Before the week was over we were going from Fargo to Huron, South
Dakota and he said he would like to stay with the show. We had to
go through Breckenridge to get to Huron. I told Pete that when we
got to town we would stop so I could talk to his mother. When we
arrived in Breckenridge I stopped by and talked to Gladys. She
said "ok when the week's up just put him on the bus and send him
home." I told her I would.
halfway through the state fair in Huron Pete came to me and told
me he didn't want to go back home, he just wanted to stay with the
show. I told him if he wanted to stay with the show it would be
fine, after all he was twenty four years old, so he stayed with
Our next stop was in Spencer, Iowa. About the second day we were
there here comes the Sheriff. He asked me if we had a little
fellow there by the name of Pete Terhurne? I told him "yes thatís
him right over there." He said he wanted to talk with him so I
said "sure go ahead." So he went over and started talking to him.
I didn't interfere. After a couple of minutes he came back and I
asked him if there was a problem. He said no. He told me that his
mother was concerned about him and she had asked him to come out
to the fair and check on him to see if he was alright. She wanted
to make sure he wasn't being held against his will. Pete told him
that he liked the show and wanted to stay with it. The Sheriff
told me that he was going to call his mother and she would be
relieved. I told him that it was ok and to tell her he will be
coming home at the end of the season.
We closed that season in Anniston, Alabama. I remember that we
went out to one of the smaller areas around Anniston, it was call
Oxford. That's where we put our equipment in storage for the
winter. We had something we wanted to do so we stayed over for a
few days because The Ringling Brothers Circus was still under
canvas then, so we went to Anniston to see the show and visit.
After the show we went to Birmingham where I put Pete on a plane
and sent him home, that was in 1954.
In 1955 we waited until we got up into Michigan in the spring then
we sent for Pete and he came and joined the show. At the end of
that season we wintered in Miami and Pete stayed with us. He also
stayed with us for the season and winter of 1956.
Then he went home for a visit in 1957 and would go home for visits
occasionally after that. Pete flew home when his mother died, and
returned again for his fathers funeral. That was the last time he
went up there. His sister moved to Minneapolis and he would go up
and stay for a week or two with her in the winter. From then on he
would just stay with us, and that's how it's been for the last
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