WATSONVILLE — Nearly a century ago, a boy went to a circus in La Unión, a tiny town in Guerrero, Mexico. He fell in love with a young trapeze artist there, and immediately decided to join the circus to be with her.

Unwilling to accept such a decision, the boy’s family found him and brought him home. He ran away again, and again. On the third time his family had enough, and forced the boy to join the Mexican military.

Three years later, the boy got out of the military and tracked down his high-flying, long-lost love.

“He hunted her down and married her,” said Robert Osorio, a fourth-generation circus man who serves as ringmaster, manager and magician.

That marriage was the catalyst for a family tradition of circus life that has lasted nine decades, Osorio said.

The man’s son started Circo Osorio in Mexico, which lasted another generation.

But Osorio’s parents Herminio and Rosabelia brought him and his brothers Francisco and Leoncio to the U.S. with hopes they could have a “better” life as doctors or lawyers.

Those dreams were not to be. They plied their trade in such venues and circuses as Carson and Barnes, Clyde Beatty Cole Brothers Circus, Knott’s Berry Farm and Busch Gardens in Florida.

That changed when the man who directed the Las Vegas Circus Circus show saw their act and brought it to the locations in Reno and Las Vegas.

Once that was over, the family created American Crown Circus, Circo Osorio. The Las Vegas-based show comes to Watsonville starting Thursday.

Workers were busy Tuesday putting up the big-top tent that will house the show, which takes place in the empty field next to East Lake Village Shopping Center on East Lake Avenue.

“We’re celebrating 90 years,” Osorio said.

Instead of animal acts typical to traditional circuses, Osorio said his show specializes in acrobatics. This includes a quartet of acrobats from Kenya, a high-wire act and Easy and Cozy the clowns. The show also features what Osorio said is one of the youngest acrobats in the world, a 10-year-old girl who among other things shoots a bow and arrow with her feet.

“It’s about getting in there, having a good time and showing what the human body can do,” Osorio said.


American Crown Circus, Circo Osorio will run Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 3:30, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. and Monday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 per adult, which includes admission for two children 10 and under. For information, visit tinyurl.com/l56acav.

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