The elephants weren't shy as KOTA-TV talked with their owner. "I know they're scratching behind me aren't they," Catherine Carden laughed.
Carden is a 7th generation animal trainer, and elephants are just part of her speciality. "I love training animals. These guys I've been with for 40 years, since they were small, my mother raised them," said Carden.
And how is traveling with 8,000 pound elephants, 17 dogs, some horses and camels? "It's a circus!" Carden laughed again.
A circus indeed. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey Circus to be specific. And setting up for the 'The Greatest Show on Earth' takes time. "It was stressful the first 25 times we did it, but now that we're around 40, we've got it down," said Rob Lange, the general manager.
Even though it's less stressful these days, it still takes 9 hours to set up center stage. And after that -
"Then we bring in our animals make sure they have all the space they need backstage and front of the stage," said Lange.
The circus travels with a crew of 105, and then locals are hired to help set up before the show, and usher or provide medical support or security during the circus.
Lange says security is provided 24 hours a day to protect their animals from harm. "Our animals are very well taken care of, they're pretty much family here," said Lange.
And Carden knows what having an animal family is like. "It's a lifestyle, it's not really a job," said Carden. "It's like growing up on a farm, you can't imagine anything else. It's awesome."