performers/billyrodgers.html by HTTrack Website Copier/3.x [XR&CO'2014], Fri, 02 Jun 2023 04:11:44 GMT --> Billy Rodgers Circus Performer
Circus Main Entrance Circuses Circus Performers Circus Sideshows Circus Sideshow performers Life with the circus Circus owners and managers sg飞艇在线开奖 Circus candy butchers


Billy Rodgers and his trained birds

Click to enlarge
Photo Credit: State Archives of Florida

Billy Rodgers

Oct. 18, 1934 - Nov. 24, 2008


Billy Rodgers bird act
Click to enlarge

William Merle "Billy" Rodgers was born Oct.. 18, 1934, in Orwell, Ohio, he was the son of Merle Clayton Rodgers and Zella Charlotte (Jones) Rodgers. Billy's father was a letter carrier and passed away when Billy was only 10 years old.

As a child Billy saw several circuses with his parents and became fascinated with the aerial acts, he thought "that's what I want to do". He put up a trapeze in his backyard and began practicing on his own.

Billy's fascination continued through his young years and into his college age. While attending Kent State University, he met a magazine salesman and asked him if he knew of any circus magazines. The salesman told him that there was one called the "Billboard", but he did not know where to buy one. Billy found it was available at the bus station in Warren, Ohio, so he drove to Warren and bought one. In that issue there was an ad placed by a circus, who were hiring riggers, big top help and ushers. Billy applied for an usher position and was hired, he then quit college, took the train to Macon, Georgia and in 1954 joined the King Bros. Circus at $14.00 dollars a week and room and board.

The circus was co-owned by Floyd King and Arnold Maley. Rodgers worked hard that first season, helping put up the big top, driving stakes, carrying seat boards and everything else it took to move a circus.

He was soon noticed by Esma Maley a former aerialist and wife of co-owner Arnold. Esma took a liking to the young man and promoted him to the wardrobe department, which was an easier job and offered better accommodations. Soon the circus needed a clown and Billy began clowning. Billy's fascination with aerial acts had not stopped and with the assistance of Esma he began practicing the "cloud swing" in between performances. During the season several acts left the show, so the Billy's cloud swing act was introduced into the performance. Rodgers' dream had come true, he was now a circus aerialist, earning $ 20.00 a week.

Billy continued to perfect his cloud swing and began working on a revolving ladder act. In 1959 his good friend Kenny Dodd began working with him on the revolving ladder.

Billy continued to perform at circuses, shrine dates and fairs, then during the fall of 1969 Rodgers was involved in a serious automobile accident which left him partially crippled and ended his aerial career.

After the accident Billy formed a bird act for which he became very well known. He once again traveled throughout the country performing at circuses, parks and fairs with his trained birds.

After Billy's retirement from the road he opened the "Pirates Treasure Cove" in Gibsonton, Florida, a store which sold circus wardrobe related products, (rhinestones, sequins, tights Etc.). The store became very popular with showpeople. Billy also became very involved with the International Independent Showmen's Association and the annual Showmen's Circus.

Zella, Billy's mother lived in Gibsonton with her son in her later years. She injoyed life, and would always be seen with Billy at the Showmen's Club events and parties. Zella passed away on August 3, 2001.

William Merle "Billy" Rodgers died at age 74, November. 24, 2008 of colon cancer.


Billy Rodgers circus performer
Click to enlarge
Billy Rodgers Circus Bird Act
Click to enlarge


Main Entrance List of sg飞艇官网开奖结果查询 Circuses List of Circuses Performers List of Circus Owners
Main Entrance Circuses Return to Circus Performers Owners

 Copyright © 2013 Circuses and Sideshows Dot Com  
performers/billyrodgers.html by HTTrack Website Copier/3.x [XR&CO'2014], Fri, 02 Jun 2023 04:11:46 GMT -->