Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Like Napolean, I Am Blessed With a Great, Great Army of Men

One of the hardest things I have attempted in my life is to built a new cage act on the road.  It is very different from adding one or two animal's or a new behavior.   I have always appreciated and admired GGW for building the great leopard act on the road, and how he did it, in addition to performing with tigers, elephants, horses, etc. to this day is almost beyond my realm of comprehension.   We have managed to "get er done" because I have a fabulous crew of men.

Above is my "main man" Ramon attaching the chute, and behind him is "Bin Laden". because he looks like Bin Laden.   Ramon and I have worked together for a number of years, and although we don't speak the same language, we have come to understand each other, although sometimes he take's "liberties."  Last week when I finished practicing and turned to tell Ramon to let the tigers out of the cage, he was no where around.  I stood in the cage by my self for 15 min.  until he returned.   As I was reading him the "riot act" for leaving and not watching my back,  he is trying to tell me in "Spanglish" that he had to go to the bathroom and didn't know how to ask in English, so he just left.   He then told me I should be reading the "riot act" to Gabriel, because he had used all the paper, and if he(Ramon) didn't have to go look for more, he would have been back before I noticed he was gone.   :)   How can you be angry at that reasoning?   The other day Ramon was asked what English he had learned working with me this long, and he picked up my whips and sticks, threw them on the ground and said, "son of a bitch!!!!"   :)  Oh, we have so much fun, don't we, mi amigo, Ramoncito

 Above is Armando with the puto pony tail, and Pepe on the left and Juan on the right.   Armando is presenting the old tiger act on the show and is on deck to take over the new act when it is completed.  Armando's sister Monica is married to Ricardo Aguilar.   Initially, Armando thought the 2 male tigers in his current act were tough.  That was until he saw the 10 in the current act being trained.  He is learning a lot more about what "testosterone" really is, and why I told him initially the 6 females in the new act were going to be a "piece of cake."  :)  That is Pepe, Juan and Gabriel in the picture at the bottom attempting to stay warm and comfortable in the extra side wall.    Loyal men who refuse me nothing.  When I sense there is a security risk to the tigers, and tell them they must sleep in the tent to keep an eye on them, they do what is necessary.

Last but surely not least is Gabriel.   Gabriel doesn't like to "exert" himself in the morning, so taking advantage of his other talent's I give him 200 pesos every morning when he stumbles out of bed and send him  to the Oxoxo store to get coffee, cokes and cappachino's for everybody and set up the buffet table before practice.   We call Gabriel "Senior Infection" because earlier in the year one of the tigers clawed him on the hand, while he was being careless with the water pan.  Not taking care of the wound like I told him(after all what do I know about tiger wound's, right Gabriel?) he developed a severe infection which required hospitalization for two weeks and he was this close to losing the whole arm.   After two weeks in the hospital, he was instructed not to work for two week's so Pancho Aguilar graciously provided him with a hotel room to "recuperate."    After finally returning back to work, 10 day's later Gabriel disappeared.  Nobody knew where he was or what had happened to him.   Later in the day, I went to Pancho and told him we needed another man as Gabriel had disappeared.   He said, "no, he is at the hotel."  I said, "what is he doing back at the hotel?"   Kind hearted Poncho said, "he told me his infection had returned, so I got him another room at the hotel, and told him to take a few days off."  I said, "Poncho, infections don't return once they are gone!!!!!"   Poncho said, " all I know is what Gabriel told me."  Gabriel thought he had found the promised land, until I went to the hotel and got him, telling him "what is the matter with you!!!  Ramon didn't get his cappachino yesterday and was "llorando como un nino."   When ever Gabriel show's up late, which is every other day, the men ask him if he has an infection.  :)  That's why he is our "coffee puto."

That's Freddy in the Chicago Bulls jacket.  He owe's me 2000 peso's, so he is hard to find most of the time.  He prefers to wait until I am someplace else to come out of hiding to ask Armando(behind Freddy) what else need's to be done.  :)  That's "Bin Laden" on the left  "patiently" waiting for Gabriel to get the "breakfast buffet" table set so he can have his coffee.  He has already spent a busy morning watching Ramon hook up the chute(see above) and needs a break.  :)


Anonymous said...

Lol partner it looks like u could use a hand or an expert tiger groom that knows your style of training!

Bruce the Clown said...

Wow! Remind me to stay 15-20 feet outside that chute . . . great photo essay, liberally sprinkled with the inimitable Burck wit . . .

Fun read!

Wade G. Burck said...

15-20 foot is going to put you to close, trust me. A new, "better designed and safer" chute is being built for the new tiger act. Right now I am able to keep an eye on this one, as I shift the cat's in and they have all been trained to run into the arena together, and exit all together, instead of being contained in the chute they just pass through it. In Mexico all, and I mean all felines are declawed, which was an issue for me and before accepting the offer to train a new act I had to be assured that they would not be declawed. It is just easier for myself to shift them in and out then to have to always tell folks "these are not like the old tigers, they will hook you. Stay back....." The new one is being built with a framework, doors, and 2 1/2 inch squares instead of the 6 inch squares on the old chute. When the tigers were younger, I insisted that cages be pushed up to the arena, instead of using the chute, because I wasn't comfortable that the small tiger's wouldn't get their head through and cause problems. Once they had grown to a size I was comfortable with they were taught to run down the chute to the arena.