Legends of the Midwest

 BOB'S CIRCUS: The Worst Circus Ever    by Matt LaChae  for Legends of the Midwest Magazine

HoMoCo Strikes Again: Here comes yet another report of a unwise investment by Hot Mont's company: They became the primary stockholder in what could have very well been the world's worst circus.  HoMoCo  held  51% of the worthless stock  in Bob's Circus when it finally folded in 1978.  Read below about just how unwise an investment this actually was.


Bob’s Circus was a midwestern phenomenon. Never before had a worse circus traveled from small town to small town. A horrible act billed as” The Stripeless Zebra” turned out to be a nothing more than a large dog. Animal trainers were actually children or midgets in cages with house cats (probably in an effort to make us think the cats were bigger than they actually were).

The sideshow acts on the way into the “big top” were equally bad. “The Bearded Man” was an absolute waste of twenty-five cents. To make matters worse, it wasn’t even a real beard! And, speaking of the “big top”, the tent was in disrepair; water would pour in onto the bleachers, soaking the fans during the all too common summer thunderstorms.

How Bob’s Circus ever existed for over ten years is a mystery to all who experienced the show. During the last couple of years of Bob’s existence, another even worse “mini” version was added to expand the reach of the circus into really small towns where the full Bob’s Circus was unaffordable. This was called “Bob’s Circus Lite, and featured only a small photo gallery of the different acts and sideshows. No actually moving parts required. Admission to Bob’s Circus Lite was just seventy-five cents.

This “light” version, for obvious reasons, never caught on and was discontinued even before the main circus collapsed. Rumor has it that the “big top” tent finally disintegrated from the years of weathering, and that was just enough to mercifully bring the legendary “Bob’s Circus” to a well- deserved end.

Bob went on to build an equally bad amusement park near Ridgeway, Pa called “ Bob’s Amusement Park” This was nothing more than a glorified children’s playground. People refused to pay a dollar to ride a “teeter-totter” called  “The Gravity-Free Flyer”, and would not stand in line for such rides as “ The Hellhole Spinner” (a self-propelled merry-go-round not unlike the ones at kid’s playgrounds).

We welcome emails about Bob’s Circus; if we get some good ones, they’ll be published in next month’s “Legends of the Midwest”.  bobscircus@websitecrafters.net

2003 Matt LaChae


Update 5/5/03: Here are a couple of the emails about Bob's Circus that have been coming in:

Tom Slavin of Ohio writes about Bob’s Circus:

"Speaking of Bob’s Circus, I remember as a young boy going to the circus in my hometown of Bolivar, Ohio several times. My dad would round up all the neighborhood kids and off we’d go in the old Dodge station wagon. Bob’s Circus now seems pretty cheesy, but at the time, to a bunch of small town kids it was as exciting as a Ringling Brothers show".

Belle Glade of Punta Rassa, Fl writes:

"One of my favorite parts was the feline trainer. This was a young girl who would go into a cage with what looked  to be two overfed, sleepy house cats. They would pretty much ignore her. We all thought it was a great act. Another crowd pleaser was the stripeless zebra, which was actually a pony the first time I went to Bob’s Circus, the next year the stripeless zebra had magically turned into a large shaggy dog. I guess budgetary constraints existed even in the sixties."


The horrible, gut-wrenching, REAL TRUTH behind Bob's
circus....is...is....is...HIS REAL NAME IS POOP! THAT'S RIGHT!  POOP!!!
Only in a city the size of Erie could a man named POOP start a circus called
"BOB'S CIRCUS"!! There...I've said it...let the TRUTH SET ME FREE!!!

Also known as..... POOP, MASTER OF CEREMONIES.


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