Clowns, elephants and trapeze artists will once again grace the River Center as the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus comes to Baton Rouge. However, this Zing Zang Zoom Gold Edition is much more than the usual circus fare. The Urias family, also known as the “First Family of the Motorcycle Globe,” will be taking center stage.
Each show will have brothers, Erwin and Melvin Urias revving up their custom motorcycles to thrill audiences with amazing stunts, which they’ve been perfecting since their early teen years.
Erwin Urias jokes that he didn’t have to run away and join the circus.
“Luckily, I was born into it,” he said. “My great grandfather owned a circus that traveled through South America.”
It was that great grandfather, Joaquin Urias, who created the marquee attraction of motorcycles defying gravity inside a metal mesh globe by racing up and around the sphere at highway speeds.
“The natural allure of motorcycles inside of a tight steel round cage blazing around at 60 miles an hour--missing each other literally by inches--is definitely exciting,” Erwin Urias said.
Speeding around in circles at high speeds requires incredible balance and timing. Luckily, the Urias family has figured out a way to avoid getting dizzy.
“We do what fighter pilots do,” Urias explained. “Whenever you are on a tight spin, if you look almost over your shoulder at a forty-five degree angle, you’re looking ahead of where you’re going, and everything there is going at a lot slower rate.”
Urias also explained that like professional athletes, everyone in the show has a very specialized sense of awareness when performing.
“My peripheral vision is extensive and when we are riding inside [the metal globe], I see my brother’s fiancée on her motorcycle, my brother and where he’s at, and my wife [who is standing in the center]. That also helps me from getting dizzy,” Urias said.
The Urias family legacy as the “First Family of the Motorcycle Globe” stretches back through four generations, which means they have seen many changes in motorcycle technology.
Modern cycles are lighter and more powerful than bikes used by Urias’ grandfather and father. Stunts with heavier bikes can be riskier, even if they don’t look as impressive as today’s show.
Still, Urias has a phenomenal respect for the bravery of his family elders and what they’ve accomplished.
“The tricks they did weren’t as extravagant as what we do now-a-days, but that set the precedent for what we are doing.”
In addition to the blurring velocity inside the globe, the Urias family also juices up their act by developing new tricks and variations as well as extra technical staging innovations to really rile up audiences.
“We’ve added U.V. lighting, black lighting...we’ve done it with pyrotechnics, strobe lights, and that just adds more to that visual effect to ‘wow’ people.”
Even though the Urias Family will undoubtedly put on a fantastic show, this Zing Zang Zoom Gold Edition circus also features acrobats, amazing animals, clowns, an illusionist, and much more to give the audience some incredible family fun--especially if they arrive early for a special “all access pass.”
“We invite everyone with the purchase of a ticket, to come down to the arena floor to meet the performers, interact with us, sit on the bikes, take photos, and ask questions,” Urias said.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey The Greatest Show On Earth: Zing Zang Zoom Gold Edition, will be at the Baton Rouge River Center from July 28 - July 31, 2011. For show times and tickets go to www.ringling.com