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Circus headed to Rio Rancho Star Center in August

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s  “Greatest Show on Earth,” elephants and all, is scheduled for five performances at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho Aug. 8 through Aug. 11, according to a publicity release.

The release said the circus will feature Asian elephants, camels, knife throwing and high wire acts, gymnasts and acrobats.

The announcement comes roughly six months after a majority of the City Council voted to change Rio Rancho’s animal ordinance, removing restrictions that prevented the circus from getting a city permit for performances scheduled at the Star Center in June 2012.

Circus producer Feld Entertainment switched venues to perform at Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque.

Losing the circus meant forgoing about $20,000 in profits, according to Star Center General Manager Gunnar Fox.


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Rio Rancho was unable to issue a permit because of regulations in its animal permit approved in 2011 that required traveling animal shows to be free of any settlements with the U.S. Department of Agriculture within the last five years.

Feld Entertainment paid $270,000 in November 2011 in a settlement with the USDA over alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

The city council approved revisions to the ordinance in December.