Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Greatest Show on Earth

Now really…

There is just nothing better than an off-brand circus.

If you EVER happen upon a gas station that is giving away free kid’s tickets to a circus nearby, you really have to go…and take everyone you know.

We found free tickets at a gas station near us, just this morning.

I called and asked Aaron if we could go.

Only my husband would say yes, fully knowing what he was getting himself into.

The coupon said, “The Esqueda Brothers Circus Extravaganza.” Who could miss such a promising event?

It was at the fair grounds in Navasota. Even better.

We picked up the Henry kids and headed to a land flowing with hilarity.




here we come!

On the way, we noticed there were no other cars anywhere in sight. None.

It seemed we were the only ones going to the circus.

We pulled into the parking lot and sure enough…we WERE the only ones going to the circus.

At first, we thought the circus was going to be in this little metal building sitting in the middle of a pasture.

I started clapping with excitement. Aaron started laughing. The kids were climbing over each other to get out of the car.

The extravaganza actually ended up being out doors, hidden from our view in the parking lot.
Before we got out of the car, I reminded the kids that we call these off-brand circuses, “soupuses.”

We can’t actually call them a circus. That would be wrong on so many levels.

They aren’t really a circus, as in a real, Ringling Bros. Circus.

However, they ARE just as entertaining, in their own unique and wonderful way.

At Ringling Bros. Circuses I say, “Ooh” and “Ah” a lot. I leave wanting to load up my family and immediately join the circus where we can play with elephants and wear sparkly clothes every day. It's like watching a dream, awake.

At a soupous such as the Esqueda Brothers Circus Extravaganza, there are absolutely NO “Oohs” and “Ahs.” Not a single one.

However, you do leave with some real-live pee in your pants.

This is what we walked up to:

Hot diggity this was going to be good.

Before the actual extravaganza began, a lady in her 80’s from Helsinki, Finland came out and encouraged us all to buy our circus coloring books. If your book had a star sticker in it, you got one of these elephants.

This was very exciting, since the only elephants at this soupus were these pink, plastic ones.

Then, the show began.

All of a sudden, a “different” lady came out from behind the curtain. She too was about 80 years old and from Helsinki, Finland as well. She looked almost identical to the coloring book lady, EXCEPT she now had on a shiny shirt.

These soupus people can be ever so tricky.

As the show went on, Aaron turned to me and said, "Wouldn't you just want to sit down with that lady and talk to her...I does a person get from Finland to the Fairgrounds in Navasota surrounded by soupus performers?"

I said..."I think I'm going to be her one day."

Can't you all see it coming?

The first act was the hula hoop girl. She came out wearing this:

Aaron says…

“Oh…good Heather…I’m glad we brought the Henry kids to the porno circus.”

I was crying with laughter.

I could not catch my breath. It did not help that every time I looked over at Joseph he was looking down at the ground...or at me, rolling his eyes.

Then, the “Space Princess” came out. I think she was wearing a bikini with a cape made out of a highway worker’s vest. I thought it was fantastic. And, it glowed in the dark. I want one.

Next came the contortionist.

She was also the girl who sold balloons during intermission. She was also the porno hula girl.
And to think...I call talking on the phone and cooking supper multi-tasking. Shame on me.

Next was my favorite segment of the soupous.

This was when the Finish MC would come out…the lights would all be off…and she would try to convince everyone that they needed to buy a glow in the dark circus toy.

Here were some of her pitches…

“This is a one of a kind, fiber optic Expando Sword.”

“You can hang these from your door knob, your bed post, or your rear-view mirror.”

And my favorite…

“This toy comes with a special, exclusive feature…an off and on switch.”

Aaron was laughing out loud and tears were running down his face.

How we love the soupus.

Intermission happened next.

Sparkly Finish lady said we must stay for the rest of the circus because the good stuff was coming up next…the dogs and snakes. She seemed worried her little crowd would leave. What?

Nothing could make us miss the dogs and snakes. Nothing.

During intermission, Sponge Bob came out to have his picture taken with kids for $5 a picture.

He was so filthy. His dirty Spongeness was literally hanging off his sponge parts down to his knee parts. You could shake his hand, or one of the dirt clumps hanging off of him. It was your choice.

Of course my kids had to go say hi to Sponge Bob. Of course we let them.

The second half kicked off with the Snake Ninja Master. That was really his name.

He was really dressed in a ninja costume. He was also the clown. He was also white.

He was a white ninja snake master who doubled as the soupus clown.

I could barely breathe.

The snake act consisted of picking up a snake out of a box and holding it up in the air…and walking around with it…while the Sparkly Finish MC saying, in a very panicked voice…

“Everyone stay seated. Please stay seated.”

Aaron was stomping his foot with laughter.

Hayden thought the Snake Ninja Master was the coolest person in the world. He wants to be him.

Then there was a juggling man. He was pretty good. He juggled little balls with his mouth. Spit was flying everywhere…but he really was incredible. Aaron said he was going to learn to do this. I was beside myself with excitement. However, I did say, "Honey can only practice this if Jason or Rusty are around so they can save you if you choke on one of those balls."

Then we laughed some more thinking about if Aaron died choking on a small plastic ball while learning to juggle with his mouth. I've always known Aaron would die doing something similar to this...something so silly and funny that the person presiding over his funeral could not even say out loud how Aaron died because he would start laughing.

Next up was the clown. However…the Ninja Snake Master had not had enough time to turn back into the clown…so there was a moment of awkwardness.

Have no fear.

Someone’s arm came out of the curtain holding a shiny flag…the Sparkly Finish MC took it…looked at it…and no joke said...

“Let's have a flag waving contest.”

And we really had one.

Now that’s thinking on her toes.

I wonder what we would have done if an arm had shot out of the curtain holding a jump rope…or a chihuahua.

The MC then says…"Our next performer is something spectacular. You’ve all heard of the amazing Baltista Family…so welcome, Amanda Gazellmo.”

What does that mean?

I thought Aaron was going to fall over.

I had my head buried in Ashton’s back weeping with laugher.

And…Amanda Gazellmo was…yep…you guessed it…the balloon girl, hula porn girl, and the contortionist.

It was like being at a Greater Tuna Circus.

The big finale were the dogs.

There were three of them. One rode a scooter. One jumped over a bar with shiny ribbons on it and one jumped rope.

Then our fun was over.

The kids had a blast.

Aaron will be sore from laughing so hard.

I had to come straight home and take a shower. I really did have some pee on me.

We laughed all the way home.

The kids were killing me recreating the soupus in our car.

We will drive for miles to see our next soupus.

There’s not many things that can make our family laugh so hard, we can’t even talk to each other in the moment.

I left all my mascara on that dirty floor of those fair grounds.

Those Esqueda’s…whew! My face hurts.

Long live the soupus.


Anonymous said...

that... is... amazing. Had I been there, I would have died (and I mean literally, seriously, ceased to live) as a result of seeing all that you saw, and upon hearing that you peed yourself, right then, that's when I would have kicked the bucket.

Melodi said...

ha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How can I ever thank you Hendricks enough for enriching the lives of my children with a SOUPUS???? I mean, I could never even hope to give them such a diverse lesson in culture and scantily-clad "rope dancers" and fiber optic thingies WITH on/off switches! I'm eternally grateful - TRULY - for the laughs that I had when they came home with their tales of adventure! I will NOT, however, miss the next road trip to the soupus. I might even learn to sew by then, so I too can have a shiny cape.

Jiffy News said...

Seriously one of the funniest things I've read in awhile. I can totally picture you and Aaron laughing uncontrollably (yet trying to control it) at this thing. Priceless!

Hendrick Family said...

I forgot to tell everyone this little secret...


A soupus, bless their hearts, actually thinks they are a circus. This means they charge real circus prices. Kids are usually free, but the adult tickets are about what you would pay to see a Ringling Bros. Circus.

Now...some people would be so upset that they paid good money to see a soupus instead of a circus...

But don't be. are paying to be entertained. Although NOT a circus...a soupus is JUST AS ENTERTAINING...and even more so in some cases than an actual circus.

clayton said...

wow... i laughed hard at this and i wasnt even there

Brandon said...

long live ninja snake master.

lisasmith said...


Howdy!! First question, is soupus a made-up word or accepted one? Kathryn Berilla and I are just wondering...

Second thing, you tell amazing stories! Remember when I told you that you are my new best friend due to your mass emails and blog? Well, I meant it (I'm not a cyber-stalker)! Thanks for being such an inspiration...I now have a ...don't know how to link it to anything yet...Sydni and I think you should hold classes...seriously, since you are the queen of all things blog!

Lastly, I would like to link your site to mine because I think all the people in my world deserve to read about all the people in your world. But, I didn't feel comfortable (or know how) doing it without asking you first.

See ya girlfriend!

Lyns said...

This totally has me rolling! I made Jason sit down and read this and he got a real kick out of it too. We really felt as though we were there sharing in all of the soupus excitement. We are so going next year!

Oh, I googled the 'The Esqueda Brothers Circus Extravaganza' and your site is the number 5 site that pops up. Some dear family is going to hear about this soupus coming to a town near them and google it to get some will they ever get some info. However, I don't know if this post will help or hurt their business. Hmmm???

Hendrick Family said...

Lisa has a blog! Yippy!!!

I'll go see it.

And no...the word soupus is just made up. I said we could call it the stupous, but Anson reminded me that we can't say the word stupid. He's so on the ball that kid. So...we decided to go with soupus.

And of away. Aaron and D.O. did our original links. I was about to lose my mind trying to figure out how to do it.

sarah said...

unbelieveable! its good to know quality entertainment can be found in Navasota.

this sounds alot like an Italian tv show I watched recently. maybe the Esqueda brothers and Cultura Moderna are in cooperation.

Anonymous said...

That was probably the funniest thing I've read in a very long time. I was laughing so hard I was crying. I'm glad you were so entertained. The soupus is coming near me soon, I might have to go.

Steeltown Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

momofbunch says ...
I picked up tickets in a Hardee's today for this soupus coming to my area in a couple of days. I googled and got your blog is hilarious! I don't think I have ever laughed that hard before! I had to read it to my husband when I finished! Will We Go? --- hmm!

Anonymous said...

Wow ~ I wish we would have seen your Blog before we went to this sad attempt at being a Circus! My three Grandkids and my Daughter and Son in Law were very unhappy about what we didn't see! The free kids coupon showed an Elephant. There was NONE! Everything was just about as you said, but at least I think you saw more than we did. We had one girl Arielist as you said, and one boy doing balance tricks. One Clown act and the snakes and dogs. That was it for the acts. We paid $36.00 for 3 Adults and $4.00 for each small bottle of Soda Pop. Also $4.00 for each very small bag of cotton candy. It was not that entertaining for the money that was spent! It also smelled very badly like Urine. I would tell everyone to save your money and wait for the next REAL Circus that comes to town.
I was entertained more from reading your Blog! Thanks for the laughter !

Anonymous said...

My 4 and 5 year olds and I went to this traveling "circus" two days ago in Charlotte, NC. They saw the tent and wanted to go. So I said we would check it out but no promises of paying to go inside. $12 for me and the two kids in free! Yes, it looked cheesey, and didn't smell great, but what did circuses look like 100 years ago? At least it was in a tent like days of old. I spent a total of $23 for three admissions, one cotton candy, one snow cone and one coloring book. My kids clapped, laughed, and sat in awe for 1.75 hours. They had just as much fun as they did at the Barnum/Ringling circus. Your comments were right on the money, but we still had a good time.

Lauren said...

I know this is a very old post. I was searching for info on the circus my daughter brought home a free ticket for. I'm not really keen on circuses and hoped to find something about the circus being abusive to animals so I'd have a good excuse not to take the children. I'm pretty sure your soupus is the same as this "circus" because there is a picture of the "snake charmer" dressed as a ninja AND there is a picture of spongebob. Yep, it's definitely the same crew you saw. Your entry is hilarious. BTW we're in Northeaster NC. Not really sure where you are.

jasonr_ said...

We were treated to a "teaser" version of this soupas last weekend at a Kids expo. The Circus doesn't actually open until tonight..

You will be glad to know the woman from helsiki, is still with them, and the sponge bob costume hasn't been washed yet.

The snake handler is no longer a Ninja, but is "Magico" or something (He's about 6'6" and "slow")..

And the dog that jumps through rings now just kind of jumps while they pass the ring around him.

Polaroids with Sponge Bob, or the snake are still $5.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this article...they are coming here - West Virginia - next week. I was online trying to find ticket prices and their website doesn't show a price. A couple of places online I found $12 per adult. I've never been to a circus - long story - and my daughter's 14 months old so I thought she might enjoy it. I think you saved us $24 plus drinks and popcorn! I'm thinking we'll just have to track down Ringling Bros. Anyway, thanks for saving us taking a day off and wasting our time having our daughter smell the urine soaked spongebob, heheh

Anonymous said...

yeah that sounds kinda weird, and now i have something to be worried about at night.

Katie said...

I laughed so hard reading this that I threw up a little (I am pregnant so this is not totally uncommom). My husband and I found some of those free tickets and I googled this "circus" to see what it was all about. Before I found your blog I was amazed at the pic of dirty spongebob on the ticket, apparently he is a selling point!

Logan Jacot said...

I am so glad I stumbled upon this blog. This entry had me rolling on the floor laughing. I have never read such an accurate review of this show before.