As the 72 quarter poles are pulled into a nearly vertical position the tent material tugs on the tops of nearby poles, partially raising them. An elephant then puts each one in place by pulling on the pole's base which has been temporarily fastened to the elephant's harness with a length of chain. In the distance you can see a couple of the eight center poles which have been lifted to about a 30 degree angle as the tent has slowly risen. The center poles are the last to go into place and are vertically positioned.
Now that the BIG TOP is up, the last of the four
working elephants heads back to be with the
other 17 members of the circus's herd.
In 1998 the Carson & Barnes BIG TOP was 145 feet wide. Here is a view of
south end.The blue and white tent in the foreground
was part of the cook house.
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