Clown act new addition to local Shrine Club

In an effort to add some pizzazz to the public persona of the Border Shrine Club, and to the success of Shriner-sponsored charities, six of its members have volunteered for clown duty–suit, makeup, and all.
The local clown troupe, trained by members of Winnipeg’s “Khartum Komedians,” includes Cal Robertson, Van Green, Bruce Holmlund, Doug McIntyre, Delbert Ross, and club president Harvey Hudson.
He said the idea to take on the clown roles at the local level stemmed from a lack of acts included in circus productions here in recent years.
“The idea primarily started with the circus not have sufficient clown acts and a circus isn’t a circus without clowns,” stressed Hudson, who is known in clown circles as “Spud.”
In fact, four of the six pulled off a zany “dentist routine” in the centre ring during two performances with the Garden Bros. Shrine Circus here last week.
“Spud” and his sidekicks–“Robby the Bobby” (Robertson), “Why Not” (Holmlund), and “Bo” (Green)–said they were pleased by the positive support from the crowd for their clown debut.
But he added the importance of their new-found roles was realized earlier that day at the Fort Frances Children’s Complex.
“We got an incredible reaction from the children. They take it all in,” he enthused. “It’s their immediate attachment to someone they don’t even know from a hole in the ground that is [amazing].
“To a three-year-old, clowns are the circus,” he stressed.
Green, who is contemplating a name change from “Bo,” said he was looking forward to making the most of his get-up during other events the Shriners participate in, like parades.
Traditionally, Shriners are seen sitting in the club’s fire engine or riding around in small canoe-like vehicles during those events.
“I think it would be a lot more fun [being a clown] than just sitting in the [truck] like a stick in the mud or riding around in that darn canoe,” Green reasoned.
Meanwhile, learning how to be a good clown is going to take some work–and good old-fashioned practise, stressed “Robby the Bobby.”
“Spud” agreed, noting the local troupe also will have to get busy and manufacture their own props.
“We’re very green at this [and] there’s a lot to learn about being a clown,” he said. “In fact, there are some very expensive courses you can take for it.”
“We are strictly in an infancy stage with this,” reiterated Green. “But we’re already realizing there’s a lot of potential in forming the clown group.
“We’re already seeing how we can do things better. The challenge will always be there to do [that],” he stressed.
The Border Shrine Club clowns are expected to be out in full force for the July 1 parade here and the July 4 one in International Falls, as well as participating in Railroad Daze in Rainy River later this summer.