Scout Shows

Concho Valley Council

Scout Circuses

The first Scout Circus was held in the Municipal Auditorium in San Angelo on March 5, 1937.  Tickets were sold for the show for 25 cents with 15 cents of that going to the unit as commission.  All Scouts whose unit did not participate in the show were able to get in free if they sold five tickets.  The Scout in each of the three districts who sold the most tickets received a week's encampment at Camp Fawcett that summer, provided the winner sold as many as twenty-five tickets.  Scouts from outside of San Angelo were able to keep all the proceeds from their ticket sales to defray their traveling expenses to the circus.

One of the feature events of the Circus was a demonstration by five Troops of fourteen kinds of communications all within a short period of five minutes.  They included tom-tom, radio, telegraph, telephone, Greek relay teams, semaphore signaling, Tow Crier, Indian sign language, megaphones, bells, mirrors, and demonstrating the deaf sign language.  Of course signaling with flashlights using Morse Code was shown.

Other events held at the indoor circus included a whip demonstration put on by Troop 3, San Angelo, August Lehmann, Scoutmaster; advanced Scout skills, Cub games, Senior Scouting, Indian dancing, fire building, Tenderfoot Investiture ceremony of all new Scouts, rural Scouting, use of the Scout neckerchief, games and contests, rope spinning, this by Troop 53, Ozona, Joe Haddon, Scoutmaster; Scout to the rescue, pioneering and several clown events.  The clowns were played by Troops 10 and 12 of San Angelo.

Winter Garden Show

The Winter Garden District held a Scout Circus in Eagle Pass in the Stephen F. Austin Auditorium on November 13, 1937.  Scout troops from Carrizo Springs, Crystal City, Eagle Pass, Iraan, Quemado, and Sabinal and one Sea Scout Ship from San Angelo with one hundred and fifty Scouts, participated in the Saturday evening circus.

Prior to the show, a parade was held with all the Scouts marching from the auditorium to Ceylon Street and then down Main and Commercial Streets to the International Bridge.  They were led by the Carrizo Springs High School Band, the Eagle Pass High School Pep Squad, and future Scouts of Eagle Pass.

The theme of the show was "Boy Scouts are Prepared" and featured many of the events put on at the Circus in San Angelo in March.  The show lasted for one hour and ten minutes.  As part of the show, the Eagle Award was presented to Harry Mathis, of Eagle Pass, and Bobby Crawford of Crystal City.  The show ended with the sounding of "Silver Taps."

Troops 90, 91, 95, 96, of Eagle Pass, Troop 49 of Iraan, Troop 84 of Sabinal, and Sea Scout Ship 3 of San Angelo.

The Circus was held in Eagle Pass for two more years that we know of.  The last circus was held on December 9, 1939, using the them "America's Answer" with participation of Scouts from Uvalde, Sabinal, Del Rio, Crystal City, Carrizo Springs, Quemado, and Eagle Pass.  Fred Thompson, superintendent of schools at Eagle Pass, was director of the show.

First Outdoor Circus

The first outdoor Boy Scout Circus was held the night of May 6, 1938 in San Angelo at the High School Stadium.  The Iraan Boy Scout Band under the direction of Jacques Nonce provided music for this event.  Packs, Troops, and Sea Scout Ships form all across the council participated in this program of History and Scout Craft.  The theme of the circus was "Building a Stronger Generation."

J. Miles O'Daniel and Frank Barney served as directors of the show.  All Scouts and Scouters participated in the grand entry to the delight of the crowd.  They marched in behind the Cowboy Band, U.S., Troop and Patrol flags.  The grand entry was climaxed with a presentation of massed flags.

Next came a historical pageant led by Troop 35, Paint Rock; Troop 41, Bethel; Troop 48, Millersview; Troops 12,6,8,11, San Angelo; Troop 28, Menard; Troop 19, Eldorado; Troop 20, Sonora; Troop 53, Ozona; Troop 60, Sanderson; Troops 70,71, Sea Scout Ship 72,73,76,77, Del Rio.  The portrayed on still pictures, spotlighted in various parts of the arena, historical scenes in the territory occupied by the Concho Valley Council.

Part III of the circus featured all kinds of Scout Craft events such as First Aid and Safety, Cub demonstrations, Tenderfoot Investiture Ceremony, Bicycling, Communications, Senior Scouts, Games and Recreations, Camping, Indian Lore and Pioneering.  All Tenderfoot Scouts since January 1 of that year joined in the investiture ceremony.  The grand finale was under the direction of Robert G. Carr and completed the evening of fun and demonstrations.

Last Circus in 1940

The circus was held again on April 29, 1939, but we have little information on this event.  They were to have a melting pot, investiture service, Cubbing activities, Explorer Scouts, Sea Scouts and Zocahs, pioneering days, historical events, clowns and circus animals, along with all types of camping and signaling.

We do know that in 1940, the council decided to drop the circus and have a "Trail to Citizenship" Exposition in its place.  They wanted a show to emphasize the Scout advancement program which combined the best points of a merit badge show and Scout demonstrations.

Material for this story was taken from "Panjandrum A History of Scouting in the Concho Valley Council 1911-1941," by Frank T. Hilton, 1990

Date Updated:  January 10, 2003
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