Tag Archives: shrine clowns

Clowning Around,Again, in Siouxland, Midwest Regional Shriners Convention, Sioux City

23 Aug
Putting their best foot forward, clowns from 14 Midwest regional Shrine centers which includes Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Dakota and North Dakota compete during the Midwest Shrine Association 2021 clown competition at the Southern Hills Mall common court in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Every few years there is Shriners convention that takes place in Siouxland, Sioux City to be specific, with the Abu Bekr Shrine Center here hosting. One of the events open to the public is a competition of Shriner Clowns from this region that includes, Iowa, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota. Minnesota and Michigan. These folk get together, share their craft, and work to improve upon it as the majority of their time is spent in Shriner hospitals interacting with children undergoing medical treatment.

Clowns competing from 14 Midwest regional Shrine centers that include Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Dakota and North Dakota get competition details during the Midwest Shrine Association 2021 clown competition at the Southern Hills Mall common court in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Kelly Houts “Whoops” of the Abu Bekr Shrine Center in Sioux City is still competing at 92 years old as he and other clowns from 14 Midwest regional Shrine centers which includes Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Dakota and North Dakota compete during the Midwest Shrine Association 2021 clown competition at the Southern Hills Mall common court in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Taking an opportunity to fill in for the judges, from left Larry Rode “Ziggy” of Bloomington, MN and the Zuhra Shine Center, Randy Johnston “Clifford” of Eau Claire, WI and the Zor Shrine Center, center and Ray Leeman “Micestro” of Deadwood, SD and the Naja Shrine Center as they and other clowns from 14 Midwest regional Shrine centers which includes Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Dakota and North Dakota compete during the Midwest Shrine Association 2021 clown competition at the Southern Hills Mall common court in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The clowns are judged by other clowns, or rather, members of a Shrine center outside of the region. They are judged on their costuming and then on short skits, never longer than 3 minutes, and sometimes as short as the time it takes to walk onto the “stage’ and off again, as one clown did during this contest. And the skits are quite silly. But to a sick child, am certain they each brings smiles and a relief, however brief, from whatever pain or emotional distress they and their family is going through. And these gentlemen seem to relish every bit of being the “class clown” and performing.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Jay Pifer, “Poppy” , of the Sioux Falls, SD El Riad Shrine Center performs his skit during the clown competition at the Midwest Shrine Association 2021. Pifer said he likes to compete to learn to improve his “clowning” so when he entertains sick children at Shriner Hospitals he is better able to help them forget any pain during their brief encounters. Clowns from 14 Midwest regional Shrine centers which include Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Dakota and North Dakota attended at the Southern Hills Mall common court in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Josh Shepperd “Gadget” of Sioux Falls, SD and the El Riad Shrine Center listens to instructions from judges as clowns from 14 Midwest regional Shrine centers which includes Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Dakota and North Dakota compete during the Midwest Shrine Association 2021 clown competition at the Southern Hills Mall common court in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sue Berry wears a tee shirt showing support for her father, Kelly Houts as clowns from 14 Midwest regional Shrine centers that include Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Dakota and North Dakota compete during the Midwest Shrine Association 2021 clown competition at the Southern Hills Mall common court in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Kelly Houts “Whoops” of the Abu Bekr Shrine Center in Sioux City is still competing at 92 years old as he and other clowns from 14 Midwest regional Shrine centers which includes Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Dakota and North Dakota compete during the Midwest Shrine Association 2021 clown competition at the Southern Hills Mall common court in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Randy Johnston, “Clifford” of Eau Claire, WI and the Mehara Shrine Center performs his skit during the Midwest Shrine Association 2021 clown competition at the Southern Hills Mall common court in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. Clowns from 14 Midwest regional Shrine centers that include Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Dakota and North Dakota attended to compete (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Ray Leeman “Micestro” of Deadwood, SD and the Naja Shrine Center listens to instructions from judges as clowns from 14 Midwest regional Shrine centers which includes Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Dakota and North Dakota compete during the Midwest Shrine Association 2021 clown competition at the Southern Hills Mall common court in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Josh Shepperd “Gadget” of Sioux Falls, SD and the El Riad Shrine Center listens to instructions from judges as clowns from 14 Midwest regional Shrine centers which includes Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Dakota and North Dakota compete during the Midwest Shrine Association 2021 clown competition at the Southern Hills Mall common court in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sisters Mary Backlund, left, Patty Houts and Sue Berry make a face as they register clowns from 14 different Midwest regional Shrine centers which include Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Dakota and North Dakota to compete during the Midwest Shrine Association 2021 clown competition at the Southern Hills Mall common court in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Ray Leeman “Micestro” of Deadwood, SD and the Naja Shrine Center performs his music skit as he and clowns from 14 Midwest regional Shrine centers which includes Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Dakota and North Dakota compete during the Midwest Shrine Association 2021 clown competition at the Southern Hills Mall common court in Sioux City, Iowa Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Clowning Around in Siouxland, Sioux City

20 Feb

This weekend the International Shrine Clown Association held a mid-winter convention in Sioux City, Iowa, where Shrine clowns from across the U.S., Canada and Mexico participated in clowning around. I attended a Saturday session of clowns performing their skits. The local Abu Bekr Shrine has sponsored an annual circus visit to Sioux City for many years in the spring and participate in local events and bringing smiles to children. According to the local Shrine’s website “The Shrine’s charitable arm is the Shriners Hospitals for Children, a network of twenty-two hospitals in the United States, Mexico and Canada. It was originally formed to treat young victims of polio, but as that disease was controlled, they broadened their scope. They now deal with orthopedic care, burn treatment, cleft lip and palate care and spinal cord injury rehabilitation.”

It appears that many of the clowns are older, having been members of their various local Shrines for years. And in tradition of clowning, their antics and skits are a bit old fashioned and sophomoric. But still fun. The sad part was seeing this open-to-the-public event was not well attended by the public. Sometimes I wonder if local media anymore really helps publicize such charitable goings on more than a quick story or video a day before and a brief description in a calendar of events.

Nonetheless, it was entertaining and the clowns actually very polished in presenting their skits. Nothing amateurish about these men and their love of craft. Something children of all ages would have greatly enjoyed.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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