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Ringling Bros. Ringmaster rides horse in circus

Ringmaster Andre McClain with Comanche
Ringmaster Andre McClain with Comanche
Feld Entertainment/Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

He’s a father who’s entertained you during pre-shows at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Now you’ll see him take center stage as the Ringmaster. Andre McClain is a dad and leading man of the 143rd Edition of Ringling Bros. Presents Built To Amaze!SM

The show is at Quicken Loans Arena, Wednesday, October 23 through Monday, October 28. Tickets range from $17.00 to $85.00. Click here for more details.

I talked with McClain last week about his rise to Ringmaster of the Greatest Show on Earth.

“It’s weird because I never imagined myself being the Ringmaster of Ringling,” McClain said. A pre-show host and animal trainer, McClain says he spent 10 years doing the pre-show for Ringling and loved it!

But a year ago he found out he would set aside his pre-show for the main gig. “ A talent scout handed me this folder and it said, ‘the 143rd Ringmaster is Andre McClain’. I thought I was being punked. And still to this day, it’s overwhelming. It’s a great experience, a great opportunity.”

McClain is the first-ever singing equestrian for the Ringling Circus. He will be singing on his horse, Comanche.

This ringmaster is right at home with horses. He grew up on a ranch in Kansas City, Missouri. He sang country music. “It was nice growing up there. My focus was always on horses. If I wasn’t in school, I was riding a horse,” McClain said.

His father founded the Bill Pickett Rodeo, America’s first all-black touring rodeo. It’s where Andre made his competitive debut at seven-years old.

Now as Ringmaster of Built to Amaze, McClain also last year acquired another title. Husband. He married Daniele, a backup dancer and singer in the show. The couple has two children, a 14-year old daughter and 13-year old son. Both his children attend the school, provided by Ringling Bros. [Last year I interviewed the schoolteacher, Ringmaster Johnathan Iverson and his wife.]

I asked McClain about the importance of engaged parenting, given the many forces that can negatively impact our children—for example, social media.

“It’s very important to be involved, especially nowadays. Today, social media has taken over. I monitor everything that goes on with the phone. I spend a lot of time with them [two children]. It’s important to keep their minds busy. Kids forget to pick up pen, pencil and write. Schooling starts at home and not at school. Some parents tend to forget that. I believe in you go to school, you do homework and come home and spend an hour reading.”

McClain and his family will be at the show. He wants you to be there too. “It’s custom-built for family fun,” he said. "You don't want to miss it. It’s high energy from beginning to end.”

Click here for tickets.

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