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  • Writer's pictureRochelle Gridley

Gridley Gym Circus, 1948 and 1949

The superintendent at Gridley High School was a gymnast and probably had something to do with the fact that the school had a gym circus beginning in 1948. He had been a star athlete while attending NCHS and was a member of the Gamma Phi Circus from 1934 to 1936 at ISNU (in addition to being a football star at ISNU as well).

Thirteen years after leaving ISNU, Murray could still show the students how gymnasts were done:

Although most of the performers were probably high school students, when the gymnasts needed a "flyer" they usually used a smaller grade school girl. Here Patty Reeves sails through the air with a smile on her face while Roger Kirkton waits to catch her. (No mat, no spotters!) David Burke and Trent Clausen were the throwers.

In 1948 the gymnasts weren't up to such dangerous stunts and formed a pyramid with their superintendent in the center. The students were Roger Kirkton, Darwin Hany, Harley Forbes, Robert Keifer and Orlyn Zehr.

Here Darwin Hany (1948) is doing a stunt more often seen on the parallel bars, using Les Murray as his bars.

Gymnastics must have done a great deal for the physical and mental development of these boys, and as seen in the photograph at the top of the page, girls were not invited.

All images from the Pantagraph Negative Collection, McLean County Museum of History. For more images of high school circuses search for "Circuses" any of the three collections!

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