With the Carson & Barnes Circus coming to Great Bend in just a few weeks, Poppa D Clown rode into Great Bend on Wednesday with his magic box full of humorous tricks and a comedy routine that kept area children bursting with anticipation and laughter. Wednesday’s entertainment provided children a glimpse of what they will see under the Big Top when the Carson & Barnes Circus comes to town on May 16 at the Great Bend Expo Grounds.
Poppa D provided five half-hour, interactive performances to elementary school groups in Great Bend throughout the day. He carried out his schtick to dozens of excited children at Riley, Jefferson and Lincoln Elementary Schools, along with two groups at Helping Hands Preschool. At each stop he worked the children into a collective laughing frenzy.
“I try to get them wound up so the teachers have to deal with them the rest of the day,” quipped Poppa D. “Having been a school teacher for many years, I know what that’s like.”
When he’s not slinging slapstick as Poppa D, he is Doug Munsell, retired physical education teacher from Liberal. Munsell taught elementary school children in Liberal for 21 years before he retired in 2007 and actually ran away with the circus for several years.
Since 2010, he’s continued working with Carson & Barnes on a part-time basis, whenever called upon for regional shows.
He first sidelined as a clown in 1960 and the bug bit him hard. He has performed extensively in southwest Kansas over the years, appearing at everything from birthday parties to rodeos. In 1972, he became a guest-clown to an area Carson & Barnes Circus and he continued in that role for 35 years, until he joined the show full-time.
“People tell me I’m a clown all the time,” said Munsell, “it doesn’t matter how I’m dressed. So I feel like I’m a clown, no matter where I go or what I do.”
Munsell, who serves as a district commissioner for Boys Scouts of America, said he will continue clowning around “as long as it’s fun, and it will always be fun,” he said.
Ticket Sales for the Great Bend Carson & Barnes Shows go toward Rosewood’s non-profit Roots & Wings Foundation. The foundation helps to fund educational, medical, and therapeutic expenses not covered by other means for people with developmental disabilities who Rosewood Serves. Check rosewoodservices.com, or call 620-793-5888 for ticket information.