The Ottawa Citizen from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on August 21, 1971 · 17
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The Ottawa Citizen from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada · 17

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Issue Date:
Saturday, August 21, 1971
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P w v Saturday, August 21, 1971 Page 17 Oh to be Cannonball r r I performance with a bang By Larry Calvert CiMzen saf writer It's a pretty smooth ride out of a cannon, says Hugo Zacchini, the human cannonball at the Exhibition. But the landing's a bit rough. In fact, the landings are so rough that the 15-year veteran of over 4.000 "shots" is beginning to think about retirement. "I'm going from year to year now," Zacchini said. He comes from a long line of circus folk in the LlPiited States and fcis father is still in the game, managing another cannonball act. "My father is my best friend you have no friends in this business," he said. Father and son split their acts when the demand was too great for one show to handle. Graduate engineer He's based in Tampa, Fla.. and attended the University of Florida in Jamesville. So what is a graduate mechanical and industrial engineer doing in an aerobatic show? Mainly, it's excitement," Zacchini says. "But it's more partly family tradition, partly the freedom, and the idea that I'm doing something nobody-else does for a living. "There are thousands of dull, mechanical engineers." So 300 times a year, for the last 13 years, the short. Italian-American has eased himself down the narrow, 20-foot tube from which he zooms out at more than 90 miles-per-hour. Zacchini, working with his uncle, Victor, has slowed the pace of his act in the last couple of years. "I used to shoot over two ferris wheels," he said. His age? "As ageless as the sea," is the only reply. He's showing some white hair and beginning to bald on top. The Zacchini family claims to have originated the cannonball acts. They designed the original cannons, which although never patented, other acts have been unable to duplicate. The family's involvement with circuses and exhibitions began with Zac-chini's grandfather, who owned a circus in Italy during the 1920s. "When we invented the cannon act, the circus was sold and our family toured Europe," he said. Then it was time to bring the act to America. "Mr. Ringling saw the act in Copenhagen and part of the family came over with him," Zacchini said. Soon after, more of the family act crossed the Atlantic. Remarkably, none have been killed, although 15 including Zacchini's sister, have been projectiles. Close calls A brush with the canvas of a tent-roof was his closest scrape with death. "We were working inside a circus tent, and when I was shot (at a 45-de-gree angle up) my back and legs slammed into the tent. "I hit the net, though." Another time, the net collapsed as he landed. That incident cost him a compressed spine and a broken ankle. "You take a lot of punishment every shot. Bruises, sore bones and muscles. It probably shakes you up inside too. "After a while you start healing slower and slower." His ride is simple and short. As the show nears his act, a cable draws back a cylinder in the cannon tube, compressing air in the breech. A compressor maintains the air pressure at 230 pounds per square inch as Zacchini climbs down the tube and lies prone, feet on a cushioned cylinder. The tube is raised to 45 degrees, and his uncle asks if everything is OK. Then starts a five-second countdown. At one second a switch in the cab is toggled and at zero the cylinder is released. As the cylinder travels its 15-foot run, gunpowder in the breech explodes making the boom which spectators hear, and a second, smaller charge at the end of the tube makes a cloud of smoke. "I go through the air like a diver," Zacchini said, "and as I near the net I do a three-fourths flip, landing on my back. The impact is terrific, even with the net." Some protection is given by his white horsehide suit and gloves and red helmet, Zacchini doesn't consider his profession particularly cut-throat, as it has often been pictured. "We're artists, and we compete against each other, but we really don't know enough about each others' work to be ugly. "But we do have this In common, this kind of life, although we're anything but a fraternity. But we all know each other." Zacchini doesn't hire out to one agency for a season. His manager deals directly with the entertainment co-ordinato-r of each show, and the cannonball can work as much or as little as he wants. 7 F'iA J A ;.---w,,?.- . 4 iW" a kid again w tut- - ?.' y 1 , if ; ; H ' '' i'L. .1:1 -; ' . 1 .l . 4 I nmt-" X . - J f . - - r J -i s Citizen-UPI staff photo Difficult assignment Reporter Dunn couldn't do it By Eleanor Dunn Citizen raff writer There's something going on at the Central Canada Exhibition that's attracting both kids and adults in droves. It's a test of strength and skill different from those usually found at a big fair where young man, girlfriend in tow, tries to be impressive by ringing a bell at the top of a giant-sized thermometer. It's not done quite that way at the Sports Pavilion a new feature at the Ex. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day, members of the fitness and amateur sport directorate of the department of national health and welfare are putting kids seven to 17 through their paces. Fitness awards Under the direction of Harry Jerome, Mare Ouellette and Petra Burka, kids are trying to win the Canada Fitness Award. About 500 youngsters took the six tests Friday. These include: one-minute speed sit-ups for strength and endurance of abdominal muscles; standing broad jump for the explosive muscle power of leg extensors; shuttlerun for speed and agility; flexed arm hang, for arm and shoulder girdle strength; 50-yard run for speed, and a 300-yard run for cardiovascular efficiency. Thinking it might be interesting to find out how an overage and overweight reporter might fare at some of these, I made my way to the pavilion. Unfortunately, or fortunately as it turned out, I was too late to take the tests. The layout is changed every afternoon so that anyone from the smallest infant to the senior citizen can try his or her skill on a variety of athletic equipment. Fitness and amateur sport officials are on hand to give pointers on improving technique and to assist those who want to try the more difficult apparatus such as the mini-trampoline or the parallel bars. On to defeat So I missed the tests. But what the heck, let's have a go at some of this equipment anway. The mini-trampoline was first. It's not as easy as it looks. I figured if a bunch of guys could earn a living jumping around on trampolines on the Ed Sullivan Show, so could I, and with visions of a new career, away I went. There's a catch to these small trampolines. The canvas is about two feet square so you can't just jump about with abandon. It's legs through the springs and a nasty bruise if you misplace a foot. "Keep your feet in the centre," Miss Burka and Mr. Ouellete were shouting. What did they think I was trying to do? Then it was on to the bar set up for the hang. Chinning ourselves that's what we called it when I was a kid. I was such a dismal failure at this that no one even bothered to get out the stop-watch. On to the parallel bars. There I really met my downfall. Ungainly, ungraceful, I beat a hasty retreat without even trying the pole vault or the high jump. With the boos of the assembled multitude of little kids running in my ears. I took refuge inside Wally the Whale. Wally is a nice inflatable plastic monster designed for kids to crawl through. And that's what I was doing crawling. This pavilion should not be missed. And commercialism has been kept at a very low level, which makes it even nicer. W; anted: boost for breeders Fog helps growth MOSCOW (Reuter) Soviet scientists have developed an original method of helping plants to grow by using fog. According to a report from Sverdlovsk in the Urals a horticulture experimental station has developed a special fog-making installation which cuts the time a cherry takes to mature in half. I 1 1 1 I 1 r Is I 1 ' 1 Xn. Af rA : I '1 1 1 - Y - '&4i Ms I - "CX l, i- i --.A j, i 7'k J Ciizsn-UPI staff photo Premier fittinz Premier William Davis (left) sees how a silver crest will look on jacket of Laurie Middleton, 10. who won the crest with an SS-per-cent average in the federal health department's fitness tests be.r.g conducted at the Ex. Ricky Morris, 13, with 91 per cent, also was presented a silver crest by Mr. Davis. Looking on is Aid. Charles St. Germain, an exhibition director. By Jim McCarthy Citizen district editor A move forced on the 1971 Central Canada Exhibition could win the best-change-of-the-year award. The CCEA was forced to tear down one barn and bar the public from the Coliseum because both were condemned. Big tops were put up at the east end of the Coliseum, one to house and judge sheep and swine and the other for cattle. Cattle superintendent Basil Daw-ley noted during the beef cattle judging Friday that the spectators included more unfamiliar faces than he'd ever seen. If the trend continues, the fair-going public could discover another free show, one which has been under their noses for years, but one which the CCEA does little to make a drawing card. There are still no large signs indicating where the livestock shows take place. Nor are there commentators to explain the goings on to the unfamiliar urban public. Use mike tonight Judges or breed association officials announce the winners but no one explains what the judge is looking for as he prods each animal. Tonight may be the exception. Aberdeen Angus spokesmen say theyll be using the mike. Breed association officials will explain what the judge is looking for and the judge will explain why he graded the animals as he did. The livestock shows do have many of the basics necessary to attract public attention, starting with the sheer appeal of the large animal, the competition, the showmanship and the money. The exhibitor may not make a fortune showing cattle, but at the show itself, some big money is at stake. Friday afternoon, 12 shorthorn breeders entered 68 animals in competition for S5.370. The top money-winner, Saraguay Farms of St. Laurent, Que., used 9 animals to win S765 plus the premier exhibitor banner and senior champion and grand champion bull ribbons. Runner-up was Redford W. Gard-house of RR 5. Milton, wso used S animals to win S755 plus the premier breeder banner and the junior champion bull ribbon. James Ralph Miller of RR 1, Renfrew, used 7 animals to win $605 plus the supreme champion shorthorn, junior champion bull, senior and grand champion female ribbons. The other nine exhibitors won amouts ranging from S510 to a low of $105. The junior champion female ribbon went to Lome Pimmett of Indian River. Judge John Kickard of Newcastle, who will judge the shorthorn show at the Canadian National Exhibition this year, called CCEA competition a real show", with the female classes stronger than the bull classes. Apart from one class of 11 animals, in which the quality fell, badly from fifth place down, he said the quality was good throughout the classes. He expects the winners, if they show at Toronto to be the animals to beat. With S4.645 at stake, nine exhibitors entered 51 animals in competition during Friday morning's Hereford beef cattle show. A first-timer at the Ex, Almira Hereford Farms of Unionville, walked away with the top honors. Walter Yus-ko's nine animals won $780, premier breeder can't afford not to take home ners and senior and grand champion female ribbons. entertaining rest Thin crowds wandered in an out of the Civic Centre arena Friday night to sit and rest tired feet or weary children, and in pausing, watched snatches of the Ex's opening night horse show. Though their pauses were brief, they apparently liked what they saw. A practiced viewer of horses and horse watchers, Mrs. Paul Fout of Mid-dleburg. Va., one of the judges, called the audience "enthusiastic" and "easily pleased." As for the horses, it "looks like a nice, well-rounded show." But compared to exhibits in horse-mad Virginia, there were fewer young animals and fewer entries, observed Mrs. Fout. In the open jumper class, veteran rider Valeur Francour on Bandolero a duo well-known to Ottawa audiences and Bob Henslewood on Juniper rode cleanly to a jump-off. In the last turns of the course, both horses scored faults but in the neck-and-neck contest Bandolero knocked down one pole too many to make Juniper, owned by Max Bidner, the winner. If cheers are any indication of popularity, the sparkled and spangled, draped and be-ribboned horses and ri ders in the parade class were the crowd's choice. Mr. Pastry, owned by Donna and Allan MacLeod, with Mr. MacLeod up, took first place. Peter Stoeckl on Royal Mark, owned by James A. Hunter, took first place in the green conformation hunter class. Cabar Feigh, owned and ridden by Penny Reed, placed first in the green working hunter class. Golf Vue Starlight, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Albert Quesnel, and driven by Mr. Quesnel, was the winner in the class or hackney horses over 14.2 hands. In the single roadster harness pony class, Mayday's Torchfire, owned and driven by Orval Reaney, took first spot. Little Belle, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Kelly and driven by Mrs. Kelly won in the lady's harness pony, 44 inches and under, class. Medicine Man, driven by Gary Jones and owned by Lome Crawford, took first place in the roadster-over-15.2-hands class. Top place for single harness ponies, over 13 hands, went to The Wiggon, owned and driven by Larry Emond. Miss Bernadette, owned and ridden by Harold Childs, placed first in the five-gaited saddle horse class. W. T. James and Son of RR 3, Carle-ton Place, was runner-up as his nine animals won $715 and senior and grand champion bull ribbons. S. M. Blair of RR 1, Bolton, used seven animals to collect $680 and the junior champion female ribbon. The other six exhibitors won amounts varying from $635, for Harold Lannin's nine animals from Winchester, to $40. The junior champion bull ribbon went to Milton W. Cornish and Sons of Indian River. The""bntario"Hereford Association's secretary treasurer Joseph Dunbar said that each year the competition gets tighter and tighter as fewer herds compete. Showing has become so costly that a breeder can't afford not to take him some prize money. If his animals are not top quality, he stays home. New policy hit a bi" Mini-circus major triumph Even-body loves a circus, and the mini-circus at the Ex is no exception. It appears to be one of the best attractions for children of all ages at this year's fair. Friday's firs' free performance in front of the east-end bleachers of the Civic Centre attracted a couple of thousand kids and parents. Despite "no shows" by Tony the wonder horse. Gentle Ben and Judy the Chimp they were held up getting through customs at the border because Tony was being checked for equine encephalitis there was plenty to applaud. Ditk Albers" trampoline act drew "oohs" and "ahhs". And although Dorothy Kelly doesn't have as many performing elephants as Ringling Brothers and Barnura and Baiiey. hers went through their paces to the delight of the youngsters in the audience. Roily Hammond, a local ad, acted as master of ceremonies and kept the show moving swiftly. He also doubles ' as a ventriloquist, and with his partner, Donald Duck, kept the kids laughing. He also went through a few comedy-routines with a clown straight from Disneyland. But the piece de resistance was the human cannonball. A hush fell over the crowd as Hugo Zacchini climbed into his truck-mounted cannon. Up. up it went. Then came the countdown five . . . four . . . three . . . two . . . one . . . With a loud bang and a puff of smoke, Hugo was blasted from the cannon's mouth. A couple of somersaults and 195 feet later, a landing in the safety net. Having cleared customs, Tony, Gentle Ben and Judy were on hand for the afternoon performance. They! be here for the duration. By Colin MacKenzie Citizen staff writer The Central Canada Exhibition Association's free-entry policy for the Grandstand show was a roaring success on its first day. More than 16,000 people attended the two shows Friday which featured The Carpenters and Don Rice III. Last year, with an entry' fee, crowds of less than 2,000 were normal. The Carpenters, an American soft-rock group, were not at their best during the 5.30 p.m. performance, but picked up a bit at the 8.30 show. Unpretentious and lacking any brilliant musicianship, the group still manages a lively and entertaining show. Karen Carpenter's voice is magnificent, but she does better in songs where she doesn't have to sit and play the drums. Soft, romantic songs are their specialty but they did break into one tongue in cheek, very noisy, rock 'n roll number. They were well-received by both the 7,000 people at the first show and the 9,000 at the second. Don Rice III, a stand-up comic who makes the rounds of U.S. television shows, was poor. Billed by the CCEA as being "absolutely non-controversial," Rice was not only that but for the most part non-funny as well. He gathered few laughs during his 15-minute monologue. Ex officials were delighted with the turnout. "It's'' really tremendous, and the Carpenters aren't really that well known in this country," said one. "Just wait till Johnny Cash comes in." The Carpenters and Don Rice perform again today at the same times.

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