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Clown of renown

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Clown Bello Nock performs on a bungee cord above circus tents. Next week he will perform with the Cole Bros. Circus in Winchester for the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. — Courtesy photo

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Famed clown Bello Nock will perform with the Cole Bros. Circus for the first time for the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival next week. His act combines comedy and stunts. — Courtesy photo

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Famed clown Bello Nock hangs from a helicopter in front of the Statue of Liberty on the border of New York and New Jersey. — Courtesy photo

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Bello Nock performs on a high wire above a street as part of his daredevil act. — Courtesy photo

Bello Nock combines humor, thrills in his act

By Kim Walter -- kwalter@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- Cole Bros. Circus has graced the Apple Blossom festival with its presence many times over the years, but 2012's event will be extra special, as the company was able to recruit world famous comedic daredevil Bello Nock for three days of performances in Winchester.

Nock is a seventh generation circus performer who started having his own solo acts at age nine. He has hung from helicopters, walked on a high wire over a cruise ship and flipped and flopped his way to being one of the most recognizable circus figures in the world.

"I always loved making people laugh, but I am part of a daredevil family," Nock said. "So I do daring things in a funny way."

Nock spent eight years with Ringling Bros., and four with the Big Apple Circus, and has performed all over the world in front of audiences ranging in size from a few hundred to 1.1 million.

"I'm the mascot for the circus," Nock said, and with good reason.

Nock is a passionate believer in the circus and what it can do for society.

"In a world of CGI and computer animation-things that aren't what you think you're seeing- the circus offers the contrary. What you see is what you get. It's like the WWE plus the Olympics," Nock said. "You can travel the world and never have to leave your seat."

"To me, when we say 'Children of all ages,' we mean it. It doesn't matter if you're seven months old or 177 years old," he said. "At the circus, everyone can be inspired by the true testament of human capabilities."

Nock, who has never worked with Cole Bros. Circus before, will be in Winchester May 4, 5 and 6, performing several shows a day. The show will be inside the big tent, and will include acts by Nock as well as the usual dancers, jugglers and acrobats.

Nock will be sporting his usual look, both in and out of the ring: a zoot suit with saddle shoes and white gloves, and his trademark foot-tall red hair.

"Yes, I wear my hair like that all the time," he said. "If I want to blend in, I put on sunglasses...it worked for Superman."

Nock doesn't just participate in the physical portion of the circus. He also designs and builds his stunts and corresponding apparatuses. Earlier this week, he was designing a new structure at his 16-acre facility in Florida for a TV performance, he said.

"You can't just love what you do for the two hours you perform a day," Nock said. His youngest daughter, 16, also performs with him, and Nock says it keeps him inspired.

"Some might say she has that twinkle in her eye, but we circus folk call it having sawdust in your veins," he said.

Nock promised to bring "new life and energy" to the three-day circus event, one that that will make a "significant impact" on its audiences.

"I can't say that I'm the best, but I'm unique," Nock said. "If not for me, come out for the smells, the sounds, the visual impact...the circus has given these everlasting memories for generations, and I believe it always will."

For ticket and performance information, visit www.colebroscircus.com or www.thebloom.com/events/circus.html.

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