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Timothy Noel Tegge, Clown: Getting ready for a Shrine Circus performance. (1986)
Father and Son: Timothy, age 8, and his father, Earl.
Timothy Noel Tegge--showman, historian, and proprietor of the Tegge Circus Archives--pictured here in his Ringmaster's attire.
Timothy Noel Tegge, Illusionist, on stage at the Crystal Theatre in Crystal Falls, MI. (June, 2009)
The Tegge Family: Timothy, age 2½; his father, Earl; and mother, Louise. (May, 1960)
Timothy Noel Tegge, Producing Clown with the Clyde Beatty Cole Bros. Circus. (1996)
About the Curator
Timothy Noel Tegge, a third-generation showman and performer, was born and raised in the circus. He first donned clown makeup at age three, appearing with his father, also a clown at the time, in a parade. That was all it took to ignite a lifelong love affair with the world of sawdust and spangles. By the time he was five years old, Timothy was applying his own makeup and performing in the ring of the family-owned TNT & Royal Olympic Circus. Now, fifty years later, Tegge can still be seen in the spotlight of some of the nation's largest circus productions--sometimes as a clown, often an illusionist, and more regularly as the ringmaster and performance director--traveling several months every year across the U.S. and Canada.
But circus is much more to Tegge than a profession. Even as a child in the 1960's, Timothy was immersed in anything having to do with circus--clipping articles from magazines and newspapers, and grabbing posters from store windows after the circus had left town. Those modest gatherings have today evolved into an exquisite repository of priceless memorabilia, which Tegge is elated to present to the public.
Tools of the trade: Timothy Noel Tegge's top hat, whistle, and gloves. Photo by Steve Clark.