It was organized chaos as staff and performers got ready for Tuesday night's circus; hair was being braided, lights were being adjusted, props were being raised. Amidst the scuffle were eight young men juggling. 

They were matching in blue T-shirts, the front displaying Peru Amateur Circus, and the backs displaying nicknames. Capt. Catch 'Em, Tardy, Wipeout, Hot Shot, Co. Captain, Crop Top, Haircut and Small Fry are members in a band of brothers. Its name is Juggling before Girls. 

Juggling before Girls is one of the many acts in the Peru Amateur Circus performing during this week's Circus City Festival in Peru. The festival offers games, rides, food, vendors and more, with the circus, comprised of 150 performers ages 7 through 21 years old, as a nod to the city's history under the big top. 

The amateur circus itself has a history. Justin Yoo, also known as Capt. Catch 'Em, started performing in the circus at 7 years old. He is now 19 and an unofficial juggling instructor.

"You can't like juggling," he said. "You have to love it. It becomes a habit and then an addiction. I'll juggle anything, regardless of what shape or how fragile it is." 

The catching captain isn't kidding. He juggles mindlessly, from the glasses in his kitchen to the produce in the grocery store. But the weirdest thing he's ever juggled was unbelievable. 

"Boxes covered in butter," he said. "I was bragging to my friend that I could juggle anything. So he went to the trouble of melting butter all over these boxes and I tried it. That's the only thing I couldn't juggle." 

The performer insisted that juggling isn't about talent, it comes down to dedication, and much more practice. The group tacks on about two hours more practicing than the other acts each day, and they have to stay focused, thus the name Juggling before Girls. 

How did the name come about? It's Hot Shot's fault, Justin Yoo said. Kyler Hanson, also known as Hot Shot, pointed the finger back at Justin Yoo. 

"We're always juggling," Hanson said. "We've become like a family and hang out outside of here. We're always competing, too, and it was a big thing about who would be the first to juggle five at once."

Diana Yoo, Justin's mother and co-producer of the circus, said Juggling before Girls exhibits her favorite part of the circus perfectly. 

"I've watched them gain confidence and do things they swore they couldn't do," she said. "It's an amazing experience." 

React to this story:

3
0
0
0
1