Name That Elephant!
There is an interesting fact about some of the biggest females in the Carson & Barnes Circus and it’s not how they got that big. That’s easy to explain when you think about it. They are the biggest land mammals on Earth after all.
What’s interesting about the biggest females, the biggest stars, under the big top is not just their size, but who the pachyderms are named after.
The majority of the Asian elephants in the Carson & Barnes Circus are actually named after Carson & Barnes family members.
The long-standing tradition of naming new editions of the herd after Carson & Barnes family members came about because of seven famous sisters from Smith Center, Kansas.
When D.R. Miller, founder of the Carson & Barnes Circus, purchased a string of baby Asian elephants from India each elephant was named after one of the seven sisters of Isla Marie Miller, D.R.’s wife.
The first elephant, of course, was named: Isla, then there was Isa, Margaret, Viola, Alta, Lilly and Opal.
After each of the sisters had an elephant named after them, and as D.R. continued to purchase elephants for his quickly expanding circus, D.R. and Isla decided to continue the tradition of naming elephants, who did not already have a name when they were purchased, after family members.
D.R. and Isla Miller’s daughter. Barbara Miller-Byrd had an elephant named after her when she was a kid, growing up in the circus. Each of Barbara’s daughters, Traci Byrd-Cavallini and Kristin Byrd-Parra, have an elephant named after them. Even their great grandfather, the man who started it all, Obert Miller has a bull (a young male elephant) that shares his moniker. In fact most of the family, both immediate and extended, have an elephant named after them.
However, when it comes time to think of a new name for a new addition to the ever-growing herd there is a little squabbling, a little politicking and debate amongst the family. Everyone has their opinion, each has a name that they want considered; however, Barbara, matriarch of the Circus, usually has the final say, the veto if need be.
For example. when the newest edition of the Endangered Ark Foundation was born on April 2011, everyone in the Carson & Barnes family had a name ready to be considered; yet, Barbara already had the perfect name in mind: Hugo.
Barbara decided to break, if only momentarily, from the family tradition of naming the elephants after family members, because she had always loved the name Hugo, the town had always provided so much for her and her family and served as a refuge from the road, plus, the name just sounded circus to her ears.
Who knows what the newest edition to Carson & Barnes Circus’ name will be? But I’m sure someone can make an accurate guess, if they’re familiar with the family tree.