This year's featured act will be the Kay Rosaire Big Cat Encounter Tiger Show.
Clayton Rosaire, son of Kay Rosaire, will be presenting this attraction.
When Kay Rosaire or her son steps into the huge steel arena they bring gasps of appreciation from the audience when their will and skill prevails over the deadly strength and stealth of the tiger and lion. Respect is the key word, according to Kay. She respects the natural ability of her charges and they respect the fact that she is the master, the one they must obey.
This does not come easy. Hours and hours of patience and perseverance in training are involved and the result is that patrons are treated to a rare display of a fearless young lady's command over savage jungle beasts. Kay Rosaire is an eighth generation circus performer, from one of England's most respected Circus families. The Rosaires are known world wide in the circus and entertainment industry for their gift in animal training ability. Kay is something of a rarity, a feminine trainer who actually trains her own animals. Audiences are amazed as she puts these huge, magnificent felines through a very complex and dangerous series of routines.
The Rosaire family came to the United States in 1960 for a two-year tour with the Hamid-Morton Circus and an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Tele- vision Program. Kay recalls, "The act, Rosaire and Tony the wonder horse, was such a success in this country, that we never returned to
Europe. We remained with Hamid-Morton for four seasons and Dad made four appearances on the Ed Sullivan show. The cage act on Hamid that first year was Evalyn Curry and she was treated like a star. I think that was when I first started to think about being a wild animal trainer. I was a child at the time and had lots of time to try other things, horses, dogs and various other animals. My mother's stories about her brother who was a famous lion trainer had a lot to do with my decision to work with the Big Cats.
"I bought my first lions in 1973. Then I was on my way and have worked with most major shows in the last 24 years ... Circus Vargas, Gatti-
Charles, George Carden, Tommy Hanneford, Ian Garden, Coronas, George Hubler, Hamid-Morton and many more.
"Circus has been very good to me and I truly love my life ... fulfilling my rich heritage."
She began rescuing big cats in 1987. Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary in Sarasota, Fla. became a non-profit in 2005 and became a full sanctuary with the goal of rescuing exotic cats and other native and exotic wildlife in need of a permanent home. Big Cat Habitat provides education to the public to foster appreciation of the animals and impart the importance of habitat preservation.
"Our commitment is for their lifetime, which is more than 20 years -- double their normal life span in the wild," she explained.
"There are three large indoor/outdoor housing complexes with adjoining exercise habitats, and we are continuing to expand. Each habitat has a swimming pool, toys and palm trees to provide the emotional enrichment that maintains optimal mental and physical health."
Kay and her son Clayton provide educational training demonstrations using positive reinforcement techniques developed by Kay. Their unique style of gentle handling, praise and treats encourages the natural behaviors of big cats on cue and in a sequence of the trainer's choice. Clayton is one of the few men in the world who can put his head in a lion's mouth.
The Rosaires' special relationships with the animals makes every demonstration thrilling to watch, with the opportunity to see the animals in a close encounter of the exotic kind!
Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary is a non-profit safe haven for big cats, bears, and native wildlife. World-renowned educator and behaviorist Kay Rosaire and her son Clayton present training demonstrations with their rescued big cats in an educational forum. During the demonstrations they gently encourage the cats to show off their magnificent natural behaviors. You will be enthralled and entertained by these majestic animals as they demonstrate their characteristic athletic ability and unique individual personalities.
Comedic and informative, every demonstration discusses the importance of habitat preservation in the hopes of saving these amazing creatures from extinction in the wild.