Friday, June 16
Saturday, June 17
Sunday, June 18
Monday, June 19
The Great Bear Show
He stand’s 6’2” tall and weighs 478 pounds, and at age 26 has earned the title of “Sir”. How else to address the one of the largest North American Black Bear (Ursus Americanus) on record?
The Bear Troupe travels throughout the U.S. under the direction of owner/trainer Bob Steele to events such as Sportsman’s Show and Fairs to educate the public about bears and how to co-exist with them. Most of the year is spent wandering their 200 acre ranch in Texas. The fourth generation animal trainer works with his furry companions to educate and entertain spectators who otherwise do not know about Bears, their nature and intelligence, both in captivity and in the wild.
A typical educational show starts with Mr. Steele explains about the species of North American Bears then introduces the audience to each Bear’s personal history and unique personality.
- Barney, a young cinnamon colored male, is extremely intelligent, and a perfection- ist at what he has learned which is a natural behavior of wild bears.
- The Big male, Andy, named after Andy Busch of the Anheiser Busch Corporation, is not quite a versatile as Barney because of his age but still wants to go and not stay at home, but his size and qualities are quite impressive.
- Last but not least is Cindi who really puts on her own show for the audience.
The Bears are on display all day when not doing a show, in their large portable enclosure with a swimming pool and shade screen. The show consists of education and their various skills. These performances are compatible with the Bears anatomy and is not strenuous activity for them. They wear leashes when performing which are required by the U.S.D.A. and Fish & Game Regulations.
Steele, starting out as an infant around exotic animals of all kinds, learned from his father and grandfather. Many years of experience with Elephants, taught to him by his father, one of the top 5 authorities of Elephants, and his own personal experience of over 39 years with Bears has made him one of the top authorities on these Bruins. Training of Bears usually begins between the ages of six months to one and a half years old. These bears were rescued as cubs by officials as orphans because of hunters or other catastrophe. Working with Bears requires a special relationship between the animals and the trainer. Bears are one of the hardest animals to understand, since they show no signs or emotions. Once this relationship is established, it is difficult, and usually impossible to switch trainers of Bears. Established in 1977, The Great Bear Show is the oldest and longest running educational show with wild animals. With his love and care for his animals 365 days a year, these Bears will one day too, retire to home for the remainder of their lives which is about 30 to 35 years, over 10 years longer than they would in the wild.