The Monkey Show


One of the most bizarre things I saw in Biloxi was the Monkey Show.

My friend, Jennifer Newman, really wanted to see the show after driving past the small carnival the night before and seeing a caged monkey. Coming back from photographing hurricane damage in Gulfport we decided to stop. There was no admission charge. My guess is that they were encouraging people to come back to the beach area.

Inside, the first thing we saw were the pig races. Big deal I thought. I've seen pig races in Pennsylvania. The last pig race of the night was between pot bellied pigs. Apparently they had already eaten because half way down the race track they stopped, turned around, and headed back to the starting gate.

We moved over to the monkey show. Jennifer asked the monkey handler if she gave him $5 if he'd let me take her photograph with the monkey. The handler told us these are chimpanzees, not monkeys, and the chimp could rip her arm off.

We went and sat down.

The Rosaire Zoppe Chimpanzee Show began with an announcement that the show is copyrighted so no videotaping is allowed. However, the audience can take still photographs.

Then Pam Zoppe brought out "Rickey" the chimp. Jennifer didn't like the fact he had a collar and leash nor did she like his outfit.

She wanted to leave, I wanted to stay. A woman in front of us turned around and said "You won't believe what these animals can do."

Rickey stood on tippy toes to kiss his owner.

Then the Zoppe's brought out three more chimps. Two of them began fighting with each other. I was glad they were on leashes.

Finally Zoppe went and got a pony. The woman sitting in front turned around and said "What 'til you see what this monkey can do, it will freak you out!"

A chimp dressed as a cowboy climbed on top of the pony. As the pony trotted in circles the chimp did somersaults on his back. The audience applauded.

"See?" the woman in front of us said.

Jennifer and I got out of there as fast as we could so she wouldn't see us laughing.

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