"Old Dad" related his "experience" in the circus business in the Sazerac Lying Club one night:


It was in the early days of Carson City . Money was more plentiful than mosquitoes on the Carson River; gambling was as common as praying at camp meeting, and whisky as free as water. But the boys pined for a little excitement, and "Dad," who in those days was a moneyed prince, concluded to give it to them, and at the same time-make a nice little clean-up for himself.


"Dad" had a partner, and to him he communicated his plan, which was to build an amphitheater a short distance out of town, send a hunter into the mountains to trap a bear, (bears were numerous in the Sierras) procure a bull, and have a regular old-fashioned bull-and-bear fight on the Mexican plan, and charge two dollars a head admission to view it. The partner fell in with the project; the amphitheater was built, the animals procured, and a day set for the fight, the announcement of the " entertainment" throwing three counties into the wildest excitement.


It appeared that in order to have the show go off in strict accordance with Mexican custom and rule, it was necessary to have a colored man to act the part of clown. The American colored men knew nothing about bull-fighting, and it was found impossible to persuade one of them to act the part, and the projectors of the show were in despair. They had bears, bulls, and Mexican bull-fighters, but no clown.


Finally they found a Central American Negro who understood the business, but he was known as a tricky customer that it was not considered safe to employ him. and pay him any money to bind the bargain, for fear he would run off without fulfilling his contract. As this was in the days of Negro slavery, the showmen determined to buy the Negro, and own him out and out. He had no master, and belonged to no man but himself, so it was determined to purchase him of himself. In pursuance of a bargain which was struck up, the Negro was taken before a lawyer, by whom a bill of sale was drawn up, in which the Central American sold himself to the show proprietors for the sum of $500. He could neither read nor write, but affixed his mark to the document, and the sale was consummated.


On the day of the fight a procession was formed, headed by the Negro, tricked out in red flannel drawers and a spangled shirt, a brass band, and the Mexican bull experts, which marched to the amphitheater in the outskirts of the town, followed by a concourse of three thousand men. To make a long story short, the bull-and-bear fight was a failure. The bull, maddened at the sight of the clown's red flannel drawers, made a lunge at the unfortunate colored individual, and tossed him over its head, spoiling him for service as a clown for many a long day; to save the Negro's life the Mexicans were forced to kill the bull, and the door-keeper ran away with the gate-money, amounting to some $86,000.


As the bull had rendered the Negro useless to them, the showman made him a present of himself back to himself ; and there was not another bull-and-bear fight in Carson City for three weeks.

    The Sazerac Lying Club was published in 1878 by Fred H. Hart - Editor of the " The Reese River Reveille" newspaper Published in Austin, Lander County, Nevada

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