By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald
Fair-goers are getting to see an animal they don’t normally see every day.
Jeanette Rix, of The Great Little Bear Show, said her relationship with Lynn the bear began when the North American Black Bear was just six months old. Lynn, who weighs in at 350 pounds, is now 23 and regularly performs as part of The Great Little Bear Show. Rix explained that she, as a trainer, develops a relationship with her bears from a young age.
Her experience with training bears is considerably longer than that.
“I’ve been training bears for probably 45 years,” Rix said.
Rix’s father was a bear trainer before her. She said that, as a boy, her father lived in Hamburg, Germany. She said that his parents wanted him to become a pharmacist. As a result, Rix’s father ended up delivering drugs for a pharmacy.
“He wound up delivering a lot of the drugs to the zoo,” Rix explained. “So, he got an interest in the zoo and zoo operation. So, that kind of captivated him a little bit.”
Rix, along with her sister, have a farm in Middletown, New York, where they’ve helped raise a variety of different kinds of bears including Kodiak, brown bears and polar bears.
“We sent them all over the world to different zoos,” she said.
The Great Little Bear Show has performed
all over the U.S. and beyond. Rix noted that they’ve appeared in places like Japan and South America.
Rix said the real appeal of The Great Little Bear Show is Lynn.
“She’s a very enthusiastic performer and I think people like to see that, for one thing,” Rix said.
She also noted why she thinks people enjoy the show.
“I think they’re just captivated with bears and animals in general,” she said. “So, now you get to see one up close. And you get to see how wonderful they are. They (the bears) have a whole range of personality and I think that’s what the appeal is.”
The Great Little Bear Show will have performances at 1, 4 and 6 p.m. each day at The Southern Iowa Fair this week.
Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.