Gina On An Elephant

Ringling Brothers Tribute - Published on January 16, 2017

Thank you to the Feld Family for a wonderful experience

This piece comes from a performer who shared two years with the famous Circus, Ringling Bros. I first would like to state for the record that I was proud to be part of this wonderful Circus History of Ringling Bros. and give a heartfelt thank you to the Feld family for making this 146-year piece of history to be so magical for both the performers as well as their audiences across the U. S. As a kid growing up in the 60’s, it was a time when this type of live show that included the animal acts was accepted.

Although I do not believe that animals should be locked up in small cages, especially large lions, tigers, and bears, it is important that the truth be told from those that lived behind the scenes of the Red or Blue curtain about the way these animals were handled. I believe that nature does not dictate for man to control large wild animals, but many were raised since birth in a human habitat environment, and many would never survive in the wild after the wonderful care they received at Ringling. There may be more hunters either maiming animals or killing them for sport, food or jewelry in the wild, but these animals had a chance to live long healthy lives that made up a huge portion of these shows.

I had the honor of working beside one of the most famous lion tamers,” Gunther Gebel Williams,” Red Show Circuit, and it can be said that watching this man raise his own tigers, feeding them, caring for them and making sure they had everything they needed was a daily task, always done with the love and care, and clearly they adored this trainer. The two years I was employed by Ringling Bros. for the Bicentennial edition in 1976 and 1977 and had the opportunity to get to know the elephant I rode, the joy of our interaction daily was one I looked forward to. I would bring carrots and bread to him before the show and he always looked happy to see me, and no doubt this large animal knew who I was. The performers were witness to routine daily feeding, and weekly grooming of the elephants which included their love for bathing, and frolicking with large inner tube tires, truly a delight to watch.

Many of my fondest memories stem from running away with Ringling Bros. Circus at the age of 19, living on a train, and performing with different cultures from all over the world. The Feld family provided an exciting opportunity for those not born into the Circus world.

Many thanks to the Feld family for providing employment to so many talented performers and those that contributed behind the scenes. These shows will be missed by many. I am confident that the retiring animals will be well taken care of and doubtless will miss their loving caretakers and trainers.

Gina R

To learn more about Gina Rock and her time before and after her life as Tinker Bell, visit her website HERE.

To get an autographed photo, proceeds go to Relay For Life, go HERE.

Thank You To Joshua Shaffer

In 2015, when I was struggling through my first year at USC, and one of the very few times I was off a disaster deployment, I ran across a blog written by Joshua Shaffer about the flying Tinker Bells in Disneyland. I emailed him because I had been trying to contact some Disney writers and thank them for all the wonderful articles they wrote about when I was the Flying Tinker Bell. Joshua asked if he could interview me regarding my past experiences as Tink for an article in the Disneyana Newsletter and I was honored to do this. I found the interview process to be a refreshing change from college, and doing what I love most; helping those in need.
We had a great chat about all the wonderful experiences he shared with many show folks like me that had interesting stories about working at the park, and soon became fast friends.
Joshua was so enthusiastic about his writing and passion for Disney trivia, I could not wait to read his first book. I am not sure I ever really realized how many lives had been touched by all the Disney magic until I met Joshua. I had not met anyone quite like him that was not only enamored with all things Disney, but this guy is an amazingly talented writer, as well as an inventor, (yes), ask about his hideaway cat corner that allows a cat to inherently hide their face. Joshua works with animals for his day job and has a great affinity for the care, well-being, and animal adoption process we have come to know and love. My son has adopted two wonderful dogs from a shelter and would have more if he had room for them.
Apparently, Joshua also has an affinity for cooking and at one time thought he would pursue a career as a chef after he graduated high school. He also has a vast collection of movies and rents his own theater out to friends for special events like birthdays, fundraisers, or events for kids/adults with special needs.
It is Joshua that has prompted me to gather my collection of Tinker Bell memories, as well as my past circus career. If not for him, my adventures may never have been shared. Truthfully told I liked working very high up in the air so I would not have to be directly associated with fans, and other show figures. Plus think about it; I was a woman being tossed off a mountain wearing a costume, not your usual showbiz gal. Finding all types of interesting talented individuals, and providing employment for those spent years learning, and honing skills is one of my favorite vocations.
Soon my favorite, and only Public Relations manager, will be getting married and his proposal to Ashley was prompted by a shared love for Disney, a wonderful love story I hope he will share with this article, a great video, and picture to boot!
I am asking my Disney fans as well as Joshua's to celebrate this special day in May by buying his first, or second edition so he can have more funding to put toward his own wedding. They are paying for this between themselves.
Half my autograph sales already go to Make-A-Wish Foundation, and a very small percentage is helping him with his wedding.
This article is a huge thank you to Joshua for being part of my life as well as sharing his vast knowledge of everything Disney.
All donations to this wonderful wedding love story will go directly to Joshua and Ashley for their special day, his contact information is on the website he built for me if you would like to order his books.
Thank you, Joshua, for allowing my unusual career to be told, and congratulations on your proposal to Ashley!
-Gina, aka Tink

(Ashley is a huge fan of Beauty and the Beast. Joshua spent about 6 months working on this Enchanted Rose ring holder whenever Ashley wasn't home. He constructed it out of wood, clay, and paint. The base was painted to look like marble, and there were magnets in the base so it could swivel open. He proposed to her for her birthday trip to the Japanese Tea Gardens in San Francisco)
Click HERE to order your own copy of Joshua's book.
Read more about Gina and her time as Tinker Bell HERE.

Gina With The Flying Ramos

Here is Gina Rock only 3 years before becoming Tinker Bell. Across from her is Mitzi Ramos of the Flying Ramos.
Wouldn’t it be great to be 22 years old in Circus Circus again?
(Circa 1980 or late 1970′s, Las Vegas) 
Is that a phone with a cord?
To learn more about Gina Rock and her time before and after her life as Tinker Bell, visit her website HERE.

Tinker Bell Interview with her Tink Crew - Bruce & Jim

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