By Kathryn Menue


The Royal Bengal Tiger Show made their Boone County Fair debut on Tuesday, Aug. 9 at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., and Wednesday, Aug. 10 through Sunday, Aug. 14 at 2 p.m., 4 p.m., and 6 p.m.

On Thursday, Aug. 11, at the Royal Bengal Tigers’ 2 p.m. show, the bleachers filled with a nicely sized crowd, despite the sprinkling rain threatening to ruin the show.

As show time came closer and closer, the rain subsided, and the crowd got pumped up from the beats of the Indian music echoing over the grounds.

Soon, the music faded, and the audience received warnings not to go near the tigers’ performance cage, so as not to incur any injury from the dangerous and wild animals.

“Now, is everyone ready to see some big, beautiful tigers?” trainer Brunon Blaszak asked the crowd.

The crowd applauded respectfully, but that wasn’t good enough for Blaszak.

“They’re [the tigers] taking their cat naps,” Blaszak said. “You have to be louder than that to have them wake up.”

The crowd roared with applause and cheers welcoming the first tiger to the stage.

Blaszak introduced the only white tiger to the show: Mohina, a female, 350 pound baby. She will grow to become a 400 to 500 pound adult.

While Mohina took her place on stage, Blaszak took the time to share interesting facts about the tigers with the crowd.

For example, the six tigers he owns eat over 150 pounds of raw meat a day. He said each tiger can eat between 15 to 20 pounds of meat each day.

On that staggering statistic, Blaszak introduced another female to the stage: a 16-year-old, 150 pound Siberian tiger named Bella.

Siberian tigers live “only in cold weather climates.” There are only about 500 Siberian tigers left in the world.

Blaszak warned that if intervention doesn’t occur, within the next 20 years, the wild Siberian tigers will be extinct.

Two tiger breeds already are extinct: the Bali and Javan tigers.

There are only 5,000 tigers left in the wild, with most of the dwindling population being attributed to poachers.

Currently, to save the tiger species, there are more tigers in captivity than in the wild.

Blaszak explained that tigers in captivity can live up to 20 to 25-years-old, whereas a tiger in the wild is lucky to make it to adulthood.

After explaining the need to have tigers in captivity, Blaszak introduced the first Bengal tiger: Tasha, 12.

The Bengal tiger is the largest of the tiger breeds, topping out at a weight of 700 to 800 pounds.

Bengal tigers live in tropical rainforests, most notably of the Bengal region in India.

One of those Bengal tigers was India, also known as Big Mama. India was a 10-year-old tiger, who like any other tiger, loved to sleep.

Tigers are notoriously “lazy” creatures, Blaszak said.

Tigers sleep 15 to 20 hours a day, only being active in the early evening hours.

Tigers also are territorial creatures known to fight to the death to keep another tiger from invading their territory. That goes for tigers of the same breed and of different breeds.

Another different breed of tiger that joined the show was Missy the Sumatran tiger.

Sumatrans are the smallest tiger breed, topping out at 200 to 300 pounds. They live in hot, humid, dense, swampy jungles.

Missy was the only Sumatran tiger in the show, with the last tiger joining the program being another Bengal tiger.

Ada, the 8-year-old alpha tiger, joined the show last as Blaszak started demonstrating what the tigers could do.

Blaszak said he trained the tigers through voice command, hand gestures, and positive reinforcement of raw meat treats.

“They love eating more than anything,” Blaszak said.

Blaszak only fed the tigers treats from the end of a fiberglass stick, never from the hand.

“They are all trained, not tamed,” Blaszak warned. They are still dangerous creatures.

Blaszak used this positive reinforcement while the tigers played catch, performed a high wire act, jumped through hoops and over fences, and rolled over like a dog.

Of course, sometimes the tigers were stubborn during the performance.

“I tell you, I don’t know who’s got who trained in here,” Blaszak said.

Overall, the tigers performed with a roaring dedication to Blaszak and the audience.

After the show, the tigers returned to their beds for another “cat nap,” and Blaszak thanked the audience for their kind support.

“God bless you all,” Blaszak said.

The Royal Bengal Tiger Show was sponsored by Boone County Family Restaurant, Jack Wolf Chrysler and Jeep, Watson and Son Excavating, J and M Plating, and Wisconsin Cheese.

For more information about the Royal Bengal Tiger Show, visit: www.brunostigers.com.

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