Rap and hip-hop beats were echoed with a thunderous clapping at the Heritage Park stage at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair on Saturday night, July 19.
The Chicago Boyz acrobatic group drew in crowds of over 100 at each show in the northwest corner of the 4-H fairgrounds on Saturday. The crowd continually couldn’t get enough.
The acrobatic team has never performed at the Elkhart 4-H Fair before this year, but the response was huge.
“It was a blast,” said Chicago Boyz leader Tim Shaw. “I felt like we were in a stadium. The crowd here was electric, the energy was through the roof, we couldn’t ask for more.”
Even other performers stopped to see the flips, jumps and back handsprings.
“It was amazing,” said a clown named Uncle Bubba. “I remember seeing them on America’s Got Talent. I couldn’t remember until I heard the name... Ah, the Chicago Boyz, then I remembered.”
The acrobats were featured on America’s Got Talent in season 8 last year. The five who performed at the fairgrounds are part of a 27-member team that travels around the world.
The performance isn’t the biggest part of the group’s work — it’s what they are promoting.
Shaw saw that there wasn’t anywhere on the south side of Chicago for gymnastics. A former circus performer himself, Shaw knew the strength and dedication that it takes. He thinks that the best way to keep kids out of trouble is by providing a good alternative. Chicago Boyz works to train young men, all Chicago-born, who wish to learn acrobats or gymnastics. The group also allows them to travel and meet with other circus performers in the industry.
For Shaw, shows like the Elkhart County Fair are vital to what they do.
“This type of show is important for a fair because they need to be entertained,” he said. “You need good entertainment here. In addition to that it helps to spread our message and lets the audience know that they aren’t just seeing a show, they are supporting a cause. They are helping these guys stay disciplined, stay focus and stay encouraged thanks to the support that they get from such a big, engaged and awesome audience.”