Bengal Tiger Encounter
Pima County Fair - Tucson, AZ
April 21, 2012

Photos and Slide Show

Our YouTube Video

Wikipedia Article

The Pima County Fair in Tucson was a pretty decent county fair.  The county fair in our town is pretty small and, apart from the carnival, takes maybe 30-minutes to see everything.  We encountered the fair quite by accident.  We were camped in Benson, AZ and saw an ad in the local paper about the fair.  Wondering who the entertainment would be I checked online and saw that there was to be a Bengal Tiger 'Encounter' as well as elephant rides and a zip line.  Well, the elephants didn't make it and the zip line was nowhere to be found but the tigers...ahh the tigers.

here were five of them...the smallest around 350-lbs.  Two were really special...a huge (650-lb) rare male white tiger and a slightly smaller and almost as rare (and far prettier) golden colored tiger.  The 'encounter' was a stereotypical tiger taming act.  The tigers were put through their paces...jumping through hoops, sitting up, rolling over, etc.  At the end of the 30-minute show anyone who wanted to...and who paid $5...could feed one of the tigers.  Well, Donna jumped at that chance.  The tiger was in the cage and Donna was not and the cage was maybe 4-ft away.  So far, so good.  Next, the handler placed a small piece of meat at the end of a stick slightly longer than 4'.  Still OK.  The object of the game was to get the food to the tiger...that part turned out to be deceptively easy...without poking the tiger with the stick.  Good thing I had the camera set to continuous shutter as the feeding was over in a few seconds.  That tiger was hungry! 

The rest of the fair was pretty traditional.  Th Budweiser Clydesdale Horses were there, a bungee jumper, a hypnotist, face painting, hand waxing, an actual side show and best of all fair food!  The hand waxing was interesting.  The idea was to create a mold of your hand holding a rose or a toy of some sort.  Some people were holding hands.  The operator would alternately dip the customer's hand in liquid was and then water.  Back and forth, back and forth for maybe 10-minutes.  Not sure I'd want my hand on the dresser. 

The fair food...what can I say?  I found one place that had fried everything!  Oreos, cheesecake, Twinkies, Snickers and more.  Some people were chomping down on huge turkey legs.  Others on all sorts of Mexican food, burgers, fries, hot dogs, ice cream, grilled corn-on-the-cob (yum!), elephant ears...all the good stuff.

The main stage entertainment was a new up-and-coming country singer so we hung around for that.  Couldn't see him from where we found seats and the sound system was turned up...way up!...making it hard to understand what he was singing.  After a while we called it a night and headed back to our campsite in Benson.   We hope you enjoy the photos.