The Amazing Caballero Kids
I first met the Caballero family who are originally from Mexico, in 1985 on the Carson & Barnes Circus. They did flying trapeze, teeterboard and the girls worked in the aerial production numbers. The day I visited the show in Greenville, IL on May 21, Ruben II (17) and his dad Ruben Sr. Caballero had just the night before in Washington, MO completed the quadruple somersault, only the 2nd act in history to do this amazing and extremely difficult trick!
The Flying Caballero Family on Carson & Barnes Circus in 1982.
Ruben Sr. and Ruben Jr. (17) on May 21, 1985, the day after
they caught their first quadruple (4) somersault!
I again had the opportunity to see the Caballero family on some Florida dates in 1986 and then on Ringling in 1988. After that, I lost contact with them, but understand that they went on a world-wide circus tour, including Germany, Monte Carlo, Japan and Italy for several seasons, then back on Ringling in 1997 (with an amazing criss-cross flying act). From there they went to the Circus Circus Casino in Las Vegas, NV, and then in October of 1998 Ruben Sr. with his sons Ruben Jr. and Luis opened their own circus, which is called “Circo Hnos. Caballero”. In 2013, they expanded to two separate units, one is called the “blue unit” and the other is the “red unit”. Both are presented under beautiful European style big tops and have a fleet of trucks that are elaborately painted. Both shows tour mainly the Southern California region, and are often only 40 – 50 miles from each other.
The Flying Caballeros in 1986 in Cocoa Beach, FL.
1986 in Cocoa Beach FL with visiting flyer Faye Alexander.
Quadruple somersault in 1986, Circus USA in Miami, FL.
The Caballeros on Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey in 1988.
Circo Hnos. Caballero (red unit) , April 2014 in Oxnard, CA
Circo Hnos. Caballero (blue unit) April 2014 in Panorama City, CA
One of the beautiful semi tractors owned by the show.
A well decorated semi trailer with chrome doors!
The circus big top being set up.
The circus tent (big top) is pulled right up off the semi trailer!
From Facebook, I became aware that a new generation of Caballeros’ had emerged and much like their family had done in the past, created a simply sensational flying trapeze act! I began talking to Ruben III on Facebook, and decided to do an article about this amazing family for Circus4Youth.
The Flying Caballeros in 2012, with Cousin Judith Alexandra.
Marco & Ruben pose with one of the front banners
The red unit (which I visited in Oxnard, CA) is operated by Ruben II. He and his Russian born wife Albina have 4 sons; Ruben III (17), Marco Antonio (16), Gunther (7) and Nakita (4). Both Ruben III and Marco Antonio perform in flying trapeze, occasionally joined by their younger brother Gunther. They also do trampoline and motorcycle globe, and 4 year old Nakita is already beginning to learn some basic circus skills. Also on this unit is 15 year old Carol Cabral who works in the flying trapeze act, his dad Leo is the all important catcher!
Ruben Caballero II operates the “red unit” of Circo Caballero.
Ruben, Marco, Gunther, and Nakita with their
mother Albina Caballero.
The blue unit is operated by Luis Caballero and his daughter Judith (11) and niece Melody (10) perform in that show. I only was able to stop by for a brief visit in Panorama City, CA. However Richard Balison, a circus fan friend spent a day on the show and was able to provide me with photos. The blue unit is slightly larger, and has an elaborate elevated circus ring.
Luis Caballero operates the blue unit of Circo Caballero.
Judith does an incredible solo trapeze act, works in trampoline and the motorcycle globe act. She has a younger brother Andrew (5) who performs in some of the Chinese acts, and a baby sister Anna. Her cousin Melody does an amazing contortion act and was recently featured an the “America’s Got Talent” TV show. Also on this show are Carlos and Oleg Martinez who do a variety of acts. Both shows have a first class performance with good lighting and sound system. Prior to 2013, all of the kids worked together on the one unit. All of the older kids have jobs in helping with set up and load out of the circus.
Judith Alexandra Caballero on the solo trapeze.
Left: Judith Alexandra. Right Melody Caballero, an amazing young contortionist!
Left: Andrew Caballero working in the bicycle act.
Right: Carlos & Oleg Martinez juggling routine.
Left: Judith Alexandra also works in the motorcycle globe act.
Right: Andrew working in hoop tumbling.
Back on the red unit, Carol and Marco are helping with load out.
The show will be going on to Long Beach, CA
On the red unit I got to spend some time talking to Ruben III, Marco, and Gunther. They are totally dedicated to their circus skills, and are often seen practicing. 15 year old Marco is already skilled in designing and setting up the circus lighting and sound system, which is programmed into a computer. Ruben has selected much of the music used in the show, and put together some of the dance choreography that precedes some of the acts. For flying trapeze he has selected “Staying Alive”, “Golosa”, “Manhattan Skyline”, “La Nochees Es Tuya”, “Night on Disco Mountain”, “Explosive” and a yet unidentified piece.
Marco Antonio and Ruben are also seat ushers…they make
sure the young ladies get the very best seats! haha
Marco at work programing in some new music for the show
…picked out by his brother Ruben!
An interesting story that goes back to 1989 when the Flying Caballeros were on the Ringling Gold unit it Japan. Ruben’s dad, who at the time was in his very early twenties, got bored listening to the Japanese music on the Japanese radio station, and went to a music store and found a CD of “Beatles” music. (OK, for those of you who don’t know who the Beatles are, they were a VERY popular rock & roll group from England in the 1960’s and early 1970’s).
The Beatles first came to America in 1964 from England.
Still today, their albums are top sellers.
Like many music records, tapes and CD’s that you and I purchase, they are listened to for a while, then end up in storage. So…fast forward to just a few years ago, Ruben’s dad was doing some house cleaning and was about to discard the old Beatles CD. Ruben III spotted it and pulled it out of the trash and began listening to it. He absolutely loved their music…songs that went back almost 50 Years! Instant Beatles fan! He began collecting more of their music along with vintage Beatles memorabilia such as photos and magazines. In 2012, he along with his brother Marco and two other boys on the show Carlos and Oleg Martinez, bought their own musical instruments and formed their own “Beatles” group that performed at circus parties.
Ruben in 2012 tuning up his guitar skills, a Beatles poster on the
wall in his room.
The “New” Beatles in 2012… Carlos, Marco, Oleg &Ruben.
The album cover for the Beatles’ Abby Road, A similar
photo by the Caballero and Martinez kids!
A practice jam session…Beatles music of course!
Playing at a show party…joined by Gunther and Andrew.
The show opens with a production with Ruben and Gunther and then the entire cast. The Caballero Brothers Ruben, Marco Antonio, and Gunther appear in a comedy trampoline act early in the show that has some very difficult trampoline maneuvers as well as getting laughs from the audience. This circus plays mainly in Southern California and is styled with their proud Mexican heritage. All announcements are in Spanish, but even if you don’t understand, it’s still a very entertaining show! …Si?
The show opens with Ruben and Gunther as “two kids who want
to join the circus”.
As part of the comedy routine, Ruben is escorted out of the circus
ring by his dad and younger brother Gunther.
…But he keeps coming back, and performs a variety of comical flips and turns.
Then it’s Gunther’s turn to delight the audience. Then Ruben and Marco finish the act
with some serious high flying trampoline!
The motorcycle globe act closes the first half with Ruben and Marco riding on Honda dirt bikes that are circling sideways and up and down inside the 13 foot steel sphere. To highlight the act, Gunther joins them and for a finale, with all three inside! Full protective helmets and padding are worn for safety. They are dressed in bright yellow jackets that glow in the special blue lighting! Some of the music for this act is “Gasolina” and “The James Bond Theme”.
Ruben and Marco just before the motorcycle globe act.
They enter through the back curtain of the circus big top.
Ruben and Gunther…ready to roll in the giant globe!
The yellow protective clothing glows under the special lighting.
All three brothers circling inside the 13 foot sphere.
Gunther rides solo.
To close the show, a large safety net is set up that spans the entire big top, and circus fans know they are in for a thrill with the Flying Trapeze act! But this is not your ordinary trapeze act! The act opens with the flyers and show girls dancing to “Staying Alive” a 1970’s Bee Gees song from the movie “Saturday Night Fever”. The boys (joined by Carol Cabral) are wearing ’70s style white leisure suits for the dance routine and for climbing the ladder to the pedestal board. Costume transition…let’s just say that they make quite a production out of changing from those suits to their trapeze tights! (TG for Velcro) The screaming from the teenage girls in the audience is almost deafening! Get the idea?
Rigging the net for Flying Trapeze.
“Staying Alive” dance production.
…Out of the suits and into the tights. The young ladies in the audience seem
to really like this part! …I wonder why?
The Flying trapeze act opens with a series of warm-up swings, then Carol doing a layout to his dad (catcher) Leo Cabral. Marco Antonio does a double layout, followed by Ruben with a very difficult double twisting double layout. All eyes are then on Marco Antonio Caballero as he does the triple somersault! Then on special occasions, Ruben goes one step further and performs the full twisting triple (full in – double back out), which he has caught on numerous occasions. On very special shows ( such as when Circus4Youth was there) Ruben will attempt the quadruple somersault! Thus far he has not yet caught it, however chances are very good that he will. This will be “breaking news” on Circus4Youth when he does! The act closes with dis-mounts into the net.
Ruben with a warm up swing bar reverse.
The classic one arm pose, made famous by flyers such as Tony Steele!
15 year old Carol Cabral with a fly away to his dad Leo.
Marco Antonio, double layout.
Ruben, double twisting – double layout!
Marco Antonio, triple somersault.
Ruben Caballero III, an attempt at the quadruple somersault!
(photo made from a video)
Under and over passing leap.
…And back to the bar!
The 2014 Flying Caballeros
Carol Cabral (15) Ruben (17) Marco (16) and Leo (XX)
After the show, Ruben, Marco and Gunther come out to the front lobby for a meet & greet with autographs. They are often mobbed by admiring teenage girls…well the Beatles had to deal with it, so I guess the Caballero boys can too!
Teenage girls seem to want their photo with the Caballero brothers!
Left: Ruben & Marco in 2007 Right: 1960’s teenage flying trapeze star
Terry Cavaretta with Ruben Caballero III
Grandfather Ruben Caballero Sr. Circus Owner
“May All Your Days Be Circus Days!”
Circus4Youth wishes to thank the entire Caballero family for making me feel so welcome in my recent visit, and wishes them the very best!
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