Pachyderms take center ring during bath time at city park
The scene Friday afternoon at Elmer Thomas Park was a real circus when it came time to shower a pair of prestigious pachyderms.
With a red and white big top set up just east of the Museum of the Great Plains, the Carson & Barnes Circus most certainly is in town.
And where there's a circus, there's an attraction awaiting folks of all ages. With a beautiful blue sky canopied above, it was a show fitting for the biggest of tops.
People of all ages perused the perimeter of the pen by the dozens, awaiting bath time for the pair of Asian elephants Wimpy and Delrita. The two were preparing to be pampered before their performances later in the evening. Covered in caked dirt and aromatic as animals, the girls were ready for their bath.
As the 39-year-old Wimpy pranced before the assembled audience, trainer Tabatha Del Morel told of the pitfalls that come with an outdoor shower for her girls.
"She will get down and dirty in it," Del Morel said. "The mess will be huge."
Rookie Lawton firefighter Ryan DeMarcus manned the fire hose and let loose a steady spray onto the smaller elephant's head, sending the thick layer of dirt flying into the air like muddy raindrops. With Morel, their trainer for 10 years, helping with directions, he did a yeoman job.
Starting as a dusty, khaki color, bursts of water revealed the traditionally gray skin of the Proboscidea, as the elephant is known in Latin. The more you know about the animals, the more you can see how a connection with water ties them to their closest living relative manatees.