WACO, TX — Car after car go by and each driver gets a thumbs-up from this larger-than-life personality. In the weeds, next to a storm drain, Mark Riggs is putting on a show.
"People consider us to be pandlers but it's not true. We're entertainers," Riggs told 25 News.
The center median is his stage as he so effortlessly juggles neon clubs, grinning from ear to ear.
"We sell happiness, not sympathy."
He wears a top hat too. If he's starting to sound like a circus performer, there's a reason for that.
"I'm the owner of Circus Ridiculous. We travel the country doing a lot of tourist areas." But the pandemic means the circus is not coming to town. "They shut down every festival in America," taking away his livelihood.
So, he had to do something, "I prayed."
And then things came full circle when he got a call from someone he taught how to juggle.
"He said 'I'm juggling. I'm doing what you taught me' and then I thought about it and I came out here and tried it and to my surprise, everybody was so happy about it. Claps and cheers out the window and every once in a while they'll tip me. If we get a thumbs up its just as good as a 5 or a 10."
He says he's spending 3 to 4 hours a day performing in the streets and he won't say how much he's making.
"No one's gonna get rich but at least I can pay the bills." Yes, he has bills to pay.
If you assumed he's homeless, that's not exactly true. He lives in this camper on the back of his Chevy along with his juggling partner and there are two of them.
Just like the people that drive by, they're juggling the cost of living, a car payment, even a gym membership.
"I'm just like everybody else. I'm working for a living."
Hard times or not, the show must go on.
"When I struggle, I juggle."
Riggs is a true entertainer and while some people may frown upon what he's doing, he really wants you to know he's not begging for money, he's putting on a show and working for it.
The city of Waco has an ordinance against panhandling and Riggs says that's not what he's doing.