Rebound: Local juggler makes comeback with first live event at a venue

Posted at 10:40 AM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 11:40:51-04

WACO, TX — When times got tough, he put his impressive skills on public display and put on shows on the side of the road.

He has become a fixture at intersections all throughout Waco during the pandemic, something of a local celebrity now.

We first told you about Mark Riggs back in February, at the time he was struggling to make ends but now he's making a comeback.

Things are looking up, way up, for this larger-than-life personality.

"I look at it and look down and think, what was I thinking?!" Mark Riggs told 25 News.

More on this balancing act in a moment. But first, remember this?

"When I juggle, I struggle," Riggs told 25 News in February of 2021.

When the pandemic forced the cancellation of festivals near and far, the Circus Ridiculous owner and performer found himself out of work.

To make ends meet, he took his show on the road, literally, standing at intersections juggling for tips.

Fast forward to April and he's back with his first live event at a venue.

"It's the first event I'm doing because I'm able to do the whole show because all winter all I've been able to do is be at the red light."

While Riggs is grateful for every driver that's rolled down their window and generously given him cash, he's eager to get back on the stage.

You know he can juggle but what about "All kinds of stuff that I can't do on the side of the road," Riggs said. "Knife juggling, the whole thing."

And he is turning up the heat, juggling fire.

"After 26 years I know when to take chances and when not to," like showcasing his flaming hot act while balancing atop a straight ladder or while pedaling a ten-foot-high unicycle.

"You're still ten feet in the air. My eyes are 13 feet in the air. I'm watching torches. I'm watching people walking in. So, it's very difficult, that's why they call it a stunt."

Like any live performance, it doesn't always go as planned.

"I have fallen quite a bunch. One time I broke my ankle in front of like 300 people and they just slowly walk away," which is an accident he now laughs about.

He grew up in the Waco area and after traveling the country has come full circle with an upcoming performance at Church of the Open Door in Bellmead.

"Everyone is accepted here, whether it be black, white, brown, or rainbow."

You'll find him here every Monday and Wednesday volunteering to feed the hungry, a bread line he's no stranger to.

"I was going to food banks."

Now he's giving back.

He also rebranded, no longer Circus Ridiculous, now Circus of Eternity with hopes of entertaining more church groups with both stunts and comedy.

But seriously, will we still see him performing at stoplights? The answer is yes.

"Until my festivals are full time, that's the only thing that is keeping Circus of Eternity out there is the good people of the red light."
People keep telling him, "Seen you on the news. Seen you on channel 25" Riggs explains the exposure helped him make a comeback.

"It really gave me legitimacy, way more than just some guy standing on the corner."

He says after people started recognizing him from February's interview on 25 News, people started looking him up on Facebook and hiring him to perform at birthday parties for their children.

"I know everybody else wasn't hearing angels singing during the pandemic, but a lot of good things happened to me," Riggs said.

The show must go on, and now it will.

"I'm going to keep doing it. It's what I was born for. The best is yet to come."

You can catch Riggs at Church of the Open Door at 900 N. Loop 340 in Bellmead on Sunday April 25 at 6:30 p.m.

The show dubbed Kidz Xplosion is free and promises to be good clean fun for all ages.

Along with juggling knives and fire from a unicycle, the show will feature comedic skits, interactive audience participation, games and prizes.