Crotona Park’s King Charles Troupe circus act mixes unicycling, gymnastics and basketball

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The King Charles Troupe is made up of skilled athletes who have been playing basketball while riding unicycles around the Bronx since the 1950s.

Over the years their skill set has only seemed to improve, earning them showtime on some of the biggest stages in the world.

“We added unicycling and kicked it up a notch to make it that much more exciting,” says troupe leader Kip Jones.

The group's founder, Jerry King, taught his son Charles how to ride the unicycle in Crotona Park. Flash forward to 1969 -- the troupe became first all-black circus act to perform at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

The troupe was even inducted into the circus ring of fame this past January.

They plan to continue taking their skills to the Bronx streets for many generations to come.

“We would love to pass it on to the next generation for them to take it on the next 50 years and so forth,” says troupe member Joe Gary.

 

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