Bear Mountain shows aim to educate, entertain

Education is as much a part of the new Bear Mountain show as entertainment is, business owners Tepa and James Hall said.


ABOVE: Nemo, a Syrian brown bear, offers a high five Tuesday to Tepa Hall of the Bear Mountain show, which is a new attraction at this year’s fair. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Youths watch from the crowd as Nanook, a Syrian brown bear, balances on a ball as handler James Hall looks on during Tuesday’s Bear Mountain show. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | REUBEN MEES)

“We try to focus on their intelligence because not a lot of people know how intelligent bears can be,” Mrs. Hall said.

The tricks the bears perform include complex tasks that require physical and mental coordination such as riding bicycles, walking down steps on their front paws and dunking a basketball.

But the show is also interlaced with facts such as bears are only about seven or eight ounces when born, but grow to about 150 pounds in the first year; and a male can reach more than 1,000 pounds, Mrs. Hall said.

And the five bears — Giza, Nemo, Zuzu, Nanook and Tutter — are Syrian brown bears which live in the desert.

“Not too many people even know that there are bears in that part of the world,” Mrs. Hall said.

The couple, who hail from northeast Texas, started the show about 30 years ago. Mr. Hall grew up in a family that raised exotic animals and has been involved with the industry all his life, his wife said.

Show times are 3, 6 and 9 p.m. daily through Saturday and the exhibit is located at the north end of the midway.