Dan & Betty Butler Story

I felt so comfortable hanging upside down, swinging through the air. I just found what I was really great at. Circus was like, I found my thing. 

My dad actually brought me to it. He just had heard about this, you know, extracurricular activity. Brought me by the big top. 

We met in a circus when we were kids in high school. 

I ended up working with Gunther [INAUDIBLE] on the high wires. 

And we performed wire together. I juggled, did a hand balancing act, did cloud swing, Spanish web. 

Betty said, wouldn't it be great if we could bring this to the Twin Cities? But I'm a banker's son and Betty's a, you know, the daughter of a chemist. And in those days, you know, you graduated from college. We got married, started having kids. 

Banker son, chemist daughter. [INAUDIBLE] 

Starts a circus. 

Ladies and gentlemen. 

Cause at the time, you're thinking just small, 30 kids. I mean, you have no idea, you know, what this introduction of circus would eventually become. 

And we had families calling, grandparents and families calling television stations and newspapers. And it was this thing all of a sudden. And Mayor Norm Coleman at the time, he said the Butlers take ordinary kids and teach them to do extraordinary things. 

Now we're at like, 1,000 kids. So you know, it's quite big. 

The circus was always a big part of how I stayed in shape. I've always worked out. When we joined Lifetime, it has been, for me, one of the greatest things that I've done to keep physically fit. 

Come down a little bit more, by your ears. Good. 

Always go in every day. 

She had on this shirt that said, [INAUDIBLE]. And I asked her what it was. And she was like, this my business. I was like, wow. You're a part of the circus? I wanted her to train with me. So we started off with 30 minute session. 

So basically right to left, left to right. And keep on pushing. 

That's her chance to escape from what she does daily. I think she worked out with me because she wanted-- I mean, my name is Happy, first of all. But I think because she just wanted something different. 

She knows that my routine is, you know, no matter what, I get in to Lifetime. And it just gives me, even if it's five minutes or an hour, it just gives me that burst of the day that you know, I need to keep it going. 

Our session is all about relaxing. I always tell her to relax, let's just live in the moment. But yes, she is strong. Physically and mentally. I think she always had it in her. I just brought it out a little more. 

When I'm physically fit, I'm emotionally stronger. I'm focused. And I think that's a big part of what we are trying to give to these kids. 

We had no idea that we would have to raise five kids while raising thousands every year. So always the big joke is, you've got 1,005 kids. It's been a challenge. But I think, you know, sometimes when you meet the challenge, and you're able to stay healthy and in shape, and keep up with these kids here, allowed us to also keep up with our five kids at home. 

Rachel being our oldest. And she, herself, is actually a miracle story. She was born with a serious congenital heart defect. She was not able to do cardio sports. I mean, you know, I was thinking this might be the one area that she could excel in. And she trained extraordinarily on the aerial and the silks. And you know, had remarkable success. And now, is one of our lead aerial trainers. And she's physically incredibly fit. 

And I ended up seeing how, you know, working on could help my performance and could help my coaching here at Circus. So they've definitely gone hand-in-hand. 

There you go. 

I can't imagine training here and being a coach here at CJ and not also having my time at Lifetime. We're not just teaching kids how to get up on a trapeze. You know, knowing that you can't expect to do all these physically amazing things if you're not treating your body right. 

Use expression. Oh! 

Definitely a huge part of our training program is the healthy eating as well and the healthy, just lifestyle habits in general. 

Just giving to these kids what we received. The place where you know you can do anything you want to do. 

That a girl. 

That you're not afraid. 

Very good. 

That you just push yourself. And so I think giving that quality to these thousands of kids over the past 25 years, it's just been a remarkable gift that we've been able to give.

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