Friday, August 15, 2008

Mounted derring-do

Cavallo Equestrian Arts to present high-energy show

Express Staff Writer

Matt Zoppe and his Cavallo Equestrian Arts will perform on horseback for a one-night benefit. Photo by

Perched on top of a thundering horse hardly seems the easiest place to be doing any leaping, but Cavallo Equestrian Arts specializes in just this kind of extreme horsemanship.

The Cavallo troupe is based in Florida, where it is known for its daredevil acrobatics on horseback. Olissio Zoppe and his brother Matt, who are the seventh generation of an Italian circus family, lead the troupe.

On Tuesday, Aug. 19, at 6 p.m., Cavallo will present a gypsy-theme performance that includes daring Cossack riding, horseback juggling and truly unbelievable acrobatics. There will be six performers wielding seven stallions. The special, one-night performance is a benefit for the Sun Valley Shakespeare Festival and Renaissance Faire.

"It will be a fun, huge performance," said Prue Hemmings, organizer of the Renaissance Faire.

Hosted by Melanie Nevins and Winkie McCray (sisters, and members of the Renaissance Faire organizational committee), the event will take place at Silver Bell Ranch on Broadford Road, south of Hailey.

Cavallo was booked to perform last year at the 2007 Sun Valley Renaissance Faire, which was canceled due to the Castle Rick Fire. However, because they were already on the road, on their way to Gig Harbor, Wash., they performed at Silver Bell "impromptu and we passed the hat," Nevins said.

This year, Cavallo wasn't available to perform at the Sun Valley Renaissance Faire but was induced to come for one night while traveling in the region. The full-contact jousting feats of the Seattle Knights will be highlighted at the Faire, to be held Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 23-24, in the Sun Valley Festival Field. Tickets for the Cavallo performance are $35 each, and include wine, beer, non-alcohol drinks and hors d'oeuvres. There will be seating around the outdoor venue.

Tickets are available by calling Nevins at Silver Bell Ranch at 578-0257 or the nexStage ticket line at 726-4TKS.

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