Wenatchee Youth Circus founder and longtime manager Paul Pugh is a Wenatchee legend. A sculpture of him as Guppo, his circus clown persona, greets passersby at the downtown YMCA. His community awards are many. The circus he started in 1952 continues today (after a break during the coronavirus pandemic). But Pugh’s real celebrity is in the hearts of the thousands of children and parents whose lives he impacted over the decades.
Pugh was born in Wenatchee in 1927. As a young boy, he loved circuses — watching crews set up the big top and rigging, the elephants and the performers. He would often trade his labor for admission. He was agile and good at sports, especially tumbling. During college, he learned to be a clown and spent summers clowning with the Clyde Beatty Circus.