The Abu Bekr Clown Unit, based in Sioux City, Iowa, has had a proud tradition at Abu Bekr Temple for over sixty years. It all began in 1954 when a few members of the Oriental Band began to participate in parades, with the Band, in clown makeup. Lead by Leo Jenkins, who was president of the Oriental Band in '54, the clowns petitioned the Divan to form their own unit. In 1956 they were granted a charter and officially became The Abu Bekr Clown Unit. Leo "Dad" Jenkins became their first president and from that time on was known as the "father" of the Abu Bekr Clowns.
The members of The Clown Unit can belong to one or all of three complimentary organizations, they are: The International Shrine Clown Association (I.S.C.A.), The Central States Clown Association, and The Midwest Shrine Clown Association. Members must belong to these organizations if they plan to compete at clown competitions at regional and international Shrine conventions.
Every year, The Clowns participate in several parades, picnics, and other celebrations all over the Siouxland area. In addition to entertaining thousands of kids of all ages, we also raise awareness for our different causes, which are: The Shriners Hospitals, The Abu Bekr Transportation Fund, and The I.S.C.A. Sneaker Fund. The Sneaker Fund was started in the 1960's in order to purchase sneakers for the burn patients at the Shrine Burn Centers. Today, a lot of the monies raised goes to fund burn research at the Shrine Burn Centers.
We are very proud of our unit and have a lot of fun entertaining the public everywhere we go. We have members that are proficient in makeup, costuming, and character development, as well as magic and making balloon characters. All of our clowns are very happy to share their skills with those who are interested. The Clowns work one on one with new members to show them the fundamentals of the art of clowning. Including: makeup application, appropriate costuming, and character development. If you are interested in joining us, just contact one of the officers and They will be more than happy to assist you. Now kick back and enjoy the colorful entertainment that is the clowns.
Our slogan is: "We Have Fun So Kid's Can Run!"