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Kay Bros Circus poster

Kay Bros. Circus

Kay Bros. Circus was a circus that toured the eastern United States from 1932 until 1938. The show was owned by William "Bill" Ketrow (real name: William R. Peters).

The Ketrow family, had a long history in various forms of traveling entertainment, from 1924 through 1930, Bill and his brother Frank operated a small one ring "dog and pony" show which they called the Ketrow Bros. Circus. The circus was very successful.

The circus did not tour in 1931. Bill Ketrow toured with a "Tom show" during that year.

In 1932 the circus came out of it's Petersburg, Virginia winter quarters, renamed as the Kay Bros. Circus.

The circus was mostly operated by family members. The show's staff was listed as Bill Ketrow manager, Bob Ketrow assistant manager and lot superintendent, Mrs. Bill Ketrow treasurer, the advance was handled by Frank Ketrow assisted by Tom Kennedy and the sideshow was managed Bob Ketrow and Milt Robbins. Bill's daughter Mary Ellen performed a wire act and also presented the performing Elephants

The circus went out once again in 1941 with Frank Ketrow as manager, this would be the show's last season on the road.

Frank Ketrow (Peters), died in October of 1950.

Willian R "Bill" Ketrow (Peters), died of a heart attack on April 8, 1951 in Miami, Fl. He was survived be his wife Maude, Daughter Mary Ellen O'Rear, Son William Jr. and Son Frank.


Information for this page was compiled from an article by circus historian Joseph T. Bradbury
Bandwagon Magazine Volume 10, No. 2 March / April 1966, pages 22-23

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