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Minot clown getting set for top job with Shrine clown organization

Eloise Ogden/MDN Ken Gillespie aka “Dizzy the Clown” is shown here when he was grand marshal of the North Dakota State Fair Parade. Gillespie is getting ready to become president of the International Shrine Clown Association in early 2020.

Ken Gillespie, well known in the Minot area as “Dizzy the Clown,” is getting set for the top job with the International Shrine Clown Association (ISCA). Gillespie has been a Shrine clown for 45 years.

He will become the association’s president when its mid-winter session is held Feb. 19-23, 2020, at the El Tropicano Hotel in San Antonio, Texas, and hosted by the Alzafar Shrine Clowns.

When he takes over as association president, he will be the first person from North Dakota in that position and the sixth person from the Midwest Region. The Midwest Region includes North Dakota and four other states and two Canadian provinces. Currently, Gillespie is ISCA vice president.

Gillespie will serve as association president for a one-year term followed by a year as a junior past president.

As president of the International Shrine Clown Association, Gillespie will be the master of ceremonies for the association’s conventions as well as be in charge of clown events and part of the Imperial Council of Clowns, the group making rules for all Shrine clowns.

Born in Kansas City, Mo., Gillespie is a longtime Minot resident. He and his family first lived in Riverdale and then moved to Minot in 1956. After he and his wife, Claudia, were married, they lived in Kansas City for 14 years, returning to Minot in 1980. She performed as “Cloudy” the clown. She died in 2015.

Gillespie started in the Shriners organization, but didn’t have enough money at the time to ride motorcycle with the group and asked if he could ride bicycles instead. Eventually he became a clown.

“I love making people laugh. That’s the rewarding part of this,” Gillespie said in a story in the Minot Daily News.

People attending the Shrine Circus in Williston today and when it is in Minot at the All Seasons Arena on the North Dakota State Fairgrounds Thursday through Saturday can see Gillespie in action as “Dizzy the Clown.”

Gillespie, who is making plans for his upcoming year leading the international association, said his logo is “Get Busy with Dizzy.”

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