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The governor traded his Harley Davidson motorcycle for a 6,000 pound pachyderm this weekend.

Gov. Scott Walker, his wife, Tonette, and dozens of bikers roared into Baraboo Sunday afternoon to wrap up the last leg of a state motorcycle ride to promote tourism with an appearance at Circus World. During his visit, the governor met with museum leaders, was made honorary ringmaster of an afternoon performance under the big top, and even rode an elephant.

Walker said the suspension on the pachyderm differed slightly from his Harley.

“It’s a little back and forth,” he said. “If my bike was back and forth, that would only be if I were taking a corner.”

Walker said his office decided to end the state motorcycle tour in Baraboo to further express support for Circus World. The governor included in the 2017-2019 state budget a provision that will provide the Baraboo museum with more than $1 million in state support over the next two years, while transferring control of operations from the privately-funded Circus World Museum Foundation to the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Circus World Executive Director Scott O’Donnell said the museum is grateful to have the governor’s support. He added that Walker’s and his guests’ excitement and anticipation of the afternoon performance radiated through the grounds.

“To have the governor on site is exciting – It’s great to see his and Tonette’s support,” he said. “The excitement of him and the group of riders that are here, that’s infectious and great to see.”

Throughout the weekend motorcycle ride, Walker said he and his entourage also made stops in Westby, Pepin, Prescott, Chippewa Falls, Neilsville and Mauston. While he enjoyed each location, the governor said Circus World’s big top performance was one of many highlights from the trip.

Even though a fire-juggling unicyclist rode a bit wobbly near the governor and his wife, Walker said the show was “spectacular.”

“My wife literally grabbed my leg,” he said about the performer riding a bit too close for comfort. “I was glad I was ready for it, but she wasn’t.”

“I don’t think there was a part that wasn’t entertaining,” he added.

Follow Jake Prinsen on Twitter @prinsenjake

Baraboo News Republic Reporter