A Legacy of Perfection,
Grace and Dignity

Catherine Carden • Ring of Fame Inductee



In Loving Memory of Catherine Hanneford Carden: A Legendary Performer and Beloved Soul

Born on April 7th, 1966, in Hollywood, Florida, Catherine Hanneford Carden embodied the essence of a true performer. With the legendary Hanneford Family Circus heritage flowing through her veins, Cathy was destined for greatness from the start. Her immutable talent, passion, and unwavering dedication made her the greatest female performer and animal trainer of all time!

From the age of seven, Catherine captivated audiences with her mesmerizing performances. With her commanding presence, she graced center ring as a singing ringmaster and magician, leaving spectators in awe of her presentation skills and captivating vocal talents. In 1999, she made history as the first female singing Ringmaster on the Ringling Brothers Living Carousel tour, solidifying her place as a circus legend.


Extraordinary Career

But Cathy’s brilliance extended far beyond her commanding performances. She was a world-renowned animal trainer, owning, training, and presenting a wide range of animals, from small dogs to majestic elephants. Her expertise knew no bounds, as she became the sole individual to train every animal in the greatest show on Earth from 2011 to 2013.

Her remarkable talent and dedication were recognized by all, earning her the title of best performer of the year for two consecutive years on Ringling. On the Gold Show tour, Cathy’s tireless work ethic shone brightly, cementing her as the hardest worker in the troupe. She was a true force of nature, captivating hearts and minds with her awe-inspiring acts.

Yet, amidst her extraordinary career, Cathy’s greatest love was reserved for her husband, Brett Carden, and their two remarkable sons, George and Cash. Together, Brett and Cathy formed a power couple that redefined the circus industry, producing and performing in the most elite shows across the United States for over two decades.


It’s All That Matters

In June of 2022, their journey reached new heights as they acquired the Carden International Circus and Winter Quarters, marking a pivotal moment in their lives. Their dreams expanded even further in 2023 when they proudly became the owners of the world-famous Jungle Palace in Las Vegas, NV, solidifying their legacy as circus visionaries.

Catherine Hanneford Carden’s indomitable spirit, talent, and unwavering devotion to her craft and family will forever be etched in the hearts of those who witnessed her brilliance. She leaves behind a legacy that will inspire generations to come, reminding us all to chase our dreams with unwavering determination and to cherish the love and bonds that truly matter. Rest in eternal peace, Cathy, as your star shines brightly in the celestial circus of our hearts.”



The 36th Annual Ring Of Fame Ceremony
5851 Nathan Benderson Cir, Sarasota FL 34235

Saturday, February 10 at 4:30 PM

Join our family, under the magical Circus Sarasota Big Top at Nathan Benderson Park, to pay tribute to Cathy and the other inductees into the Circus Ring Of Fame!

The 2024 Circus Ring of Fame Inductees are:

  • Her Serene Highness Princess Stephanie of Monaco, President of the Festival International du Cirque de Monte-Carlo
  • Circus Executive and Producer, Wayne McCary
  • Multi-talented circus equestrienne, animal trainer and vocalist, Catherine Hanneford Carden
  • Guinness World Record holder for longest and highest human cannonball shot, David Smith Jr. and his father David Smith Sr.

Also honored in a special category for circus arts coaching, Bob Yerkes will become the inaugural winner of the Willie Edelston Circus Arts Coach of the Year award.

The inductees to the Circus Ring of Fame® will join the 160 honored since 1987. All of those recognized have made a significant contribution to the art and culture of the circus. Updates on the ceremony will be posted on the website and social media.

About the Circus Ring of Fame® Foundation: the Foundation is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the core purpose of recognizing the highest of achievement in circus arts and culture.




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