Roman Schmitt

From the list of elephant persons Family: Schmitt

Roman Schmitt
Roman  Schmitt
The Asian elephant bull Toomai and Roman Schmitt at Circus World in 1983, two weeks before Toomai gored Schmitt. Photo: Wayne Jackson, Canada
Personal details
Country United States

Title elephant head-keeper 1984-2001
Location at Roman Schmitt Busch Gardens elephants in United States

Title elephant trainer 1981-1986
Location at Circus World (Polk City) in United States

Title chief elephant trainer
Location at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in United States

Relevant literature
Biography details

Roman Schmitt , circus elephant trainer in United States

Born 1951-12-15 in United States dead 2001-05-00 in United States , son of elephant trainer Hugo Schmitt and wife Jenny Schmitt .

Roman Schmitt was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on December 15 1951, as son to the world famous german elephant trainer Hugo Schmitt who worked as chief elephant trainer at Ringling Bros. Barnum & Baileys Circus (RBBB).

Roman Schmitt was educated in Florida, where the Ringling circus had its winter quarters, and, while serving as a catcher for the Riverview High School baseball team, was signed up by the New York Mets, playing in the team's "farm" system, which trained young players, for two years.

After that, Schmitt returned to the circus and worked with his father, learning about the training of elephants with the touring circus. He later went on to work at the Circus World theme park in Haines City near Orlando, Florida, where he presented a Group of young elephants and started the park's breeding plan.

In 1983, Schmitt suffered a near-fatal accident when he was gored by by the elephant bull Toomai. As he was walking him from the barn to the paddock, Roman was gored through the leg and got life threatening wounds, but recovered and went on to train some unusual circus acts, one of which involved a tiger riding on the back of an elephant. In another turn developed by Schmitt, "Kenya" - which he claimed was the world's first trained black rhinoceros - appeared alongside the elephant "Birka".

Roman  Schmitt
Black rhinoceros "Kenya" which was trained to perform with the asian elephant Birka.
It arrived in the USA on 24 October 1974, and was kept by Roman Schmitt until
1984 when it transferred to Columbus Zoo.

After leaving Ringling's circus, Schmitt went to work at the Busch Gardens animal theme park in Tampa, Florida, and was instrumental in developing a successful elephant breeding programme there, of which the park's management was justly proud.

Roman Schmitt died in may 2001, 49 years old


Ryan Schmitt
Megan Schmitt


Siblings through the father Hugo Schmitt (1904-07-19 -- 1977-08-09):

  1. Eddie Schmitt Born 1956
  2. Hugh Schmitt Born 1938
  3. Manfred Schmitt Born 1942 Dead: † 1996

Roman Schmitt s ancestral Ahnentafel:


Roman Schmitt
Born: 1951-12-15

Hugo Schmitt

Born: 1904-07-19

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Jenny Schmitt


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Reference list


Koehl, Dan, (2024). elephant trainer Roman Schmitt in United States. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 12 July 2024 at (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

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Categories elephant trainer | circus | Roman Schmitt Busch Garden | Schmitt family | Born 1951 | Dead 2001 | People from United States

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