Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian has his hands full daily, but Wednesday afternoon’s challenge was the biggest of his tenure so far — literally.

Guardian squared off against Duchess, a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus elephant, in an oversized Monopoly match a few blocks from Boardwalk Hall. Duchess was a fierce competitor, but in this battle of pachyderm and politician it was Guardian who was victorious.

The game was organized by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey in conjunction with Boardwalk Hall to celebrate the return of “The Greatest Show on Earth” to Atlantic City. Shows will be held Thursday through Saturday.

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Because of the competitors’ busy schedules and Duchess’ limited dexterity, the game was abbreviated to just a single trip around the board. No money was exchanged and no property was purchased.

Following her defeat, Duchess threw her piece on the ground in disgust, but Guardian quickly placated her with an offering of Formica Bros. bread baked specifically for her.

“I figured I’d get to take the bread home if I’d won, but after second thought, the size of the elephant convinced me otherwise,” Guardian said.

During the game, Ringling Bros. Ringmaster David Shipman shared elephant facts with the audience, among them that female Asian elephants such as Duchess typically weigh in at upwards of 4,000 pounds and use their trunks to feel and grip objects in the same way a human uses hands and fingers.

A sizable crowd of a few dozen lined the fence at the game, most of them mothers with young children. Ventnor resident Jessica McCormick attended the event with her 1-year-old son John and a few friends. She said they likely wouldn’t attend the circus itself, but enjoyed Wednesday’s game.

“It’s hard with the babies,” she said. “This was our circus.”

The Ringing Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents Super Circus Heroes will play five shows at Boardwalk Hall April 24-27. Tickets start at $13 and are available at the Boardwalk Hall Box Office, online at or by calling 1-800-736-1420.

Contact Braden Campbell:


Follow Braden Campbell on Twitter @ACPressCampbell

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