Sharks set to attack Placer County Fair

Exhibit is nation’s only traveling shark show
By: Nathan Donato-Weinstein The Press Tribune
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For most people, hanging out in an enclosed tank with four sharks swimming around isn’t exactly relaxing. But Philip Peters has a funny way of chilling out. “When I’m in there, it’s kind of nice,” Peters, 46, said. “You don’t hear anything. It’s kind of like a Zen moment.” Peters is the proprietor of Live Shark Experience, the country’s first and only traveling shark exhibit. It makes an appearance over four days at the Placer County Fair next week. “It’s going to be pretty exciting for a lot of people that haven’t seen sharks up close and personal,” said Brock Wimberley, the fair’s chief executive. And few people have been as up-close and personal with sharks as Peters. Three of four times a day at his exhibits, Peters jumps into a 5,000-gallon tank, which two lemon sharks and two nurse sharks call home. Once in, he interacts with them – which could include “playing” Loretta, a nurse shark, like a guitar (he’s actually rubbing her belly, which this shark likes, he said). Why, in the world, would someone do this? For Peters, it’s a lot less of a dangerous occupation than his previous gig – a trapeze artist for Ringling Bros. Circus. “My background is I’m a daredevil, but I always wanted to do something with sharks,” he said. “I was always interested in them since I was a little boy. For most kids, it’s either dinosaurs or sharks. I was sharks.” Peters said there are a lot of misconceptions about sharks, and his show is designed to clear the air on the animal forever associated with Steven Spielberg’s thriller. “We try to explain you don’t have to be too afraid,” he said. “There are over three hundred species of shark. And there are only four that are considered really dangerous to humans. The rest are pretty docile if you just leave them alone.” Which isn’t to say he’s never had a run-in. Peters said he’s been bitten “dozens” of times over his 12-years in the shark business, though the last four have been bite free. “The most dangerous part is just getting into the tank,” he said. “It’s all closed up from the top, so once you start walking on the top it’s either food is coming or you are.”