Training exotic animal stars

By: 
CHRIS RODEN FOR THE LACLEDE COUNTY RECORD

If you had walked into McNail Arena last weekend, you would have heard the sound of five camels grunting. It is not a pretty sound, not one that will be added to “The 12 Days of Christmas” anytime soon, but to Bill Rivers, veteran animal trainer who has worked in movies ranging from “Rambo III” to “The Scorpion King” to “Hidalgo,” it is the sound of a career gone right.
On Oct. 5 – 7, Rivers visited Lebanon to host a “Camel Clinic” at McNail Arena on North Missouri 5.
Rivers and his friend Colt Lantz were teaching a small group of camel owners how to train their camels for parades, riding, nativity scenes and other camel venues.
Rivers, 70, has spent decades training animals for live shows as well as the movies, TV shows and commercials. He has some favorite experiences with recognizable names.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson rode Rivers’s white camel named Aladdin that Rivers raised from a baby in “The Scorpion King.”
“I had a lot of fun on the movie. I met The Rock. He’s a great guy,” Rivers said.

For more on this story, see the print or e-Edition of Saturday's LCR.

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The Laclede County Record

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