Kids wiggled, giggled and tipped their top hats Saturday as they vied for the title of Junior Ringmaster for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus.

About 20 children ages 7 to 12 gathered at Sears in the Fashion Place Mall for The Sears Search for Salt Lake City's Junior Ringmaster. The winner will receive a tour of the circus and meet the ringmaster at the Saturday, Oct. 3, performance of The Greatest Show On Earth, held at the Delta Center.Seth Baldridge, 10, wandered amid the clothes racks muttering his lines.

"I've been to the circus before. I don't have a favorite act; I like them all," he said.

Practice paid off. When Baldridge took the stage, he spouted his lines like a professional, tipped his black top hat to the crowd and gave a little wiggle.

"I've been to the circus once," said Riley Turner, 8. "I like those guys on the trapeze. If I win I'm taking my whole family."

Jim Law, dressed as a clown with purple hair and a painted face, roamed through Sears encouraging children to participate.

"Salt Lake City was selected as one of the cities to try out our new Junior Ringmaster program," said Law. "The program has only been in about 12 cities, but it's been so successful we hope to expand it."

Law travels ahead of the circus as a goodwill ambassador to generate excitement for the show.

Law joked with the children as they stepped up to audition. After one girl did a flip and the splits, Law said, "If you don't win the Junior Ringmaster contest, we can use you as an acrobat."

Each contestant received a top hat and a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey watch for participating. The winner will be contacted on Tuesday. In addition to the circus tour, the new Junior Ringmaster will receive 10 tickets to the Oct. 3 show and a Sears gift certificate.

"If you win the gift certificate," Law said, "it's yours. Mom and dad can't tell you how to spend it."