Big Top Founder Takes Plunge

Warren Nelson, co-founder of a Wisconsin venue, has been having a rough go lately, getting busted for a drunken boating accident about the same time he pleaded guilty to sexual assault.

Nelson, who helped create the 900-capacity Big Top Chautauqua – a tented property in Washburn near Lake Superior – was arrested and cited Sept. 17 for operating a vehicle while drinking and for resisting arrest. An employee of a campground on Lake Namekagon called authorities after an intoxicated boater nearly caused a collision, according to local TV news reports.

Bystanders directed Sheriff’s deputies to Nelson, who was parked in a vehicle near a boat landing, according to Fox 21 News. Officials said Nelson was uncooperative, ran from a deputy and jumped in the lake.

Nelson was set to begin a nine-month jail sentence for attacking a woman in January. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual assault and battery in July.

Nelson was jailed for a parole violation, according to Fox 21.

Big Top Chautauqua’s summer schedule included Joan Baez, Gaelic Storm, Suzanne Vega and Yonder Mountain String Band.