The People's Choice winners were selected by conventioneers. Based on performances throughout the course of the convention, people voted for their favorites by placing "Rastelli Bucks" in hats on Saturday. Anyone could put out a hat, and all conventioneers had an opportunity to vote.
Votes Group 183 Bounce & Ooo-La-La, with Sparkplug 162 Jugglers for Peace 152 Arsene 143 World Emergency Circus 138 Tony Palomino 121 Frank Olivier 95 Johnny Lux 65 Laura Green 45 Markus Markoni 35 Forrest Hobbs 20 Zwei Frauen (Karen Quest & Sandy Brown) 19 Mike O'Connor Total hat collected: About $45
The IJA's new U.S. Nationals championship trophy, the Lucas Cup, ran into trouble that prevented donor Albert Lucas from presenting it as planned at the Akron convention.
The sterling silver trophy was dropped by its shippers en route from the Balfour Company manufacturers to Akron. Its crowning ball, club and ring were broken off, and a miniature copy of the trophy in the same case was also damaged.
Lucas attended the Saturday night public show and did present U.S. Nationals winner Benji Hill with a wooden artist's rendition of the trophy. Balfour is restoring the silver original at this time.
Yes, IJA Life Membership can be a political statement!
John Kilgust, one of the newest of the IJA's 54 Life Members, said at the convention that he joined to make a point. "A lot of my friends at the office are life members of the National Rifle Association. That was reason enough for me to become an IJA Life Member!" Kilgust said.
He and more than 40 Life Members at the convention joined oldtimers for a special supper on Friday night before the Teams and U.S. Nationals championship.
You say you want to see a fire eater? Someone escape from a straight jacket? Be inducted into the Royal Order of the Buzzards?
Have we got a club for you!
Once again this year the makers of Renegade juggling equipment supplied a stage, lights and a sound system. Club Renegade was back in action for its second convention. Located just outside the main gym, convention goers were treated to one of the best open mike shows anywhere from midnight to 2 a.m.
There were old routines, new routines, experimental routines, music, comedy, danger and beer. Just put a donation in the hat and help yourself to the refreshments.
Emcees of the stage included Baffle-O Bill, Robert York, Laura Green, the Butterfly Man and the Renegades themselves. The performers are too numerous to mention. But, one thing is for sure. Club Renegade is becoming a convention highlight!
Always in search of new passing patterns, Jeff Napier was experimenting with a four club start doing "ultimate passes" with Frank Olivier. Ultimate passing (continuous passes from both hands) seemed to be a hot item at this year's convention, Napier commented.
The four club start involves simultaneously tossing two clubs from each hand to your partner, one set of which does a triple spin while the other does a double. The partner unloads his two clubs, catches the doubles and passes them back just in time to grab the triples.
Taking the idea a step further were Martin Frost and Ken Falk, who were working on eight club ultimate passing!
Napier has started a "Juggling Update" newsletter and is offering a six issue subscription for $9 to U.S. readers. The Update includes information on tricks, props and juggling routines. For more information, write Juggling Update, 114 Anita St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060.
Conventioneers tried, but failed, to topple a Guinness record for most number of people juggling (and objects juggled) in one place during Field Day activities.
The record of 476 people and 1,867 objects set at the 1983 IJA convention in Purchase, N.Y. withstood the Akron challenge. The 1987 crowd numbered only 359 people and 1,423 objects. Most chose balls or bags (960), or clubs (406). Only 20 rings were juggled, and 37 other objects.
However, when examined on a per-person basis, some progress has been made in the last four years. The Purchase crowd averaged just 3.935 objects per person, while Akron conventioneers handled an average of 3.963 props. Lest we begin gloating, though, at that rate of improvement it will take 128 years to reach 5 props per person!
The Akron attempt included several notable efforts. Allan Zuckerman juggled his running chain saw, Larry Kluger brought his joggling race starter pistol and two stop watches and Steve Wilson did thimbles and a half-dollar. Arthur Lewbel took the numbers prize by attempting eight balls. Forty-six percent of those participating did three objects, 21 percent did four and 31 percent did five or more. Participants were from five countries and 39 of the United States.
Event statistics were compiled by Glenn and Donna Saums.
Has combat juggling replaced the large feeds as the social juggle of choice? Whereas combat flourished at the Akron convention, it was hard to find anyone passing clubs to more than three colleagues. In previous years, it was common practice for a sole feeder to face a line of a dozen or more people, exhorting them to "throw garbage." The lines sometimes stretched so far they bent themselves into full circles! Is their demise just passing fancy, or indication of profound change in the world of juggling?
Extraordinary achievements by several conventioneers is earning them entries in the new edition of "The Guinness Book of World Records." Gene Jones, associate editor of the book and former IJA president, witnessed five Akron superlatives.
Tim Nolan stood on a bench to bounce nine small balls on the ground below more than twice around, establishing a record for the bounce juggle.
Joggler Owen Morse broke his own 100-meter three ball record with a time of 12.12 seconds, then established a new 100-meter record in the five ball joggle with a time of 15.2 seconds. Morse chalked up a third entry as part of a mile joggle relay team that established a mark of 4:31. His teammates were Bill Giduz, Billy Gillen and Todd McLeish.
In a tense showdown between the two premier cigar box stackers, challenger Bruce Block unseated champion Michael Toro by balancing 134 boxes for the requisite five seconds. Toro's record had been 133. The white-knuckled contest went on under TV lights until 4 a.m. in the Quaker Square Hilton.
Several heavyweights attempted to juggle three 16-pound bowling balls, but Jones categorized the 11 second best time by Bob Whitcomb as "inconsequential." He said Guinness would await a better time to open that category. One of the participants, John Seglins, promised to up his 8 second effort to more than a minute in order to better impress Guinness.
Crews from a new television show, "The Spectacular World of Guinness Records," got footage of many of the events for airing this fall. Jones said the Guinness book will be published in October.
In a related matter, Helaman Ferguson has petitioned Guinness for recognition of the longest distance juggled. The Brigham Young University mathematics professor walked and joggled 50 miles in 16 hr. 12 min. 24 sec. on May 8-9.
Jeff Taveggia got time off from Ringling Brothers Circus to come to the convention. He talked frankly about misunderstandings between the circus and jugglers, vowing to patch up any differences with establishment of a Ringling Brothers IJA affiliate club.
"By giving me time off, Ringling shows that it does support juggling," said Taveggia. "The reason you haven't see it in our center ring recently is that all the clowns juggle and they feel like that's enough. But I'm still working on it!"
A clown himself, Taveggia impressed conventioneers with technical mastery of his props in the U.S. Nationals championship. His act included revival of an old juggling trick. He balanced a chute-and-ladder type prop on his chin and tossed balls up to it. As many as five rolled through the apparatus at once before falling out the bottom to be caught and tossed back up.
A case of affiliate fever seemed to sweep the gym floor during convention week. Bart Hapke of Cincinnati, Ohio, was so stricken that he wrote out and copied a quick two page newsletter exhorting southern Ohio jugglers to join him in forming an affiliate before the convention ended. "Once we return home, let everyone know the good news of our very soon-to-be IJA affiliation. Let's get those members together and build this club," he exhorted.
A dozen banners from IJA affiliates and other clubs festooned one end of the convention gym. Four groups -- Perpetual Motion Jugglers from Cincinnati, Ohio, Suspended Animation Juggling Club of Connecticut and the Dallas (Texas) Jugglers Association -- presented their paperwork and $25 affiliation fee to to affiliate coordinator Keith Watson at the convention.
Watson and friends staffed a highly active affiliates table where newsletters were exchanged and some home-made props sold. At a Thursday afternoon meeting of affiliates and clubs, Watson announced that the IJA now has 28 affiliate groups.
Membership also hit a new high at the convention. Secretary Rich Chamberlin announced that IJA membership of 3,063 in May, up from 2,282 just two years ago.