For those of you who took your time to watch Evening Magazine’s coverage of the 2002 events, please accept my apology. At the initiation of the project I requested coverage of the riders and events. I had not expected the coverage to be personal.
With great embarrassment,

No apology is necessary. No one deserves the coverage more than you do. Your contributions to the unicycling community are great in magnitude and long in history. Thanks for touching so many lives in such a positive way.

Of course we all wish the piece had been an entire hour and not just five minutes, but you were the seed that started it all and kept it going. The reporter must have realized that; I think she was right. If she hadn’t, we might have missed the great comment you made: “What’s the secret to learning how to ride a unicycle? And the answer is: ‘Wanting to.’”

If you hadn’t contributed what you did to bring the events to North Bend, I might not have ever got the impression that I could learn to ride and improve.

Thanks Mr. T!

North Bend got me started.

I missed the Evening Magazine segment. Gee….

I’m new here partly because I heard about the event in North Bend and went this last summer for the heck of it. It inspired me to buy a unicycle and give it a try. Well today I got around the block twice. A long distance personal best. I’m making slow but good progress in other areas too. If you had something to do with the North Bend event I’d like to thank you. I’m having lots fun.


Here is the response I sent to Alan earlier today, before I realized that he had posted his apology here.


I couldn’t see the piece last night (KING’s signal was a little weak here in the Chicago suburbs even with extra tinfoil on the rabbit ears - musthave been the snow) but Karen tells me it was very nice. She said it was similar in slant to the feature story in the Seattle Time’s Pacific Northwest Magazine, which was wonderful publicity.

You don’t have anything to apologize for. Nobody controls the slant of a story being done for television except the director and the producer. I must have spoken to Josephine ten or twelve times on the telephone and sent her many e-mails with information she requested on the events. I did the same thing for Pacific Northwest Magazine and for countless other television outlets and publications. My goal was to encourage stories devoid of mention of myself or the usual suspects from the USA because we were not the story. Unicycling and the people like yourself who make unicycling special, especially for young children, were and will always be the compelling story that attracts media attention to the sport.

We should be overjoyed with the fact that Evening Magazine did any type of a story about unicycling, especially something as positive as what I hear they aired last night. Never mind that you and the kids deserve all the public recognition we could ever attempt to generate . . .

Tom Daniels

Chief Analyst of the Kowalskinomics Decyphering Department
and Gumbo Sous Chef
Northwest Committee for Unicycling Events, Inc.

Unicycling Society of America, Inc.

Secretary / Treasurer
International Unicycling Federation, Inc.

I just got back from some unicycling at the local Y. A man stopped me and mentioned that he had seen the Evening Magazine segment. He said “Those girls were
good!” Sorry Mr. T., he didn’t mention you.

The segment also inspired him to learn more about unicycling. He even went through the standard ‘mount against the wall’ routine to get a feel for what it was like.

Mr. T., I’m still kicking myself for forgetting to set the VCR Friday night. Did your group perform at the UW Basketball game this weekend too? I got a call from a friend who was watching the game, he said there were unicycles at half time.

The story is at http://www.king5.com/sharedcontent/northwest/eveningmagazine/stories/NW_020703EMBnorthbend_unicycling.3157fd82.html you may have to go through a register and login to get to the link. I could not find any video on the site.

Here are the text and photos:

North Bend, the unicycling Mecca

By JOSEPHINE CHENG / Evening Magazine

The Olympics of unicycling – the Unicon World Championship – is where the best in the world come together – to the showdown between countries.

But this isn’t Tokyo or Beijing, Quebec City or even Minneapolis. It isn’t any of the usual big-time unicycling Meccas.

Who would guess the big honor goes to the tiny town of North Bend, Washington?

So how did a little upstart like North Bend beat out the giants?

The world championships wouldn’t have come to North Bend if not for Alan Tepper, a humble, quirky gym teacher in the Snoqualmie Balley School District.

Mr. T., as the kids call him, introduced unicycling back in the 1980s as part of a gym class on circus arts.

Juggling and clowning gradually fell by the wayside, but unicycling took center stage.

Mr. T. bought more than 70 unicycles out of his own pocket to keep the wheels in motion.

Ten-year-old Shila Hodgins is among two generations of students coached by Mr. T, who grow up more comfortable on one wheel than on two.

Mr. T. nurtured 14-year-olds Nik Caffroy and Zach Vaughn into the top ranks of “Open X” or trick unicycling.

And 17-year-old Megan Kowalski credits him for helping her become the “Michelle Kwan” of individual freestyle.

They make it look so easy, but unicycling is, in reality, difficult to master.

What’s the secret to learning how to ride a unicycle?

The answer is, wanting to.

Mr. T. says he loves coaching unicycling because more than some sports because it teaches fierce determination.

Survivors emerge as North Bend does among its bigger rivals: stronger, scrappier, ready for action.

The North Bend kids compete well, taking wins and losses with equal grace, and before long, perhaps no one will be surprised that the little town of North Bend is a unicycling Mecca.

And people will know, it all started because Mr. T. led them to believe that anything is possible.

Re: North Bend got me started.

This is one of the other reasons why no apology required.

Yes, without Alan Tepper, there would never have been a unicycle convention in the Snoqualmie Valley. The 1999 USA Nationals would have been someplace else, as would the 2002 NAUCC and UNICON 11. The first-ever world championship Trials competition, the first long jump competition, and the first unicycle competitions using a ski lift would not have happened there.

The 2002 Seattle Seafair Parade would have been the usual collection of marching bands and etc., and not the biggest mass of unicyclists ever in a parade in the US.

Sure, there was a big team of hard working people who made these events possible. But the idea to do them in the first place is all Alan Tepper. Groups of kids ride here, groups of kids ride there, but those groups never exist in the first place without people to get them started and keep them going.

So be proud, Mr. T. Be proud of your accomplishments, as all of us are proud to have known you.