Ben and Brad have been invited to perform next Monday night for a boy scout troup in Roscoe, IL. The scouts are having a gala affair with a Circus of the Stars theme and have asked us to be a part of their show. No, we will not dress as clowns.
We’ll have about a half hour time slot to perform unicycling skills; single and pairs freestyle, giraffe work, Super Trick Cycle, ultimate wheel, some trials skills, intermixed with some narration of unicycling in general. I’d like to follow with a question and answer session (thought that would be fun) then we promised to hang around afterwards to allow the scouts to try out our toys.
Should be a fun time but even better, it’s a paid gig. I guess we’ve come a long way since the time a little girl who happened to be walking down the street one nice Saturday afternoon in 2003 saw us riding in our driveway offered me 8 cents to do a trick.
I’m going to be riding my unicycles for my son’s kindergarten class. They learn a new letter each week, and have to bring in an object that starts with that letter.
When the teacher heard that I ride a unicycle, she asked if I would give a little demonstration. The week starting April 25th is going to be for the letter U.
You will probably get more and more shows once word spreads.
Our club does a ton of them, usually parades or promoting unicycling and juggling as alternate form of PE. One of the schools that we went to about 3 years ago now has a club of its own with about 20 members. We did a parade last weekend, preformed at a nursing home today. We are doing a memorial day parade. In 2 months we doing a show at a school in Bath, ME. We are performing at a clam festival in the summer. There is a chance that we will be in the Macys day parade and we are in the 2006 DC National Independence parade for the 3rd time. Probably a bunch more.
We traveled to Roscoe, IL tonight for our performance for the Roscoe cub scout pack meeting. Roscoe is about 50 minutes north of us up on the Wisconsin border. I introduced ourselves then immediately brought out Clyde, our monkey on a unicycle. Mary made her way around the half circle of boys with Clyde while I continued with my introductions. Clyde was a huge hit and really set the night off on the right foot.
Then we cranked up some high energy music while first Brad then Ben performed some amazing freestyle. They followed that with some great pairs routines on giraffes. As I mentioned in another post, we had practiced playing to the audience and both boys did a great job with it. At the end of Ben’s freestyle, he was taking his bows and accepting all the audience’s clapping. Suddenly, Brad rode out on the 6’, tossled Ben’s hair and sped off. Ben ran back for the 5’, freemounted then chased Brad around the gym. The audience loved it. From there they went into their giraffe pairs routine. Very nice job from both boys with a beautiful sycronized dismount at the end. I had the three-stack ready so Ben hopped up and performed some wheel walking and other tricks at 6½ feet in the air to finish off the giraffe segment.
As Ben exited, Brad emerged on the Super Trick Cycle for some stunts followed by Ben with some great riding on the ultimate wheel. Following Dustin’s lead, after he rode a bit, Ben told the audience that he would attempt a rolling mount only once. If he hit it, great. If he didn’t, they’d have to wait until next time. So with great anticipation (we really built it up), Ben rolled the wheel across the floor and landed a beautiful rolling mount.
Lastly, Ben came out with his trials and did some demonstrations of hopping and twisting. We ended the performance with Ben jumping over Brad. When Brad wasn’t a big enough obstacle, we added the scout master. The crowd went nuts when Ben landed his jump (he has actually made it over four people before).
After the performance was over, we hung around to answer questions and let the little scouts play with our unicycles. We had also brought our Uniskate and Brad’s microbike to play with. What a fun time!
All in all, it was a great night. Ben and Brad each made $40 for the evening but the best reward was the feeling of power in performance. We’re looking forward to next time.
One of the fun parts was the question and answer period afterward. I had a few minutes left before we exited to take questions.
Q: Have you ever fallen off?
A: Nope, never (audience laughs, they know better). I told them that, yes, we’ve fallen many times. Unicyclists have scars on their lower legs that we either call shindentations or calf tracks. My worst fall was out in front of my house when I mounted, missed the pedal and fell backward flat on my back in the street. That was bad but not as bad as the whooping and laughing from the car load of high schoolers riding by at that exact moment. I also told them that unicycling typically is known as a slow speed sport unlike barreling down the street on skates or boards. I asked if any of the boys rode bikes, then asked if they’d ever crashed on their bikes. I related the fact that unicycles don’t have the crossbar or handlebars to tangle in.
Q: Where do you get them?
A: We get our unicycles at half-off sales (audience groans). I told them about Unicycle.com.
Q: How do you stay on?
A: Back to the bicycles, they boys already have the side-to-side balance for the most part. What they don’t have is the front to back control. I talked about how we learned in our living room over the winter of 2000, broke up furniture, walls, shelving. Then a year later, I remodeled the living room and now Mary’s new rule for some reason is no more riding in the house. Learning to ride boils down to practice and developing the necessary muscle memory. If a person is old like me, it could take two to three weeks. We’ve seen boys learn in an afternoon.
Q: What’s the biggest unicycle we’ve ridden?
A: I told them about the many different types of unicycles out there and of some of the unique ones we’ve seen. The three tall ones we have are 5’, 6’, and the triple-stack at 6.5’. Ben and Brad have ridden 8 foot unicycles before and we have friends who ride 10 and 12 footers. Forgot to tell them about Sem’s 113’ world record. Next time.
I think there was one other question at that time but I don’t remember what it was.