What was the first Unicon like?

Hi. I saw that the first Unicon was in Syracuse, NY. It was in 1984.
How was it?
How many people attended? How many countries were represented? Just being curious, I’m sure some of you were here. :slight_smile:

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This would be a good trivia for @johnfoss’s archives :smiley:


I’d like to see pictures or movies if some have been taken!

It was not called Unicon; that name was invented (by Meryl Shaffer of the National Circus Project) for the second one. This one was called International Unicycling Convention!

There were about 100 competitors; about 20 from Japan and a total of about 7 countries represented, including Anmon Mier, grandson of Golda Mier, from Israel.
First World Champions of Individual Freestyle: Teresa Hemminger (Abrahams), USA and Peter Rosendahl, Sweden. To win the Individual title, riders had to get the best combined score in a Compulsory event along with their Freestyle performance. It was an early version of the Standard Skill event that followed in later years.
Pairs Freestyle: Deborah Jones and John Foss, USA
Group: Team Japan (the only entry)
Track: there was no combined title in those days. The races were run in meters, for the first time in the US.
Basketball: Puerto (vs. Semcycle. there was just one game, squeezed in during the dinner break)

Read more about it, in the USA Newsletter that followed the convention. This was the last one I did for the USA Inc; after that I switched to the IUF Newsletter, which came our famously late…


This is quite wonderful, do you have other back issues in PDF?

This is what the USA Inc. currently offers online:
That is basically the whole publication history in terms of Newsletters. There were also many variations of the official USA Rulebook, dating back to at least 1981: That may bee the fist time the rules that had bee previously used were organized into a purpose-made document. They were very simple at the time and have grown much more complex over the years.

Additionally the IUF did newsletters, starting in t 1984/5, starting with the same basic format (and editor, originally), with off-and-on publication that later moved into a section inside the USA Newsletter in the 90s. The IUF didn’t have a standing, annually-renewed membership like the USA did, so it was harder to keep track of members.

Scan quality of the issues available above runs from good to crappy, probably depending on the originals that were available to the person who did the scanning. Print quality was never excellent, as we were a budget publication. I do have some better originals, including all of the IUF stuff, and it’s a project I would love to do someday, to try to get them all scanned into a selectable, searchable, indexable format. I actually have the master galleys of the first few years of issues created by USA founder Bill Jenack; those might scan even better.

As a similar “someday” project, there’s the scanning of my pre-digital photography archives. Those contain unicycling pictures starting in 1979 and including all the various unicycling events I attended before making the transition to all digital in the early 2000s. Both would be huge projects, that might have to wait for me to be retired or otherwise not occupied with so many other things like my current life is… :frowning: