April 16-18 marked the 33rd Anniversary of the RIT Spring Juggle-In, and by all accounts it was one of the best ever.
No event of this magnitude is ever great without the help of many, many people, so thanks to all of you who gave up your chance to play, so that others could enjoy themselves.
The whirlwind pace of Friday evening with it's Opening Pizza Dinner, followed by the Big Open, then Major League Combat
was an indication of just how rapidly the weekend would fly by.
(in the picture..Jeff Peden, Ritchie the RIT Tiger, Bonnie Booth)
For those of you who like numbers here are some of the statistics from the weekend.
232 counted in attendance at the Big Open
198 attended the Sat 10 am Family show in Aux gym
415 attended Public Show at Rush Henrietta High School
679 Total Waivers signed for admission to the Gym
1,605 miles - farthest travel distance for a non-performer = Bekah Smith from Colorado
36 Video hours logged by Tim Peterson and the volunteer Video Crew. (2 cameras@18 hours)
6 Vendors with everything from beanbags, balls, clubs and fire to even boomerangs.
(You can still see the recorded video here..)
23 performers (and a dog) in the show
4 standing Ovations
In the games...
7 Ball Endurance = Doug Sayers ( 15 seconds +)
5 Ball Endurance = Zack Zukas (3:36)
Quarter Juggling = Kris Groth
3 Ball Blind Juggling =
1st - Joe Showers (5:16 +)
2nd - Glen Luke Flanigan
3 Ball Simon Says - Lead by Michael Karas
1st - Glen Luke Flanigan
2nd - Joe Showers ( with volleyballs)
Best Trick Juniors (12 and under) - Sawyer and Jeannette Oubre
(Note: 2nd year winning)
Best Trick Seniors - Joe Showers
Hand Stand Endurance - Cate Emily Flaherty (final time 1:19)
So many memorable moments happened during this festival, it's difficult to cover them all really.
For me there were two unsung hero's that I'd like to mention here.
Winning Teams always get their pictures in the paper, yet they know that it's the coach that molds them to greatness. It was no different with the winning team performance of the Strong Jugglers in the public show. Since the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year Rafi Benjamin taught acrobalance, juggling, choreography and performance skills to the University of Rochester Club. His previous training and coaching experience with Circus Smirkus no doubt helped, but most of all it was his constant presence and connection with the group. The club has always been Strong at the U of R, and Senior members Nate Zuk, Nick Aikens, Michael Willet and Chase Hensen also played a large part in setting the foundation with the group that performed for us.
Without Rafi's drive and encouragement to the club though, it's unlikely their team performance would have been the brilliant star in the show that it was. Rafi Benjamin - Coaching Greatness.
The second person rescued a damsel in distress.
It is one of the sad but real truths that not everyone that arrives at our event is part of the juggling community, and sometimes unfortunate things happen. In this case a woman had her juggling clubs taken. Whether it was theft, or a mistake, doesn't really matter...they weren't where she left them and she was crushed. After checking the gym, asking multiple people, and making announcements they still hadn't shown up. As I was checking with her one last time about them, Glen Flanagan (Sr) happened to be standing nearby and overheard the story and distress in this woman's voice. Without even a seconds hesitation he turned around and pulled three clubs out of his bag and gave them to her. "Please take these" he said, " my wife really likes to see woman jugglers supported and I've got more at home anyway." The Damsel in Distress was immensely grateful, and more than a little stunned by the generosity of the act.
I was too.
I think that's why I love juggling conventions so much.
It's that consistent underlying desire to be the best at what you do, and to help each other along the way, that makes it such a special and unique event.