DUNCAN 80 years, 1 World Tour Site


(January 18, 2009)


Fajar Siddiq

(January 27, 2009)

awesome! wish was there. The jugglers seems to look amazing! =)
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Madfest '09! First off I would like to say what these guys have heard me say many times this weekend: What settlers stopped here? Who took a covered wagon through here and did not think it was a good idea to head south? It is freakin' cold! When I flew in to Chicago the high was 0-- and that does not include windchill. The first night I got in to Madison just making a call on my cel phone to figured out where I was staying made my hand tingle with pain. Note: I flew in to Chicago and then headed NORTH up the lake. Dear God, why?!
Turned out to be worth it though. Madfest is a long standing juggling convention in Madison, Wisconsin (hence the name). It gets a pretty big draw from the Northern Midwest. If you've never been to a juggling festival basically you get a big room. Then a bunch of people show up and throw things at each other. It's pretty awesome. It's a great way to trade tricks and pass (juggling) with new and interesting people. And in many cases with more people than you possibly could in your home city. IN the past the World yoyo contest piggy-backed the International Juggling Associations summer convention. Here the Wisconsin state yoyo contest piggy backs MadFest.

Friday night things got started with a short open gym session. All of us yoyo-types were outside the gym at the battle-top contest. If you haven't witnessed battle-tops it's where you try to knock-out or damage the other guy's spin top. Mark Hayward has been putting it on here and at Nationals. Each time with an epic trophy for the winner. The winner this time out was Keith of the Bindelstiff Family Cirkus. Good guy. Mark, Keith and I hung out the night I got in to town. Mark grew up here and the Bindlestiffs are in New York. So the cold is no big deal for them and that makes laughing at this thin-blooded, Florida/Los Angeles boy good sport apparently.
The next day was the main convention and the contest. Good turnout. It is funny to me how yoyoers and Jugglers seem have this sheep and cattle relationship. We are in the same building but don't mix much. Every once in a while one will venture in to the other area and sniff around. One of us will go throw some clubs or one of them will come by and try a trick, but it is generally like boys and girls at a middle school dance.
Drew Tetz, put on the Wisconsin State yoyo contest in our yoyo corner of the place. He, Brandon Jackson and Josh Schlichting judged; Jon-Bot MCed. Abe failed to produce the Hammer of Thor (or so it was said), but other than that there was a good showing. A few new faces, plenty of old. Drew said afterwards that he was stressed out trying to make a laid-back contest. I said that the more stress-free the contest is for the competitors the more stressful it is for the organizer. In the end the donations/assistance from Duncan and Yoyo Factory produced a contest with actual prize money. Cash!
Afterwards there was the Madfest show, which I always thought was an afterthought but seems to be a bigger draw than the convention. They had some great acts. The entire second half of the show was the Bindelstiff Family Cirkus. Good times. Afterwards was the late night pick-up show called "Club Renegade". It was held at the bar in the student union where we were. Drew and Abe showed the jugglers how yoyoing is done and got a really good response. Takeshi was going to attempt 2-Top tangler, but ended up hitting it first try. I wonder if those guys know how hard that is? The show stealer though was the comedy stylings of Russ Rockwell, which I can't reproduce here. But I will say that they 75% of the crowd that didn't walk out cheered for more at the end.
The next day, with the shows over and the contest done, was much more relaxed... until we played off-string jumpball. If you don't know: Off-string jump ball is where you get either 2 people or 2 teams of 2 and a thrower (usually 2 of them to keep the game going). The thrower gets an off-string yo going, does a high toss, steps out of the way and the players shove each other out of the way to see who can catch it. It was Team Duncan (Drew and I), vs. Team Big-guys-in-black-hoodies (Brandon Jackson and Mark Allan) vs. Team Save Deth (Seth Peterson and Dave Poyzer) vs. Team Chubbie Lovin' (Jon Bot and Abe). Team Duncan were first winners and I don't remember who came in after that. I don't care. We played with 2 Hyabusas over a wooden floor. After a while of doing full 20-30 foot throws and having them about half the time come crashing down to the ground, we were really happy with how well the Hyabusas held up. They were still playing great by the end of it all.

We went out for American burritos afterwards and Drew and his lady Heather dropped us off at O'Hare to fly out. We were supposed to hang out in the union for a little while and then take a late bus but then were informed that the union closed at midnight... 2ours before the bus left. So we opted to catch a ride and sleep on a bench at the airport rather than spend 4 hours in Wisconsin, 2 of them in the snow, waiting for the bus.

Off to Mexico!
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