Of the many unique juggling couples in our community, Bob and Trish Evans are one of the most interesting! Their home life, careers outside of juggling, approach to fitness as a primary component of their juggling, and entertaining videos make them a favorite of many jugglers, though others in the juggling world may not be familiar with them.
Both Bob and Trish were three sport athletes in high school and met at Michigan Tech University, where they each continued their sports careers – Trish was a member of the skiing and cross country teams and Bob played on the basketball team. They were both active leaders in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes as well. After they started dating, Bob learned how to juggle and endeavored to teach Trish – only to find out that she already could do it. They found instructions on partner juggling online and were able to do a bit together for their June 2007 wedding.
After graduation, the pair started work as teachers, which is still their primary careers today. They quickly ramped up their juggling skills as well and started training as jogglers. In 2012, they became the first people to juggle 3 balls through an entire triathlon! After taking a year off of teaching to travel, they decided to combine travel and teaching by teaching English in South Korea for two years – which also allowed them to travel to various locations in Asia and continue to perform and practice. They then moved to Thailand – with plans to stay for just a bit – but feel in love with the area and are planning to stay there indefinitely. They work as teachers at an international school – Trish teaching math and Bob teaching Physical Education and Health. Earlier this summer, Bob set a new world record for Backwards Three-Ball Joggling Mile, clocking in at 6:45 and breaking the previous record by almost a minute.
eJuggle – From seeing you juggle, it’s obvious that strength and fitness are vital to your performances. Tell us about the importance of those and similar elements in your style of juggling.
Bob & Trish – We think fitness and strength are skills similar to backcrosses and half-showers. With all our experience as athletes before we became jugglers, we had a lot of body awareness and physical capability already built up. When we think of a new acrobatic juggling stunt that we want to manifest, a lot of times it’s strength and fitness that needs to be trained along with the juggling skill. Back in 2015-2016, we did CrossFit consistently for about 6 months and the strength we acquired through that training opened up a lot of new trick possibilities for us. That was a fun. Trish does a lot of yoga and core work to be able to do what we do, and Bob does a lot of hand-balancing and leg training to be able to do what we do. Just rehearsing some of our acrobatics+juggling+dance routines is a good workout! We like music concerts and some of our favorite concerts are the ones when the performer(s) gives everything and our sweat, messy, and physically exhausted at the end of the performance. We intentionally try to create this experience for ourselves and the audience in our live shows. We do have an athletic approach to our juggling in the way we train and perform. It’s also good to have a hobby that requires physical fitness.
eJ – What are you most proud of as jugglers?
B&T – Early in our juggling “career”, Dan Holzman gave us the tip, “Be the best in the world at tricks nobody else even does.” This really influenced us in finding our niche as an acrobatic juggling, basketball-juggling trick shot artists, and jogglers. There are so many amazing jugglers in the world, but we are proud to be at or near the top of those three subcultures. We really enjoy our role as creators of what we refer to as the “encyclopedia of acro-juggling”. We like innovating new combinations of acrobatics and juggling and sharing them with the world. We encourage other jugglers to try our “moves” and feel proud when we see someone imitating our style.
eJ – You live in Thailand now and return to the United States to visit family during the summer. What is appealing about life in Thailand?
B&T – The “Thai life” is great. We live in Chiang Mai, a city in northern Thailand that attracts interesting people from all over the world. In certain places like Thailand and South Korea, the quality of life for teachers is generally better than it is in the USA right now. For example, we live off one of our pay checks right now, get massages every week, eat out (excellent food) most nights, take several vacations throughout the year, and get our summer flights home to Wisconsin covered by our schools. Also, there is a park in Chiang Mai that is a like a 24/7/365 juggling festival. Almost year-round, you can find slackliners, acrobats, jugglers, and other artist-athletes. It’s one of our favorite places in the world.
eJ – We understand that you are expecting a baby. How do you expect parenthood to affect your juggling, if at all?
B&T – Yes, the baby is due October 12 (2017). It’s hard to tell how parenthood will affect our juggling and overall lifestyle. We pride ourselves on our adaptability and openness to life, so we’ll take it moment-by-moment. We’re really excited for this new chapter.
eJ – You are quite famous for your Christmas juggling videos. How has social media affected your juggling careers? Can we expect another wonderful video this coming December?
B&T – We will definitely keep the Christmas videos coming. Sharing our work on social media is a lot of fun. Most of our online audience is fellow performers and it’s fun inspiring that demographic. It’s also fun to do a video like “Dangerous Juggling” every once in a while that has more mass appeal.
eJ – What jugglers most impress you and why?
B&T – We like a lot of jugglers. Guys like John and Owen (The Passing Zone) and Josh Horton are impressive in the way they create stuff that is both appealing to the masses and also impressive to fellow jugglers. Thom Wall is really fun to watch. Jack and Jeri Kalvan were a huge inspiration in getting us started in acrobatic juggling. Obviously, guys like Wes and Tony are on another level and their brilliant madness is beautiful to experience. Erin Stephens is an awesome person and also a fun juggler to watch. We could go on and on.
eJ – Tell us about your experience with America’s Got Talent.
B&T – We went into America’s Got Talent with a bit of a jaded mindset after hearing horror stories from other jugglers. That being said, it was a really fun and challenging experience and we are proud of our performance on the show and our decision to walk away after getting passed through the first round. It’s not a very empowering show for performers, but if you understand that going in and just think of it as a fun experience, it’s alright.