WJF 8 took place this year from Tuesday August 7th to Sunday August 12th at the Sioux Falls Convention Center in Sioux Falls South Dakota. I was brought out to serve as the Head Referee for Major League Combat.
A fun fact about Sioux Falls, the airport and convention center are so close together that jugglers can walk from the airport to the convention! The convention was free this year and the convention center provided plenty of space for the over one hundred jugglers who showed up over the course of the week including many Sioux Falls residents who heard about the convention. There was open juggling all week long and there were workshops throughout the week including beginning three ball workshops once or twice every day. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday also included free dinner! Tuesday saw the first jugglers arrive and the first of the juggling games sessions including juggling limbo and the introduction of the low 360 device for a five ball five up low 360 competition. Doug Sayers won by successfully doing a 360 under a 6’4″ ceiling. There were more games on Wednesday and the low 360 device returned for a five ring five up 360 competition, also won by Doug Sayers at a height of 9’6″. Josh Horton led an enjoyable workshop teaching body rolls with clubs.
Thursday included an excellent introductory Kendama workshop by Joe Showers and it was also the first competition day of the convention. Jonah Botvinivk-Greenhouse won the Junior Overall Championship against second place Ofek Snir and third place Noah Schmeissner. Hannah Baran won the Beginner Competition against second place Rebecca Kinsley, third place Vince Clapper, and fourth place Rom Snir. Matthew Wise won the Intermediate Overall Championship as the only competitor. After the competitions, a contingent of twenty or so jugglers and parents explored a nearby game site to play human sized Foosball, race go-karts, navigate a laser maze, and eat ice cream.
Friday was the start of the Advanced Overall Championship with the Power-Up, Endurance, 360s, and Freestyle events. After the days competition events, Doug Sayers had taken a commanding lead. Vova Galchenko led a workshop on body throws and shared some of his practicing philosophies. Jason Garfield performed a stage show in Sioux Falls for a fundraiser to renovate the Sioux Falls State Theater. Tickets were $25. After the show, Bob Maier took those jugglers and parents who were over 21 to the Icon Lounge in Sioux Falls for a change in pace from the bright lights and high ceiling of the convention center. Glow clubs and glow balls accompanied the trip and everyone enjoyed themselves.
On Saturday, Scotty Meltzer gave a workshop on comedy writing. Later in the day was the World Juggling Entertainment presentation which included Maximum OverDrive, a bar tending flair demo by Icon Lounge’s head bartender Glenn Stallings, a Kendama Exhibition by Joe Showers, and a Juggling Exhibition by Jonah Botvinivk-Greenhouse. After the presentation was the final games session. The low 360 device returned yet again for five club three up 360s (won by Doug Sayers at
10′), passing games, endurance games, and the SIL-X/MMX ballistic strike challenge. Ben Thompson was the only juggler to successfully keep juggling five balls as over forty SIL-X and MMX balls were thrown at once to land on him and his cascade. The games were followed by the K8-sponsored glow party with plenty of pizza, glow clubs, glow balls, blinky-flashy things, music, and fun.
Sunday was the main event, the ESPN 3 live telecast of the Advanced Overall Championship and the Major League Combat finals. Tickets were $15. Tanner Alder, Dan Brown, Jack Levy, Doug Sayers, and Ben Thompson all competed in the Advanced Overall Championship. In front of a live crowd of a couple hundred spectators and a full camera crew, they executed their two-minute short program routines with balls, rings, and clubs. Doug Sayers won the Advanced Overall Championship and was presented with his award by Miss Sioux Empire Fair. Jack Levy took second place and Dan Brown took third. The Major League Combat finals were the next event between Team Riddle’s Jewelry (Josh Horton, Casey Rentmeester, Doug Sayers, Joe Showers, and Ben Thompson) and Team Swift (Stefan Brancel, Dan Brown, Sean Carney, Jack Levy, Colin Revere, and Joey Spicola). The teams competed in Aggregated 5 on 5, Breach, Sumo, Zombie Combat, and 360s Combat. Team Swift won the 2012 Major League Combat finals and was presented with a very large trophy by Miss Sioux Empire Fair. Live commentary for the telecast was provided by Scotty Meltzer and Mike Henricksen.
$5000 was awarded in prize money: $1500 to Doug Sayers as the Advanced Overall Champion, $800 to Jack Levy for second place, $300 to Dan Brown for third place, $1800 to Team Swift as the Major League Combat Champions, and $600 to Team Riddle’s Jewelry for second place.
Thanks go to Jason Garfield, Kai Yan Pak, Bob Maier, and everyone else who made WJF 8 possible. It was a fun week and Sioux Falls would be a great place to have WJF 9.