Extreme pogo: Bouncing sticks offer extreme tricks at the Delaware State Fair

Delaware State News/Marc Clery

HARRINGTON — Sure, some of the jokes are corny.

By the end of the act, nobody notices.

A few bounces of the pogo stick render the shtick an afterthought.

The X-Pogo team’s high-flying airborne tricks quickly grab attention at the Delaware State Fair.

The three-member act wowed a crowd of 50 or so early Saturday afternoon, with two performances later in the day projected to draw far more spectators.

After a tepid response to start the show, the crowd was fully engaged by the end of the approximately 25-minute act, dazzled by the front and back flips to blaring music and drawn in by charismatic X-Pogo team leader Tone Staubs and two teammates.

Several folks walking by caught a glimpse of the show and struck around until the end, along with others trying to find much coveted shaded seating areas in the Plaza area near the M&T Bank Grandstand.

Moving quickly from microphone quips to pogo stick on a blistering hot summer day, Mr. Staubs lightened the mood as X-Pogo performed some seriously impressive maneuvers.

“You get to play with the crowd, they get into it and it makes it all worth it,” he said afterward.

The trio twisted and turned in the air while reaching 10 feet or more of altitude, performing somersaults and clearing heights that made the Guinness Book of World Records, according to Mr. Staubs.

Speaking to the audience with a carnival barker’s cadence, Mr. Staubs said, “When going that high, all sorts of things can go wrong.

“The air is thinner up there, you must watch for low flying planes, birds will slam into you …”

A pogo stickman must know his limitations, and Mr. Staubs professed to the onlookers that “This is not a standup routine, I am not a comedian.

“The jokes won’t get any better, so get used to it.”

In reality, though, bouncing up and down like this is “very hard, very intense and requires a lot of focus and energy,” Mr. Staubs said.

X-Pogo warmed up by clearing a five-foot bar, and Henry Cabelus, a rising high school junior from New Hope, Pa., climaxed the routing by traveling head first over a seven-foot bar and later completing six back flips in the “Fantastic Flip Finale.”

“After a couple years doing it, you don’t have to think much,” he said.

The youngest member of the team, 15-year-old Sam Colella from Springfield, Va., said, “It’s easier with a crowd, you feel like it’s a push to do well from the audience.”

Mr. Staubs, a 23-year-old from Colorado Springs, Colorado, said he’s a full time professional pogo sticker who typically works three of four weeks a month at fairs, NBA halftime shows, monster truck rallies and anywhere else where is crowd is seeking entertainment through bouncing.

“I feel like I’m living a dream,” he said.

Mr. Staubs described pogo sticking as “a new action sport similar to skateboarding or BMX except that we don’t need ramps to throw ourselves up into the air.’

Daily performances are scheduled for 2 p.m., 6 p.m., and 9 p.m. until the fair ends on Saturday.

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