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Unicycling Society of America

February 23, 2000

New officer

The Unicycling Society of America's "new" Vice-President is Andy Cotter. Andy was the VP until last September 30 and has graciously agreed to take on these duties for the rest of the year.

Unicon X update
(Andy Cotter - International Unicycle Federation, Technical Consultant to China)

Great news! The Unicon X website is now live at http://www.unicycling.org/iuf/unicon10/

Unicon X: The Tenth World Unicycling Championship and Convention is happening August 1 through 8, 2000, in Beijing, China.

In working closely with the sponsors and organizers of Unicon X, we are impressed with the effort and planning that have already been put into this convention. It promises to be an exceptional event!

The opportunity to attend Unicon comes up only every two years. And Unicon has never before been hosted by the People's Republic of China.

The eight days will be filled with all the Unicon events-races, standard skill, freestyle, pairs, coasting, ultimate wheel, relay, MUni, marathon, and unicycle basketball and unicycle hockey tournaments. There also will be plenty of open gym time, and plenty of time to meet people and share skills and information.

Plus, the organizers of Unicon are setting up many optional tours and special events for participants. Can you picture yourself riding your unicycle on the Great Wall of China? Or possibly riding in world-famous Tiananmen Square? The only way you can hope to make this happen is to be there!

We encourage you to join us and over 700 other unicycle enthusiasts from all over the world who will visit China this summer for Unicon.

Much of the information you need to plan your trip is available at http://www.unicycling.org/iuf/unicon10/ And keep in mind that it's a good idea to tack a few extra days onto your trip if you can. There are plenty of things to see and do in the fascinating city of Beijing or in other areas of China!

If you have any questions, please send them to the official (English) UNICON X e-mail center at: UniconX@Gilby.com

For all the details including the schedule, registration form, and FAQ, make sure you check out the Unicon X website: http://www.unicycling.org/iuf/unicon10/ Check back often, as there will be many updates as more information is made available.

We look forward to seeing you at Unicon X!

-International Unicon X Organizing Team

P.S. Please spread the word about the Unicon X and the website.

Volunteers anyone?
(John Foss, President, Unicycling Society of America)

What USA could really use is a "Club" or "Affiliate" coordinator. Someone whose job is to gather and provide information so unicycle clubs can learn from each other and flourish.

USA should have a booklet with information on clubs and promotion.

And another book on teaching.

And another book on convention hosting.

Anyone want to get involved in this?

Review of 1999 National Unicycle Convention videos by John Foss

NUC 99 is the third NUC to have a commercial video, and this is the best one so far. It cannot rival professionally produced videos costing thousands of dollars more to produce (and no unicycles), but it's very good for the budget under which it was made.

The occasional use of two different cameras on a performance, interesting editing, split screen effects and other computer-generated special effects make the videos fun to watch. The camerawork is clean and steady. The overhead camera angle in the Public Show video is a little strange, but offers views of some details that you might have missed if you were there live. Especially the pizza cutter unicycle in the pizza! That pizza was good, by the way.

The "Convention" video has highlights from everything, including the Pairs competitions in the Public show. I believe it covers all of the events in the order that they took place. Parade is covered, I think showing all the groups. Then Standard Skill, with highlights of age group competition followed by parts of the various Expert routines. Jr. Expert and Expert Pairs Freestyle is next, from the Public Show stage. Then back to the gym for Individual Freestyle and age group Pairs. Much of this is done in split screen, so you can watch two riders at once. That's a great way to show a lot of riders without boring the average viewer to death. Then Group Freestyle and Club Show, including most or all of the amazing Wizard of Oz performance by Panther Pride. This was a NUC 99 highlight, not to be missed! Then we're on the track, with lots of interesting shots of the various races, including some Obstacle Course, Slow, High Jump and Long Jump. There's a few good crashes in there too. Then there are the MUni events, with some coverage of our first-ever Observed Trials competition, and the big downhill race. The cameras were set up in one of the hardest sections of the course, so you could see a lot of examples of how to ride the hard stuff, or how not to. Finally, a little bit of the awards presentation at the end.

On to the Public Show video. That's what you get, basically the whole show, with the omission of the emcees. It's a great video to watch if you're only interested in artistic and don't care about racing or other stuff.

All of the Jr Expert and Expert Pairs Freestyle performances are there in their entirety (including the music). The camerawork is steady and clear. There was a lot of great talent in that show, and it's all here. This includes Lars Lottrup being eaten by a balloon, which was the funniest thing I've seen at a unicycle convention since Sem Abrahams and Frank Birdsall did a crazy Pairs performance in 1984!

Overall, these are the best unicycle convention videos I have seen. Though I would have liked to have the original music on the Convention freestyle performances, and the Public Show performers deserved to have their names announced and listed, these videos were produced on a shoestring budget and with volunteer help. Until better ones come along, these are the best examples you can use to see, or show, what goes on at a USA National Unicycle Convention. And of course no collection is complete without buying both.

You can order them from the USA web site: http://archive.uniusa.org/nuc99/video.html

National Unicycle Convention (NUC) 2000

July 20-23 at Adrian College, Adrian, Michigan. A registration form will soon be available in ON ONE WHEEL. For more information, visit www.rtuc.org

Yes it is coming! Make your plans now to attend.

Some notes and comments (by John Foss, President, Unicycling Society of America):

Q: Why is "Michigan weather" getting so much attention? What makes Michigan weather so different that the schedule must vary from the previous two years? Were the track events held first at other conventions?

A: Michigan is known for sudden changes in weather, and a notorious difficulty of accurate predictions in certain conditions. The variance in schedule is a return to the "traditional" order of events from past years.

Because racing takes place outdoors and artistic indoors, it's safer to schedule racing first. In the event of rain the schedule can then be switched around. Also the artistic events provide a much better climax to the showing of talent at NUC, and provide a better situation for non-competitors to rest. Though having the races last can afford artistic competitors more of a chance to go all-out with less fear of injury, having the races first makes those same riders ride more "responsibly", and possibly reduces the incidence of injury.

Q: Dorms?

A: The advantage to dorms is that they're usually lots cheaper than hotel rooms. In combination with a campus meal plan, they also don't require a car for the duration of the convention.

Q: Do several rooms share one bathroom with shower?

A: Yes, though I don't remember the details in Adrian. It's one of the drawbacks of saving all that money.

Q: Is there a motel/hotel available for convention attendees to stay?

A: Unfortunately not, but that was not the hosts' intention. The hosts were stuck with a very limited choice of weekends due to our tradition of not overlapping with the IJA or UNICON, as well as what the college had available. This left us stuck with the weekend of the Michigan 500 race at the nearby Michigan International Speedway. This is a major sporting event, and all hotels within 50 miles seem to be fully booked! USA conventions were pretty much dorm-based up until 1990 or so, so though it's a minor hardship for the luxury-minded, it makes the convention more affordable for many.

Q: What's Adrian like?

A: Adrian is a small town, and I thought it was very nice. The thing I remember most about Adrian was leaving my fanny pack out on the tennis court all night, with a camera and maybe even my wallet in it. The next day, it was still right where I'd left it.

Q How many riders do you expect?

A: I think there were about 200 riders in '93, which was average for the period. I would take a guess at 225-275 this year. Having NUC on the West coast two years in a row was unprecented in the history of the USA. It hardly ever left the Midwest before, so we have no basis for comparison. We got surprisingly large numbers, especially in WA, but most of those riders probably can't afford the trip to Michigan and vice-versa.

Q: How will the 2000 NUC compare to the ones in 1998 and 1999?

A: The last two conventions were different in several ways from the "traditional" ones that preceded them. For example in Monrovia we had a beautiful mountainous background (with a MUni race on it), super-hot temperatures, and smog. In '99 we had an even more beautiful mountainous background (or maybe we could just see it better?), a ski resort, and the only dirt track we've ever raced on at a NUC. RTUC and the Wood One Wheelers with their combined management have held more Nationals than anyone (9), so they have the weight of precedent behind them. This convention will be more like the previous ones. The lack of hotels will definitely be a hardship for some, and I sure hope there are lots and lots of dorm rooms to accommodate all of us!"

One of the sponsors of the National Unicycle Convention 2000, Redford township Unicycle Club www.rtuc.org is looking for someone to lend a high speed computer printer (Windows-based) to be used onsite during the NUC2000. It would be used to keep everyone informed as the convention progresses.
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