Pogo stick-ing has propelled the imaginations of people from physicists to adrenaline junkies since it bounced onto the scene in 1919. Inventor George Hansburg would be impressed at seeing the past decade’s rapid improvements, from springed aluminum frames to jackhammer-size air compression and super-rubber band rocketed contraptions. With advancing technologies also comes limit-pushing pogo-ers who, with no reservations, can reach heights over 8 feet, soaring over minivans or each other.
Because competition helps extreme athletes excel, the first Pogopalooza—the world championship of stunt pogo—was held in 2004 in Lincoln, Neb. Since then, as athletes have gained experience and become more daring, records have been crushed. Now in its seventh year, Pogopalooza challengers vie for titles in least jumps per minute, most jumps per minute and public jump during the qualifying day. Then on Saturday, acrobatic stunts—similar to skateboarding and BMX—fill the still air for tech, high jump, big air and best trick competitions. Come check out 20-year-old Fred Grzybowski, thought to be the world’s greatest stunt-stick jumper—he’s pictured performing a can-can over Pittsburgh during Pogopalooza 6—can rip backflips like they’re easy. And, he might even be ready to pull off the double-backflip he’s been practicing.
So, will pogo-ing be the next X-Games sport, or is it just a daredevil disaster waiting to happen? Come find out for yourself as these world-class athletes spring their fringe sport onward and upward.
At the event, spectators can try out a classic or extreme stick themselves.