All smiles: Simon from England and Tammy and Brian from South Dakota.

Simon Greenway from England and Brian Lecy from S.D. wave while Gilby poses on top.

Mondo XII: Feb. 23-25, 2001
IOU meets UFO

By Tammy Marsh

This year was my third consecutive appearance at MONDO, a juggling/unicycling festival in St. Paul. I loved it my first year and it seems to get better every year! It is mainly a juggling fest, but because of the Twin Cities Unicycle Club's presense, there is plenty of unicycle action as well.

This year was particularly cool because I got to meet Simon Greenway, my pen pal from England whom I've been emailing almost as long as I've been unicycling (that is, 2.5 years). Simon's club, Idiots On Unicycles, and our club, Unicycling Freaks Organization, have done shirt swaps way back when. He announced to me and my sister in a rather creative way that he was coming to Mondo this year - he sent us a tape, and in the middle of side two, in between songs and conversation, he said "I'm coming to Mondo. (pause) What did he say? (pause) Yep, I'm coming to Mondo." Tanya and I got very excited and proceeded to call him, accidentally waking him up at 5:30 in the morning his time. (We didn't calculate correctly...) Luckily, he's a good sport!

Simon tries to make Tammy into a decent juggler. About a week later he showed up at our house and we took in the high school talent show, where Tanya and her friends performed a unicycling/juggling/diaboloing/club-swinging act. It was awesome! The next day I gave Simon the tour of our modest town, took him sledding (hey, that's what we DO in the winter!) and then we headed for the Cities for the weekend. Simon is even cooler in person than in email, and the whole weekend was very entertaining, especially learning new British vocab and expressions.

Originally a big group of us were going to go to Mondo together, but a depressing combination of important school stuff and bad weather kept most of our group at home. Three of us attended Mondo: me, Simon, and Brian Lecy, a unicyclist from my club at SDSU. The festival was a blast - nonstop unicycling and no sleep! We rode all kinds of unis, played uni hockey and uni basketball, tried out walking globes, rola bolas, the BC wheel, artistic bikes, experimented with acrobatics, and learned new tricks. My biggest accomplishment was finally learning to ride one-footed backwards. That's such a cool trick!!

Another perk of Mondo was meeting Josue Barreto from Puerto Rico, whom I had emailed maybe twice and whom I only knew as the "level 10 guy" from the skill level video. It was very fun to get to know him and see all his tricks in real life. They're amazing. Plus, it was great speaking so much Spanish all weekend, because I'm a Spanish freak! I spoke so much Spanish that I started answering people in Spanish even when they asked me in English. Pretty wild.

Saturday night's MONDO Spectacular Show was excellent as always! Of course I'm partial to the unicycling acts (Jamey, Irene, Lindsey and Colin are enchanting to watch, and Josue's routine was very impressive!), but I also loved the yo-yo act, Jay Gilligan's choreography and juggling, and the Dew Drop Jugglers' antics as the hosts.

Connie, Kelsey, Christie and Neil (TCUC) demonstrate creative one-foot wheel walk. Brian perfects his juggling. Josue Barreto from Puerto Rico does hand-wheel walk, superman style. ...and sideways wheel walk. ...and side ride! He's too good. Un abrazo. Brian the Hockey Stud. More juggling! Simon is UNSTOPPABLE. Way up high! More hockey!

I love meeting people from other countries. Unicycling, conveniently enough, is extremely conducive to that, which is one of the things that makes this sport so great. For your amusement, I have included a list of cultural things that I found funny throughout the weekend:

  • the look on Simon's face when he saw that his water bottle had frozen solid overnight in his car
  • I had to explain how four-way stops work
  • He asked me if our student union had a bar
  • He didn't know what the Pillsbury doughboy was or Saturday Night Live
  • He feels very strongly that pudding has no place in a salad bar
  • He calls gas 'petrol' and gas stations 'garages' and parking lots 'car parks'
  • He goes nuts in empty icy parking lots, doing cookies :)
  • I ordered "grilled cheese" at a restaurant, and when it came, he looked at it and said, "I didn't know it would come with bread!"
  • Simon in the Rio Bravo restaurant: "Can I have some water with my ice?"
  • Simon after the gym closed at 2 a.m. Sat. night: "Let's get some zeds!"

    More pictures...

    Brian on the artistic bike. Simon Says: Say Cheese! Simon on a giraffe. Robin Chestnut, from Winnipeg, on a giraffe! Zak runs up a wall and does a flip. No kidding. I was impressed. Josue does stand-up gliding with me in Renegade. Josue on the 12-footer. Brian rides his first giraffe. Simon walks that wheel. Who says Brits don't do freestyle? Jamey pullglides Irene by her foot. Awesome. Henry and Simon juggle around me.

    Simon gets a taste of South Dakota winter...

    Unicycling on the snow pile!

    That's all for now! Email me at