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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

Pogopalooza celebrates its 20th anniversary

Pogopalooza+celebrates+its+20th+anniversary
Image via Wikimedia Commons

“Three … two … one … pogo!” 

Pogopalooza, the World Championships of Pogo, celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. The competition kicked off on June 21 with “High Jump” in Market Square. The following two days of competition were held at headquarters in Wilkinsburg, featuring the categories “Tech,” “Freestyle” and “Best Trick.”

Competitors brought their best tricks to perform during multiple runs, which included a variety of jumps and crowd-pleasing flips. In the freestyle portion, athletes performed tricks off of obstacles placed around the competition area.

Nick McClintock, who formerly worked full-time with Xpogo as the chief creative officer, has been a part of Pogopalooza since its inception. He said he’s currently involved in planning and does design and video work.

“I’ve been at every single Pogopalooza, so I’ve been there with a camera,” McClintock said. “I’ve kind of been the unofficial documentarian, I would say. It’s been pretty cool to see it grow.”

One of the highlights of this year’s competition included who cleared an 11-foot, 7-inch bar in the high jump.

“High jump is one of the ones where every year we’re like, ‘There’s no way they can jump any higher,’ and then somehow their techniques improve, they tweak their pogo sticks a little bit better,” McClintock said. “They just push it higher — always crazy to see.”

McClintock also expressed excitement about “new people coming up” in the sport, including 14-year-old Murshid “Shido” Blackwell from South Carolina.

“It’s really cool to see him come out here, picking up tricks from everybody else and learning,” McClintock said.

Beyond how “Pogo itself is pretty one-of-a-kind,” McClintock said he thinks that “what a lot of the audience loves is seeing how excited the entire pogo community gets when anybody lands anything.”

“Someone just put down a trick that you didn’t think they were going to get and suddenly everyone is on their feet, including their competitors, just celebrating their victory,” McClintock said. “It’s infectious energy.”

With each trick an athlete landed, the crowd cheered. Spectators flocked to the third and final day of competition on June 23, lining the nearby street for blocks down with cars and nearly filling the bleachers next to the competition area.

Since Xpogo decided to base the competition in Pittsburgh, McClintock said that it’s really cool to “see a lot of familiar faces come back in the crowd every year.”

“We’ll be out just pogoing for fun sometime in between paloozas, and people on the streets of Pittsburgh are like, ‘Oh, have you heard of Pogopalooza?’” McClintock said.

After Pogopalooza concluded this year, McClintock to announce that this would be his last year taking part in planning Pogopalooza. He expressed his gratitude for the current Xpogo CEO Will Weiner and for 20 years of “making [their] dreams for the future of pogo” happen.

“I’ll be around still, but yeah … 20 years also just feels like a good spot to step out and see what the next generation’s got,” McClintock said. “Thank you all.”

17-year-old Brandon Lowe traveled from Syracuse, New York, to compete in the “Best Trick” and “Tech” categories at Pogopalooza. This was his third year competing.

“I never thought I’d get here, you know,” Lowe said. “I just saw some of these guys here performing. I never thought I’d get to their level.”

Lowe said he first became interested in pogo after he saw an Xpogo stunt team performing at the New York State Fair in 2016.

“After the fair, I got my own spring stick, and then eventually I found out that you can buy the big air sticks online, so I got my first big air sticks and watched tutorials,” Lowe said. “My first competition was in 2021.”

Lowe planned to do a “flamingo flip” in the trick competition, which was delayed and abbreviated due to rain. He described the trick as someone putting the pogo stick under his feet after doing a flip.

Bridget Armon, a junior English literature and writing major, and Aditi Karhadkar, a junior molecular biology major, attended Pogopalooza on Sunday.

“I saw an Instagram Reel this morning about the competition two days ago downtown,” Armon said. “I was so excited that it was still going on today.” 

Armon said that Pogopalooza was “the best thing that’s ever happened.”

“I don’t know what I was expecting, but this has really exceeded my expectations, whatever they were,” Karhadkar said.

Karhadkar described the competition and the skills demonstrated as “a bit crazy,” leading into Armon describing a competitor who began his freestyle run from on top of a nearby balcony, a trick that they repeated in a later round of competition.

“I’m surprised about what you can do on a pogo stick,” Armon said.