Page 11                                                       Fall 1988

Meanwhile, High in the Rockies...

1988 IJA Denver Convention Big Toss Up

The traditional Big Toss-Up was a much-photographed highlight of convention Field Day.

A few of the oldtimers at the IJA's 41 st Annual Convention in Denver were muttering, "Now I've seen everything!"


You see, they had been to dozens of IJA conventions and met hundreds of people, but never before laid eyes on Roger Montandon. Montandon, the man most responsible for the formation of the IJA through his publication of The Juggler's Bulletin in the early '40s, showed up for his second convention of a lifetime.


After attending the first IJA convention in Jamestown , N.Y. , in 1948, Montandon earned the nickname of "The Hermit of the IJA" because he never came to another one - until Denver , that is! Tricia Allen and the Rocky Mountain Jugglers greeted Montandon and more than 900 other jugglers with good weather and a wonderland of juggling fun.


 Montandon explained his long absence  by saying the summer was his busy season back in Bixby , Okla. This year, however, he and wife Juanita decided to visit an old friend in Denver and take in the convention. "It's bigger than I expected," he said, "and more informal now, too. In 1948 there were two fellows doing five clubs, but here you aren't even considered a juggler unless you can do five!"


That's a slight exaggeration. There were plenty of jugglers in Denver who couldn't do five clubs, but certainly more than two could do five or more!


Jugglers had a wider-than-usual choice of venues, with activities divided between the tent and the University of Denver Field House gymnasium. While tent security proved to be a nightmare for ticket­checkers, most jugglers enjoyed the festive atmosphere it created. Club Renegade sessions under the tent began each evening at midnight and continued sometimes well past 2 a.m. Those who couldn't relate to the sometimes raucous humor of the club scene found plenty of peace, quiet and open floor in the gym, which also attracted jugglers well into the wee hours.

Eddie Dominguez

Eddie Dominguez juggles drumsticks behind the battery under the convention circus tent.

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