202  St. Paul Bouncing Team: 2006 Tryouts, St. Paul Winter Carnival, January 31, 2006. (The 2007 Bouncing Team Tryouts will be held at Harriet Island Pavilion, on January 31, 2007; registration for the contestants is at 7:00 p.m. and the Try-Outs begin at 7:30 p.m.)   posted: 070129

See our photos of the St. Paul Bouncing Team
 
We had a chance to attend the St. Paul Bouncing Team Tryouts event at the Landmark Center, St. Paul, MN, 060131.

This past December, Tom Geng, President of the St. Paul Bouncing Team, told us that the St. Paul Bouncing Team  ---  A female member is tossed high in the air using a blanket  ---  has been attending the St. Paul Winter Carnival since the very first one. As you know, the St. Paul Winter Carnival has a long history and is very famous across the country. It's really interesting to learn the fact that the Bouncing Team originates from the hunting traditions of Eskimos (the Inuit people). The team will also perform in many events such as the Saint Paul Winter Carnival parades (Grande Day Parade & Torchlight Parade) and the St. Patrick’s Day parades in St. Paul and Minneapolis, MN.
 
Tom has been a puller for 16 years. The 2006 Royal Family showed up with Klondike Kate. Klondike Kate sang a song for the bouncing girl candidates, the Bouncing Team members, and the crowd.  In the middle of the tryouts, Vulcanus Rex (the god of Fire) and his Krewe showed up to entertain the crowd. 

According to Tom, the blanket for tossing a girl is made of canvas with 28 handles. A bouncing girl usually weighs around 100 lbs. Most of the time, 14 pullers pull the canvas.  The pullers shout “One, Two, Up she goes” (sort of On Three) to toss the bouncing girl up high in the air (their web page says “our Bouncing Girls can travel anywhere from 20 - 35 feet above the 'pullers'). Eskimos use animal skins rather than canvas. It looks like a bouncing girl can perform for three years. There have been no accidents since the very first performance.  We asked Tom, “Why are you guys called, a “puller” instead of a “tosser” or something like that? He replies, “Actually, we pull the canvas parallel to the floor to toss a bouncing girl rather than tossing the canvas up. And we are called pullers, accordingly.” We thought to ourselves, “A canvas blanket is so elastic that a bouncing girl will be tossed as long as pullers pull the blanket in the horizontal direction. After all, this has the same structure as trampolines. Hmmm…, by any chance did the Inuit people invent a trampoline?”  Wait a second! Let’s check “trampolines” online… “Hey, We’re right.”  Here is the answer < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trampoline >.

At first, the Bouncing Team tossed current bouncing girls. The performances were awesome. Then, around 20 contestants competed in the Tryouts event. After the first trials, six girls were chosen. Then finally two girls were chosen as new bouncing girls.  It’s also fun to watch very young girls trying out the tosses for their future challenges. We didn’t stay until the end of the event, so we didn’t have a chance to ask bouncing girls how they feel while high in the air*.

St. Paul Bouncing Team < http://www.stpaulbouncingteam.org/Main.html >
The Saint Paul Winter Carnival < http://www.winter-carnival.com/ >
* “Tom, may we get their answers? That would be cool!” Tom kindly e-mailed to us, “I will be happy to introduce you to some of our bouncing girls so that you can ask them about their experiences on the blanket.” Cool!, we’ll get the info from bouncing girls soon.

Note: “Tom, we really appreciate your info on the St. Paul Bouncing Team. As you’re saying, ‘HAIL THE BOUNCE!!!’”

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