Breidablik B.R.A.T.S. performer shares her Viking Fest perspective

POULSBO — Alex Dudley stands at 4 feet 9 inches, that is, until she sits atop the 6-foot tall unicycle known as the "Triple Stack."

"Usually I'm much shorter than my dad," Alex said. "But with this I'm way taller."

Alex, 11, is a Breidablik B.R.A.T.S. performer. On May 20, Alex rode alongside fellow B.R.A.T.S. performer and friend Jacklin Marshall on the tallest unicycle in the Viking Fest parade.

Though the B.R.A.T.S. typically perform in the parade, it was the first time in four years someone rode the Triple Stack through downtown Poulsbo in the parade, Alex said.

The triple-stack is a unique style of unicycle. Its height is comparable to the "Giraffe," another style of unicycle used in B.R.A.T.S. performances. The Triple Stack is set apart by its structure; three unicycle wheels stacked on top of each other, propelled forward with a chain linked to two peddles.

It's not easy and the Giraffe is easier to ride overall, Alex said. The main difference comes down to speed control and smoothness of the ride. Riding down hills on the Triple Stack is extremely difficult, she said.

Despite the difficulty level, Alex said many of her fellow students look forward to trying it. When she was in fourth grade, she couldn't wait until fifth grade to give the massive unicycles a shot, she said.

There are tricks that accompany the unicycle performance, including linking arms with other performers to spin or making a "train" by lining up and holding hands.

Along with the performance comes the possibility of falling, which did happen during the parade, Alex's father, Paul Dudley, said. For the more difficult terrain, parents will hold the performers hands to avoid an accident.

"Sometimes they'll fall, but they just get right back up," Dudley said. "It amazes me."

During the parade, Dudley said the spectators were all impressed by the B.R.A.T.S. performance. After seeing his daughter and Jacklin ride by, he say many excited faces.

"There's a sheer 'wow' factor at seeing a young girl go by on a tall unicycle," he said.

Breidablik is the only school which offers the B.R.A.T.S. program (B.R.A.T.S. is the acronym forBreidablik's Rising Athletically Talented Students). Once she graduates, however, Alex said she plans on returning to help future B.R.A.T.S. with their performance.

"I guess she goes to Barnum and Bailey after this, because the middle schools don't offer it," Dudley said.

Hours before the Viking Fest parade, Paul Dudley decided to purchase a GoPro camera. He wanted one anyway and the parade was a perfect time to try it out. See the video above for a perspective of the Viking Fest parade from the view of B.R.A.T.S. performer Alex Dudley.


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