A freewheeling group of Central Coast athletes is making its mark on the international stage.
The SLO Ballerz, a San Luis Obispo-based team of basketball-playing unicyclists led by Mark Wilder of the juggling duo Something Ridiculous, recently won third place at Unicon, the world unicycling championships. Held July 30 to Aug. 10 in Montreal, the biannual event features unicyclists from around the globe competing in events ranging from hockey to the high jump.
The SLO Ballerz was one of nine teams to take part in the unicycle basketball competition, including three-time champions WOOM (Man on One Wheel) from Lyon, France.
“We play a fairly aggressive, physical game compared to the Europeans. The French called our style ‘street ball,’” Wilder said in a news release. He previously competed at Unicon in hockey and basketball with the Berkeley team Revolution.
Although the six-member SLO Ballerz team fell short of the gold at this year’s competition, they’ve already begun training for the next Unicon in Donostia, Spain, in 2016.
The SLO Ballerz practice from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays at Meadow Park in San Luis Obispo. The team welcomes riders of all levels of all levels and typically brings spare unicycles for beginners.