Jul 29, 2014 at 1:42 PM
Kevin Tomczyk, 17, a senior at Huron High School, only needs one wheel to win. The competitive unicyclist has a box of medals he’s collected for winning race after race. Now Kevin is asking for help so he can take the next step in his athletic career. He’s seeking sponsors from the community to help cover the costs of entering several unicycle competitions at Unicon 17, a unicycling world championship event to be held in Montreal from July 30 to Aug. 10.
Tomczyk took up unicycling in the seventh grade. Soon it became a passion, and he quickly attracted attention for his habit of using a unicycle rather than a bicycle when he delivered issues of the Sandusky Register on his paper route.
He still has a paper route, and he still uses the unicycle, even in bad weather.
Even during a snowstorm, he perches on his unicycle as he goes door to door, tossing issues of the paper on front porches.
A Level 3 snow emergency, Kevin explains, means “the only people out in the roads are emergency vehicles and unicycles”
Unicycling, Kevin said, is emerging and growing as a sport.
Although Kevin enters many unicycle races, at Unicon he is particularly serious about competing in the longer races — the 10K, the criterium (a race on a closed course over public roads) and the marathon. Other members of his family also have taken up unicycling, and the family has accumulated close to a dozen unicycles.
Kevin answers questions easily, but when asked how many unicycles the family has, he had to stop and frown in concentration.
“Let me think about it,” he said. “I buy and sell them”
After a moment, he answered, “I personally own three. I think we have 10”
Kevin has five brothers and sisters. Some of the siblings have grown and moved out or gone to college, so he currently lives in Huron with his parents, Michael and Elaine Tomczyk, two younger sisters, a dog, a hamster and an albino pet rat.
Elaine Tomczyk has attended many of her son’s races, and says some of the excitement comes from what can happen with the sometimes wobbly devices.
“You never really know what’s going to happen” she said.
As in ice skating races in the Olympics, when one rider wipes out, he might take others with him.
Elaine recalled that in one race, she was worried because her son didn’t show up in the first group of riders crossing the finish line. He usually wins or comes in second, so she thought perhaps something had happened to him.
As it turned out, Kevin was fine, but his unicycle wasn’t. He finished the race using one pedal and carrying the other in his hand.
Unicycles come in various sizes, Kevin explained. He has a “giraffe” unicycle, about 6 feet high, which he used to ride in parades while juggling. He races using a unicycle with an especially big wheel. A beginner’s unicycle can run $60 to $90, but a top model can run more than $1,000.
Kevin says if he can find sponsors, he’s ready to help Ohio leave its mark in world championship unicycle racing.
“I’m one of the few riders in Ohio that I know of” he said.
Want to help?
Unicyclist Kevin Tomczyk is looking for donations and sponsors to aid in his quest for a world championship in unicycle racing. If you are willing to help, please contact him at 419-433-3552 or 419-602-0342.