It ain't your father's pogo stick any more!

    Is this how extreme skateboarding got its start?
   The
world championships of extreme pogo just wrapped up in Pittsburgh, Pa.,
drawing a field of some 60 competitors between the ages of 13 and 24. 
They came from all over to attend “Pogopalooza 6”- from 23 states,
Canada, and England.  The first Pogopalooza started in Lincoln, Neb.,
with just entries competing in a church parking lot.
    This newest
wave of xtreme sports stars have taken advantage of many recent
innovations in the pogo stick of old – most notably designs using
heavy-duty rubber bands instead of the old steel springs.  There is
also the stick that uses compressed air as its propellant, and
reportedly is capable of sending the rider some 16 feet in the air.
   
One company, the one that makes the rubber band versions, reports that
it has sold an estimated 40 million sticks since 1919, the first year
that they were patented and sold in the United States.
    There
aren’t any widely-recognized stars yet, pulling down 6-figure incomes
like skateboarder Tony Hawk, but 20-year-old Fred Grzybowski says he
earns about $20,000 a year, mostly from appearing at fairs and trade
shows.  He started working on his craft at eight years of age and is
credited with being the first in his sport to mix forward and backward
flips.