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Wayne County family has mastered the unicycle

The number of unicyclists in the Orrville Fourth of July Parade grew to 35.

Submitted

Many adults express frustration that their kids spend too much time on their electronics or playing video games. They reminisce about how they played outside when they were young and didn’t stay inside looking at screens. A Sterling family decided to address that problem head on. When Scott and Charlene Stollers' kids opened their Christmas presents in 2013, they found unicycles.
 
“The boys hopped on and fell off and hopped on again,” Charlene Stoller said. “The rest is history.”
 
The Stoller family has eight children, five boys and three girls, ranging in age from 9 to 26, and all but the two oldest have learned to ride. Charlene Stoller estimates it took the kids four to 10 hours to master straight riding. The youngest learned at age 7. With additional practice they have mastered jumps, ramps, steps and spins.
 
“They like to practice in empty parking lots and on loading docks where they have permission,” Charlene Stoller said. “They even have a balance board that resembles a teeter-totter to do trick riding.”
 
The family has expanded their unicycle collection to include a 36-inch wheeled unicycle and one with two wheels.
 
“The two-wheeler is super hard to ride,” Charlene Stoller said. “Only one wheel touches the ground, and the rider must pedal backwards to move forward.”
 
The Stoller children also have ripsticks, which are skateboards that bend in the middle. To propel them, the skateboarder must weave back and forth instead of pushing off the ground.
 
The project has morphed beyond the Stoller family. As friends and family saw the fun the Stoller kids were having, they wanted to join in. The next year many more unicycles were being found under Christmas trees in the Sterling area. The number of unicyclists in the Orrville Fourth of July Parade grew to 35. One young unicyclist pushed his sister in her stroller while pedaling.
 
“We are not an organized club, nor do we even have a name,” Charlene Stoller said. “We are just a group of parents and grandparents who want to provide a healthy, balanced environment for our children.”
 
The unicyclists have performed for various local functions such as parades and talent shows and have entertained residents at a nearby nursing home.
 
The Stollers keep busy in addition to their unicycle hobby. They are organic dairy farmers and own a dairy farm that is part of the Organic Valley dairy co-op based out of Wisconsin. Scott Stoller serves on the board of directors, and Charlene Stoller home-schools their six school-age children. The family also is active in their local Apostolic Christian Church.
 
Scott Stoller is taking the lead from his kids and is learning to ride, as are several of the other parents. “It seems to take the adults quite a bit longer to learn than the kids,” Scott Stoller said.
 
Charlene Stoller invites whoever is interested to join their informal group. “We would love to get more members who want to get up and move to start unicycling,” she said. “Get more physical activity and exercise. Ride unicycles, not four-wheelers.”
 
Anyone who would like more information about the group or who has a charitable organization interested in having members of the group perform can email the Stollers at stollersorganicdairy@gmail.com.
 
Charlene Stoller said, “Get off the couch and get moving.”
 

Published: October 7, 2017
New Article ID: 2017171009978