Juggler mixes fire with skateboards
JEFFERSON -- You have jugglers and you have fire jugglers ... Then you have fire jugglers who ride motorized skateboards.
That is where the Canadian street busker, Brant, The Fire Guy’s act stands in 2018. He has somehow perfected doing all three at once.
The Fire Guy took inspiration from an early teacher who told him to become good at one thing.
“Then you can get good at more things over time,” she told me. “That changed my life forever.”
The Fire Guy did his first show at this summer’s Jefferson County Fair on Wednesday at high noon with a small and quiet crowd at first. But when people saw this self-described “idiot” rolling around on a motorized skateboard juggling flaming Chinese Devil Sticks, The Fire Guy’s followers grew.
Members of a young children’s summer camp sat at rapt attention, mouths wide open as their instant hero-of-the-day rolled around his performance space cracking mildly off-color jokes only adults in the audience would understand. He talked of his mistakes in life -- perhaps the worst being the time he almost burned his face off in New Zealand.
“That was an embarrassing one. But if it weren’t for mistakes, many of us wouldn’t be here!” He told the crowd, eliciting some chuckles.
In an interview before his show, The Fire Guy provided a Daily Times reporter with a book of promotional matches. You don’t see that much anymore. The kids at his show were offered postcards and buttons. The Fire Guy also, responsibly and considerately, warned the youths of the dangers of playing with fire.
“My idol? P.T. Barnum,” The Fire Guy replied with no hesitation when asked about his inspiration to travel the world entertaining people. “Twenty-five years ago I started out performing on the streets of Montreal. I am a street busker.”
Somewhat amazingly, The Fire Guy, age 45, is married, with a 14-year-old daughter. It makes more sense when he adds, “My wife is a ‘fire Hoola-Hoop artist.’” This must mean she has an ability to tolerate his globe-trotting and pyromaniac-like tendencies other women might not.
The Fire Guy said he and his family get around in a Honda Civic when he’s back home in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
“I’m successful, but practical!” He yelled to the fair crowd regarding his humble way of getting around town.
The Fire Guy supplements his income through his operation of a talent agency, where he books younger acts and serves as a mentor to similarly idiosyncratic, budding artists.
He said Bruce Sullivan of the Wisconsin State Fair first hired him to work in the Badger State. Sullivan brought him to State Fair Park in West Allis in 2017.
“Fairs are tough to get into,” he said. “They are competitive. But once you break into the circuit, it can be good and Jefferson County invited me here for this fair.”
If the Fire Guy has a motto, it might be, “Become good at something and do what you enjoy.”
“I love what I do and I do what I love,” he said. “You won’t meet a happier man than me.”
The Fire Guy’s shows at the Jefferson County Fair are free with paid admission and are at noon, 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. each day, with the exception of Sunday, when he performs at 11 a.m., 1 and 2:30 p.m. His act takes place at various locations throughout the fair park. His shows are special and must be sought out.
“I’m like a wildfire, I could pop up anywhere,” he said. “I’m The Fire Guy and I’m not fueling around!”