‘It's fun to know you are doing something that other people can't do'
TRURO - For some people, such activities as stamp collecting or gardening make perfectly fine and acceptable hobbies.
© HARRY SULLIVAN - TRURO DAILY NEWS
Professional juggler and hypnotist Ian Stewart is seen slicing an apple in two with a running chainsaw while holding it in his mouth. Stewart will be attempting to set a new world record this weekend in Halifax by juggling a running chainsaw and two balls. He currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most consecutive tosses and catches while using three running chainsaws.
Not so for Ian Stewart, however, who would likely find such sidelines a tad mundane, given that his spare time is often spent practicing fire-eating techniques or juggling chainsaws.
And yes, the saws are running and revved, with flesh-tearing chains fully engaged as he flips them through the air.
"We all have our hobbies," said the Colchester County resident, who currently holds the Guinness World Record for making the most continuous catches while juggling three chainsaws. This weekend, he will be trying to set another record while juggling one chainsaw and two balls.
"I kind of have been toying around with breaking another record, just for, you know, another thing to do," he chuckled, regarding this weekend's plans for the Atlantic Outdoor Sports and RV Show in Halifax.
Stewart currently holds the world record for 94 consecutive catches in 37 seconds, while using three running chainsaws, each weighing about 10 pounds.
That record was set in front of an audience in 2011 at the Hants County Exhibition in Windsor.
This weekend's attempt will see Stewart trying to make a minimum of 115 chainsaw tosses, while also juggling two balls, to beat the current record in that category of 114 catches.
"I really would like to hit 150. I don't know if I will or not," he said.
The tosses and catches all have to be completed in a consistent pattern, which means Stewart can't mix up the technique in the way he would have liked.
"I was hoping to do a behind-the-back and an under-the-leg throw, as part of it, with the chain saw, just for laughs. But they said I'm not allowed to do that, it has to be a standard juggling pattern."
As to how he feels about his chances for success, Stewart can only wait and see.
"It's hard to tell. In practice I'm pretty confident but you never know when you get in front of a live group, right," he said. "Where I'm a little bit worried is that I am going to be doing a half-hour show down there and I am going to be closing out the show with the saws. The last time I broke a record, all I did was the saws."
Stewart, 34, actually earns his living as a comedic hypnotist with a number of sideshows, including fire eating, thrown in for good measure.
He regularly performs throughout North America and has appeared on such iconic television shows as The Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
And stunts such as chainsaw juggling are pretty much just feats he likes to play at in his spare time.
"It's not like it's an all encompassing hobby that I have. It's just something I've always done and I always play with it and I tinker with it to try to take it further," he said.
Whatever the outcome, Stewart is confident his audience will enjoy the show.
"It's going to be good. I've been hoping to break a record for a long time and I've got a few more records in the planning stages as well for different things, just because it's fun to break records," he said. "It's fun to know you are doing something that other people can't do. And a part of me is hoping other people will try to break my record a little bit so that I can try and break them again."