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Balancing act all about fun for Cumberland County man

Doug McManaman of Salem, Cumberland County, is the Balance King with 1,837 world records.
AARON BESWICK
Doug McManaman of Salem, Cumberland County, is the Balance King with 1,837 world records. AARON BESWICK - The Chronicle Herald

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born to write his own Requiem.

Doug McManaman was born to balance.

“It’s at the point now where I have to think of things I haven’t balanced,” said McManaman on Wednesday.

The 74-year-old “balancer” from Salem, Cumberland County, holds 1,837 world records for balancing everything from a 18-kilogram turkey to a four-bited axe from various points on his body — 20 different parts of his body to be exact.

It’s a hobby that started with a picture he saw 14 years ago of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau balancing a golf club off his chin.

“I said to myself, ‘I can do better than that,’ so I balanced one off of my ear.”

He’d always been good at balancing things.

But it wasn’t until he was 60 that he sent in a video to the Las Vegas-based world record site Record Setter.

From there things began to spin.

There’s “Longest time balancing a hen decoy on a pole on a thumb,” “Longest time balancing a table tennis ball on a knife in mouth while seated,” and he’s thrown in a few non-balance records for variety, like “Fastest time to break 10 apples in half barehanded.”

Then there’s his 40 world shooting records with a target .22 rifle.

Ultimately, it’s about fun for McManaman.

“What am I going to do, go sit at the mall. . . .?” he said.

His four children grown, it’s a hobby that entertains and gives him something new everyday to focus on.

That focus starts at 5:30 a.m. each morning when he wakes up.

He’s enlisted local carvers to create pieces for him to balance.

There’s the full-sized wooden replica of himself in full tartan garb perched on the front of the small trailer which allows him to tow his balancing supplies and certificates of a world record.

Despite his 74 years, he still works full time at the Nova Scotia Tourist Information Bureau on the border with New Brunswick.

“If I didn’t want to work, I wouldn’t work,” said McManaman.

As for the future, he has 104 records waiting to be verified and then he just needs to find 60 things that he hasn’t balanced yet.

“I think 2,000 is a nice number — that should be enough,” said McManaman.

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