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Convention rolls its way to success

By most accounts, the North American Unicycling Convention and Championship held in the county last week was a resounding success, even if it flew by quickly.

Dave Krack, along with his wife and a score of other people from a Butler-based unicycle group, organized the event.

He still was too preoccupied Monday with cleanup efforts to reminisce about the week in review but said he was thrilled how residents reacted to such a unique spectacle in their backyards.

“The hospitality of the people in this area is really what made this one really special,” Krack said. “It was so interesting just watching how the public interacted with the riders and competitors. We all had such a good time.”

The event, a weeklong compilation of road races, sports competitions and other displays, brought together some of the best unicyclists in the world.

Krack said Monday he hadn’t yet had time to compile a list of winners from the dozens of events last week, but added more than 300 people participated as competitors.

Most events were at Seneca Valley’s secondary campus in Jackson Township, but others were in Moraine State Park and surrounding areas.

For some, the scenery wasn’t new, but it was much different for other people, some of whom traveled across the world to be here for the competition.

Jamey Mossengren came from Australia for the event. A veteran competitor with more than 20 Unicycle Nationals events under his belt, Mossengren said the Butler County version ranks as one of his favorite.

“I’d say it definitely goes in my top three,” he said. “The venues were great, the people were nice and everything seemed to work smoothly from the beginning. It was amazing. I know how much time and effort goes into organizing something like this, and it’s incredible.”

The convention didn’t just go well for the participants. Josh Meeder, a co-owner of the Center of Harmony, a business on Mercer Street in the borough, said he definitely noticed an uptick in foot traffic in and around town.

Being that most of the events took place less than a mile north of Harmony at the Seneca Valley School District, Meeder said many participants and their families ended up in Harmony looking for places to shop and eat.

“At its peak, I’d say there were maybe 200 people in Harmony per day over the weekend because of the event,” he said. “It became somewhat of a hub during the week. Everyone I’ve talked to has said it’s absolutely been an outstanding success.”

He said many people he talked to raved about the facilities and hospitality found at Seneca Valley. For their part, school officials reported no issues during the week and said they’d work with the group again.

“The event went exceptionally well,” said school spokesman Linda Andreassi. “We truly enjoyed hosting it and being part of the excitement.”

Another competitor, came from Los Angeles for the event and prepared to depart for home on Monday.

He agreed with other competitors and said the convention was tons of fun. However, it was enhanced further by the kindness of the residents, he said.

“The energy here was pretty interesting,” he said. “I liked that a pretty small town took over the event. The community was so very supportive of us, just evidenced by the spectators and how friendly they were.”