Professional Whip Artistry Training & Entertainment

Professional Whip Artistry Training & Entertainment


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  • Mark your calendars – 2016 Annie Oakley Western Arts Showcase!

    GREENVILLE, OH –  The Annie Oakley Western Arts Showcase events will be two days this year, Friday July 29 and Saturday, July 30, 2016. All events begin at noon on Friday with open workshops and impromptu demonstrations and a full performance tentatively set for 6PM! On Saturday, everything starts at 1 p.m. with the Whip Contest Exhibition, which will include speed and accuracy, bullwhip fast draw and a style contest.

    Contests will be followed by a matinee performance featuring whip artist Gery L. Deer, the knife throwing skills of Bass Blades and more. The Grand Wild West Showcase will be hosted by The Brothers & Co. Entertainers music and variety show.

    And the best part? This year’s Annie Oakley Event is FREE admission!

    Check out WDTN-TV2’s Katie Kenney with Gery Deer on “Living Dayton” …

    For full details visit http://www.ohiowesternarts.org
    Two great videos highlighting the event – provided by Rich Hoffman …

    “Last year breathed new life into this long-running event,” Deer says. “Our goal is to provide a featured event for Saturday that will help draw more people on what is typically the busiest day of the festival.” For more information or to participate in the whip contests, contact the production office of GLD Enterprises at (937) 902-4857 or email, gdeer@gldenterprises.net.

    For more information on the festival, visit www.annieoakleyfestival.org.


  • Whip contests at Annie Oakley Showcase July 26, open registration

    westernmovie031Greenville, OH – The 12th Annual Annie Oakley Western Arts Showcase is scheduled to begin at 1PM, Saturday July 26th at the new event location of York Woods in Greenville, Ohio, during Annie Oakley Festival. In addition to Wild West Arts performances ranging from trick roping to precision knife throwing, the event also features some of the only public bullwhip competitions held anywhere in the United States.

    The exhibition whip contests are open to outside participation pending registration the day of the event. “We’ve opened it up to anyone to participate but we do have some restrictions,” says event producer, Gery L. Deer, director of The Whip Artistry Studio, the country’s only permanent, non-combative whip training school.

    “This is an exhibition competition, so it’s more for the spectators than the competitors and there are no ‘big’ prizes. A few people have donated whips and whip-related items but there’s no cash to be won. It’s mainly bragging rights from one of the longest-running whip contests in the country.”

    Deer points out that some of the best names in whip artistry will be on hand beginning with himself, a champion speed and accuracy competitor and 25-year veteran professional performer. Joining him will be “The Whip Guy,” whip artist Chris Camp, champion knife thrower and whip handler, Kirk Bass, and a host of others. The contests are based on long-standing events, many of which have gone by the wayside over the years.

    GLDINDY

    This year’s Annie Oakley Western Arts Showcase features a contest straight from an Indiana Jones movie!

    The Annie Oakley Western Arts Showcase started in 2002 as the Ohio regional convention for the former Wild West Arts Club (WWAC). Today, the event is the staple of western entertainment and competition at Annie Oakley Festival, a Darke County, Ohio favorite for more than half a century. Whip contests will be as follows:

    Classic Whip Speed & Accuracy – This is the age-old speed and accuracy competition modeled after those held at the international conventions of the former WWAC. Five target stands hold two foam cups each, on opposite sides and with each stand set for a different height. The event is timed and mistakes add seconds to each score with the lowest time is the ultimate goal.

    Whip Speed Switch – Similar to the Classic Speed & Accuracy, but competitors must use both hands, up one side and down the other targeting left-hand targets with the left hand and vice versa.

    The Original Bullwhip Fast Draw – This is a contest that originated with The Whip Artistry Studio and Annie Oakley events. Created by whip maker Paul Nolan, whip master Gery Deer and western re-enactor Chris Curtis, this is the most popular contest of the day. Competitors are paired in heats as they try to be the fastest draw with their whip from a “holstered” position and first to cut the target.

    The Raiders Fast Draw – This is a new contest for this year and a variation of the original fast draw. Taken from the opening scenes of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” competitors use an 8 or 10-foot bullwhip and are required to face away from each other with their whips completely holstered in a cross-draw position. When signaled, they turn and throw at the target, each trying to be the fastest.

    IMG_3582All of the contests will be held outdoors and followed at 2:30 by a matinee performance featuring whip artist Gery L. Deer, the knife throwing skills of Bass Blades and more. The Grand Wild West Showcase will begin at 5:30 PM, hosted by The Brothers & Co. Entertainers music and variety show.

    Participation is limited, first come, first served and, due to safety considerations, event producer has final say in whether a competitor may participate. Those interested in competing must meet eligibility guidelines as follows: 18 or older, must have their own (approved) whip equipment and register no later than 12:30PM the day of the contest. For more information contact the production office of GLD Enterprises at (937) 902-4857 or go online to ohiowesternarts.org.

    Video from the 2013 Bullwhip Fast Draw …


  • Tripple candle snuff explained

    The Whip Artistry Studio: April 15, 2014 – While candle snuffing might seem cliche to many whip artists, studio director, Gery L. Deer, has made it into an art form. His multi-candle snuffs may not be noticed by Guinness Book, but they take skill and practice.

    “The first time I did what we call the ‘candle whippers ™’ routine on national television, I was inundated with questions about which popper I used, or how to glue the candle to the holder, or some other nonsense,” Deer remembers. “The simple fact is, there is no trick to candle snuffing. Anyone can scoop the flame off by splashing the popper into the wax, but to gently snuff the candle out with the wind of the crack takes far more time and patience to learn.”

    In the video shown on this page, Gery is being filmed by videographer Rich Hoffman in a continues, one-shot. Rich is sitting just beyond the stool on which the triple candle setup is arranged.

    Gery set up three, ordinary candles in a triangle configuration, about 4 inches apart from each other. The two votive candles are left over from a world-record attempt by Gery’s friend Robert Dante at the 2013 Annie Oakley Western Arts Showcase.  One of them is sitting on a tin root beer mug and the other flat on the mat that’s covering the top of the wooden stool on which the candles are resting. The third candle is a stick-type, utility candle sitting in a cheap, sterling silver holder.

    Arranged in a triangle, shortest to tallest, the candles are not secured to the surface or holder in any way. The goal was to snuff each candle, one at a time, smoothly, and carefully, regardless of their position or height.

    “It doesn’t matter what kind of popper or whip you use for candle snuffing,” Gery says. “Your level of skill is what matters and how much time you’re willing to put in on it. You also have to keep in mind that the whip should never touch the wax or wick of the candle. Only moving air is necessary to achieve the proper results.”

    The whip being used here is a 6-foot, Indiana Jones style, natural tan (turned brown with age) bullwhip made by Joe Strain around 2001. It’s a rough and rugged piece of equipment and Gery’s favorite whip. It’s his “go to” for just about everything. There’s nothing special about the whip at all. It’s got about a 24-inch fall on it (white hide) and about a 5-inch popper made of upholstery nylon.

    Whip candle snuffing was first done on film in the 1920s by actor Douglas Fairbanks. In “Don Q: Son of Zorro,” Fairbanks snuffed a single flame from a candle held by a bystander. In 1998, Anthony Hopkins appeared to leisurely snuff out candles on a candelabra with a relaxed, practiced hand. Unlike Fairbanks, however, Hopkins’ candles were tricked out by the prop masters with air tubes so all he had to do with crack the whip and the prop guys did the rest, off camera. For this demonstration, the video is unedited and there were students, professionals and bystanders at the studio watching as it was shot.

    Enjoy!


  • IMG_0324Bullwhip Lesson with Gery L. Deer: Candle Snuffing

    April 2014 – For many years, The Whip Artistry Studio director, Gery L. Deer, has been asked to produce some “how to” videos and here is the first of those. Here, Gery teaches whip student, Hollie Bradley, how to snuff out a candle with a whip. This is one of the most common whip tricks, dating back (on film) to Douglas Fairbanks in “Don Q: Son of Zorro” (1925).

    Here, Gery teaches Hollie the art of the direct candle snuff, using basic, vertical utility candles and a 5 1/2 foot, 8-plait, single-belly kangaroo whip with an ordinary nylon popper (not polypropylene). The direct candle snuff uses the circus crack (cattleman’s crack) to blow the candle out straight across, rather than the easier ‘scoop vacuum’ version, using a variation of the sidearm crack. This was the very first time Hollie ever tried the candle snuff. Great job, Hollie! (Our thanks to Rich Hoffman for the video clip!)




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