ELKTON, S.D. - The Creviers of Elkton, S.D., seem like a typical family. On an average morning, the two oldest siblings get up and head off to school; the middle child, Hollie, practices the piano and 6-year-old Zach rides up to the fridge on an eight-foot tall unicycle to fetch an apple.
OK, maybe there are a few things that make the Creviers a little different, but with 12 children, 11 living under the same roof, parents Bruce and Diane have their hands full.
What really sets this family apart, though, is in the family business: a world record setting traveling basketball show started by Bruce Crevier more than 20 years ago.
Photo by Phillip Bock
Bruce Crevier uses his downtime from being on the road to practice new tricks at his home in Elkton, S.D. His specially-designed basketballs feature 12 stripes and 12 stars, one for each of his children.
"They've been around the world with me," Crevier said of his children. "After I first got married we had our first child. There was time when I would travel by my own, but I wanted to include them as much as I could."
Bruce's first world record setting ball balancing act came in 1992 when Crevier set the record for the most balls spinning at one time. In that first attempt, Crevier set the record with 15 balls spinning at once, but has since went on to break the record three more times - spinning a total of 21 balls at a time. The trick, he said, is holding the balls for the required five seconds to set the Guinness record.
"It's a long five seconds," Crevier said. "By that time the first balls you get spinning are wobbling and just about falling over."
Crevier also holds the record for endurance for spinning a basketball on one finger for 22 hours and 12 minutes. Prior to his attempt, the record for endurance was a mere 3 hours and 59 minutes. Crevier is not one to boast, commenting that anyone could beat his record with the right amount of practice.
"Anyone can do what I'm doing," Crevier said. "All it takes is practice. There is nothing special about the ball."
What started out as a solo routine has quickly turned into a family affair. A resident of Elkton, Crevier himself is the 11th of 12 children. His older sister Tanya, a fellow traveling ball-spinner, first encouraged Bruce to take up the hobby. After his own family started to grow, Bruce began to think of ways to expand his show to include his whole household.
"I started out by myself and still do programs by myself," Crevier said. "But what happens is the family has grown and I incorporate them into the whole program."
Every member of the family, including the youngest 2-year-old identical twin girls, have a part in the show. The group piles into the family touring bus, a vehicle of gargantuan size, and travels the country spreading a message of hope in a presentation that includes everything from basketballs to 10-foot tall unicycles - all but the youngest of the Creviers have learned to ride one.
"The Lord has blessed everybody. He's blessed everybody with the ability to breath, move and have their being," Crevier said. "We use (the show) as a platform to encourage people to give back to god what he has given us."
The family recently returned from a nearly 6,000 mile trip crisscrossing across the country performing a variety of shows. Their visit home was short lived, Crevier said, as the family travels between 150 to 200 days a year.
"I think of all the things I could be doing and I think I'm pretty thankful I get to do something that I like," Crevier said. "I never dreamed it would get to the point where it's at."
The whole family recently set a world record of their own in Sioux City, Iowa, for the most people on tall "giraffe" unicycles from the same blood family. Bruce and 10 others mounted the 10-foot-tall unicycles to claim the title.
"You gotta have some WIT - whatever it takes," Crevier said. "For these guys, this life is normal."