BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Do people come to the Kern County Fair just to see this kind of thing? Maybe not consciously. It’s usually all about the concerts, the carnival rides and the food. However, fair-goers may hear a faint “Oh yeah!” in the distance from none other than Mark Wilder.
Wilder and his world-class mullet have returned to the Kern County Fair for the seventh straight year, and he’s set to perform numerous individual feats of balance and coordination that few of us would ever dare attempt in public, and combine them into one amazing schtick.
Yes, he can walk and chew gum — and butter his toast — simultaneously. And as for his jokes, he’s cornier than a corn dog.
“I’m here every day. I can’t believe it. I guess they can’t get enough of me,” Wilder told 17 News. “I’ve been coming here for I believe six years now. This is the last fair of my season, and it just always ends my fair season on a high note. I’ve worked cruise ships, I’ve worked halftime shows, bachelorette, sorority and slumber parties, but my favorite places, I would say, are fairs, especially the Kern County Fair. It doesn’t get any better than this.”
Wilder came by his life’s work in an odd but inspiring way. At the age of 22, he decided to stop acting like a knucklehead and stay on the straight and narrow. That very same day, he saw a unicycle in a store window — and bought it.
That was 22 years ago, and the rest is unicycle hall of fame history. Nowadays, he performs at fairs and similar events 150 days of the year, not including travel time.
Wilder makes it look easy. It’s not — especially since his unicycle is built to fit his long-legged 6 foot, 4 inch frame.
17’s Robert Price couldn’t even reach the pedals, but on the plus side, he says, that’s one less body in the emergency room.