10 Questions With Wheelie World Record Breaker Ross Holland
Ross Holland’s HUB wheelie is the wheel deal (sorry). As I type this, it is on its 46th hour, having obliterated the previous wheelie world record of 10 standing hours.
Holland’s Twitter account announced that his task will finally complete today at 3:45 p.m. In anticipation, we got to ask the wheelie maestro 10 questions.
Onward State: So, why did you decide to do this?
Ross Holland: I talked to my brother about wheelies in general and how when I was in a wheelchair I’m always doing wheelies. The conversation went from there, and we started to ask ourselves how long, exactly, I could be up on a wheelie. From there, I looked up the record because I was curious, and when I saw it was 10 hours, I knew that I could beat that. So I set up to try and do it the best I could.
OS: Can you explain the lawnmower accident that happened to you as a kid?
RH: It was just after I turned three. I grew up on a farm. My mom was mowing behind one of the buildings and my dad had my brother and I up on a hill. When he looked out towards my brother, I took off toward my mom to say hi as she was coming around the corner of the building. When my dad looked back, I had just enough of the headstart that I needed so he couldn’t catch me. My mom had been mowing right around the edge of the building and couldn’t see me, so when I turned the corner she was right there, and my feet threw out under me. My dad got there in time and save to my life, and I ended up at John’s Hopkins Hopsital for a month. I got my first set of legs by that December and haven’t looked back. I’m always wearing prosthetics unless I have some sort of injury.
OS: Have you contacted Guinness about this? When do you think they’ll make it official?
RH: It’s not really for sure when it will become official. The way the application process works is, you send in a request and they send you back the rules to complete it. I’m gonna send all the evidence we’ve gathered to Guinness and we’re gonna do the free verification process, which takes 8-12 weeks. It takes a lot of time because it was kind of expensive to get someone out to verify but I’m not worried about waiting a while.
OS: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen after sitting here for more than 45 hours?
RH: Oh, gosh, there have been a couple of interesting things. First thing that comes to mind is, there’s a sign in the HUB for advertising and three different people have walked into it checking out what I’m doing. That’s the first thing that comes to mind and honestly it strikes me as very funny.
— PSU Campus Dining (@PennStateDining) June 10, 2014
OS: So, Penn State Dining brought you food?
RH: Basically, they just kind of said, “You must have worked up an appetite because you’ve been there for so long, and we want to give you a meal.” So I filled out what I wanted and they sent it over free of charge. I got curly fries, pot stickers, a thing of soup and a huge bag of snacks.
OS: How hard is it to do the actual wheelie?
RH: The wheelie is not difficult at all. The way I’ve been explaining to people is, it’s kind of like standing. I’m aware I’m on a wheelie and if I fell asleep, I’d fall over, but it’s not something I focus on. I’ve been in and out wheelchairs long enough that its not something I focus on, it’s just an unconscious motion.
OS: How have you managed to stay awake this whole time?
RH: I am not entirely sure, honestly. During the day it’s pretty easy, especially with the student orientation. There’s so many people coming in and out and people want to know what’s going on, so I talk to people all day. Just five-hour energies and coffee to get a little bit of a boost.
OS: I asked it at THON, so I’ll ask it here…how do you go to the bathroom?
RH: I can stand on the feet of the wheelchair and slide a jug up the pants leg. I haven’t been eating all of the food so I don’t have to worry about the other thing. What I’ve done with the jug is, I’ve waited until around midnight when the HUB is completely empty, and I wait until a time when I wouldn’t need to worry about offending somebody or getting a weird look. The sign we have hanging out next to me, I have somebody hold it up so it’s blocking the camera’s view of me and you can see the wheelchair but you can’t see what I’m doing.
RH: I’m probably going to go to sleep really quickly.
OS: As is Onward State tradition: Favorite dinosaur?
RH: Oh man. I haven’t thought about dinosaurs in a while. Hm. [pause]. Hmmmm. Trying to think. Probably…[pause]. Hm. I can’t remember the name of the one. I don’t really particularly have a favorite dinosaur, I don’t know. Just to be honest, nothing’s really coming to mind…
[he calls an hour later]
…Stumpasourous. It’s just a straight-up leg joke pun, but yeah, Stumpasourous.
Remember, there’s a live stream of Holland’s wheelie here.