Peter Nestler has been hooked on jumping rope since second grade, when he saw an exhibition at Glacier Valley Elementary School.
In third grade, he joined the Juneau Jumpers. By the time he finished high school, he had helped his team win seven world championships.
Now 33 and living in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Nestler has come full circle. He’ll perform his world class rope and unicycle skills for a new generation at Glacier Valley on Friday.
“It’s where I learned to jump rope,” he said. “I was on the team there, pretty much my entire learning curve was at Glacier Valley. So it’s kind of neat, and I was thinking about where to do these records. And I was like, you know, it would be kind of cool to have one where I actually started.”
During the show, the Ketchikan native hopes to set a new world record for most bum skips in 30 seconds.
That’s right, bum skips. Nestler explains:
“Basically, you’re seated with your feet out in front of you, and you’re jumping while you’re sitting down,” he said. “For this particular record … you hold both handles in one hand, so the rope’s basically cut in half. And then you spin the rope so it’s making kind of like a helicopter motion, but it’s going, it’s staying on the ground and you’re jumping over that with every jump.”
The current record is 82, according to the Guinness World Records press office.
He already holds the record for most rope skips on a unicycle in one minute: 237. Nestler hopes to set a total of 11 new world records this year, three of them in Juneau in the next six days.
And yes, this is his day job. He’s been professionally unicycling, jumping rope, and spreading a kid friendly motivational message around the world since 2002.
“A lot of people look at people like me that are professional or really good at something and they just think, ‘Oh, you know, he’s just born that way,’” Nestler said. “And I’m like, ‘Well, no.’ I’m definitely one of the people, I don’t pick stuff up quickly, but I work very, very hard, and the reason I’m good at stuff is I practice more than anybody else at something.”
Separately, he performs for churches and youth ministries with a faith-based message. He said his faith and relationship with God has helped him get where he is today.
He’ll perform next Wednesday at the Hub, an after school program at the Juneau Christian Center. There, he hopes to beat the record for the most rope skips while juggling a soccer ball in one minute. That’s 31.
He’ll also try to for the speed record for running a mile on one foot while jumping rope. The time to beat is 34 minutes, 1 second.
Constant conditioning and performing hundreds of shows a year inevitably leads to aches and pains. Add the grueling travel schedule, and he’s questioned his career.
“You definitely have those moments where you’re thinking, ‘Well, is this really the kind of job you want?’”
So far, the answer has been yes.
“But at the end, when you get out and you’re performing, you just kind of see the look on these kids’ faces,” he said. “They see me out there jumpin’, and you kind of see sometimes, those light bulbs kick off behind their heads. It’s like, you know, this really is what I like to do and I love the opportunity to do it,” he said.