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Patrons at three La Crosse County libraries launched flying saucers last week during a visit from a Frisbee professional.

Frisbee world champion Brad Wendt shared his skills and knowledge July 12 at the Holmen, Bangor and Onalaska public libraries.

The Madison resident brought 155 Frisbees of all sizes and various construction materials and demonstrated such tricks as finger spinning, juggling, body rolling and freestyle tricks. He also demonstrated the self-caught maneuver used in competitions.

In the self-caught competition, the Frisbee competitor flings the disk into the air and then catches it again. Distance throws are also one of the events in Frisbee competitions. In the event, competitors throw the disk and then run to catch it. One of the longest distances recorded has been 100 meters.

Wendt, a 2004 Over-all World Champion, also had youngsters take part in playing Frisbee golf and to try their hands at spinning. The children received a spinning disk from a machine that started the Frisbees revolving and were encouraged to keep the Frisbee revolving as it sat on their fingers.

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As part of his program, Wendt shared the history of the flying disks. He related how the idea of tossing the disks was started by Yale students in the 1940s and 1950s who would buy pies from the nearby Frisbie Pie Company. They discovered the empty pie tins turned upside down could sail through the air and the sport was born.

The plastic version of the toy was developed and marketed by Wham-O Manufacturing Inc. and have been used as promotions by other companies such as Keds shoes.

Wendt’s presentation was one of the special events scheduled in the library system’s summer reading program, SpaceQuest. The program encourages young readers to read about and explore the things that can be found in the sky and heavens.

More information about the summer programming as well as times and locations for events and activities can be found at lacrossecountylibrary.org.

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