WHAT PEOPLE THINK (and ask steve)

What are some of the reactions you have received from people seeing this?
This is a funny one that I could probably write a book about. I get everything from “he should be going to a funny farm” to utter amazement. Some people walk by and don’t even look and some people will come to me saying “that is the wildest thing I have ever seen” so I get the whole gamut of reactions.

What’s the secret?
If I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret! Just kidding. First of all, I am very lucky and fortunate to have excellent eyesight (20/15 in both eyes). Fortunately, this allows me to pick up the grapes a little sooner than most people. Mark that one as good genes! The next one would be is to get over the fear of being hit in the face, especially the eyes. Starting out, it was quite intimidating, and painful, to stay in there when you see this fruit coming at your head. Your first reaction is to close your eyes or turn your head. Once that happens, forget it. Practicing a long time will get you over that. And last but not least, I am very fortunate to have great throwers. This is the most important thing I have on my side. My brother Scott Spalding is my main thrower. He is the one that threw the initial world record of 53 grapes in one minute by himself! He is about 98% on the money in terms of accuracy so if your thrower is off or is slow, you won’t come close to the record. The thrower will have to practice more than the catcher to become proficient at it. My other guys are Tim Crain and Ted Kopenski. They are both very accurate as well and we are working now on the multiple-throwing idea I discussed earlier so look for all of us soon on that record.

Have you ever been hurt doing this?
On many occasions, my lips and cheeks get swollen and bruised from doing building drops. One time though, one went right down my throat during an event when someone threw it from about 60 yards. I started choking and it scared me a little bit. That is when I realized you could get hurt really bad if you aren’t careful. Fortunately, I have never been hit in the eye, YET.

What other things have you caught in your mouth?
Well, this is a long list so to save space, I’ll get right to it: Marshmallows, Licorice Sticks, Peanuts, M&M’s, Cookies, Pencils, Aspirin, French Fries, Apples, Plums, Cherries, Hard-Boiled Eggs, Beans, etc. Kind of a goofy question, I know.

What kind of grapes do you use?
I use the basic Red Grapes in your everyday grocery store. The grapes are really purple but they are sold as red. All grapes, for flight purposes, should always be as perfectly round as possible, especially for building drops. Any oblong grape will fly all over the place because at 40-60 mph, it will be very unstable directionally and, of course, that is the key to catching it. All grapes are seedless! Any grape with even a small pit will sting you a little because of the added weight to it. Remember, pain is bad in this sport.

Why are grapes the catching item of choice?
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the category is called Speed Grape Catching and they are very strict to make sure you comply with the rules so that everybody is on the same playing field and has an equal chance at breaking whichever record they choose. I know of no other record in the book at pertains to any other type of catching things with the mouth other than grapes.

What's your next goal?
1. I want to catch 70 grapes in a minute for the Speed Catching category
2. The holy grail of grape catching – catching a grape from the top of the Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas (over 900 feet)
3. Get the record for catching a grape from an aircraft
4. Get the Throw-Run-Catch record (self explanatory but hard to explain if that makes any sense)
5. Set up any of the grape catching events as fundraiser
6. Obtain company sponsorships
7. Continue To Have Fun!