Bailey Loukinen claims Kendama championship

On Oct. 27-29, local brothers Bailey and Ethan Loukinen competed in the Minnesota Kendama Open held in Minneapolis. Bailey (12th grade) and Ethan (9th grade) are both students at Marquette Senior High School. There were 504 competitors from 31 states and 12 countries competing over four brackets. Bailey and Ethan competed in the same intermediate bracket against 131 others, with Bailey claiming the top prize and bringing the championship home. The MKO is the largest Kendama competition in North America and the second largest in the world — second only to the Kendama World Cup in Hatsukaichi, Japan. The Kendama has origins in Japan dating back to 1777. The Kendama is popular in many parts of the world, but is particularly beloved in Japan, where national tournaments are held. Participation in such competitions entails performing lists of tricks in sequence or completing particular tricks in the shortest amount of time. Pictured from left: Nick Gueldner, who finished third; Jackson Olson, who finished second; and Bailey Loukinen, the champion.