CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Serious jugglers often find themselves correcting a slew of misconceptions:
That the activity is only meant for coordinated people with the utmost mental focus and discipline; that becoming a decent juggler means hours upon hours of practice; that all good jugglers fall into the demographic of middle-aged men.
Rachel Leshikar, 14, of Kennewick, spends most of her time shattering that last notion.
As a professional juggler for about five years, Leshikar has gotten good enough to perform next to jugglers who have been involved in the hobby for more than 50 years, and it all started at the Juggling and Unicycling Festival in Corvallis.
The festival, directed by David Sallee, recently brought jugglers from all over the region to McAlexander Fieldhouse on the Oregon State University campus for a weekend of workshops and performances.
The event is held by the Pacific Northwest Juggling Convention.
Participants spend a lot of their time practicing, learning new passing patterns and, in Leshikar's case, teaching others her own trick -- Rachel's Rainbow.
"I like juggling with other people," she said. "When you mess around and combine tricks with others, you get new ones."