Object manipulation club: A profile of students playing with fire

Allison Mueller

 Junior Garrett Shaft, object manipulation club member, practices poi. (Photo by Madison Bowe)

Junior Garrett Shaft, object manipulation club member, practices poi. (Photo by Madison Bowe)

Madison Bowe/Winonan

Determination, skill and lots of practice—that is what it takes to spin hoops and perform poi, which is exactly what the object manipulation club is doing.

Poi and spinning are an art and sport combination using props like a hula-hoops to spin fire. Object manipulation was started at Winona State University after senior Kyler Steffe was introduced to the art.

“After my freshman year, I was hanging out with a friend of mine and he said, ‘Hey, want to see fire poi?’ That’s how I really got started with it,” Steffe said.

Members of object manipulation said, even though poi is such a fun thing to participate in, there is a deeper meaning in why they do it.

“We are all so busy with our lives, it’s nice to be able to get out and let go of everything,” senior Corey Mikorski said.

Like most hobbies people are passionate about, the reason the group does it is centered around the internal feeling they get when you partake in it.

“It’s also a huge stress reliever,” Steffe said.

According to sophomore Kacie Stolzman, object manipulation is always looking for new students who want to get involved with the club, which can easily be done.

“I saw them at the club fair and I’d already been hooping by myself for two years, so I signed up,” Stolzman said.

She also talked about the community aspect that accompanies object manipulation.

“It’s nice to have a community to learn new moves from and get support from, and it’s cool to watch,” Stolzman said.

Since the club is not allowed to spin fire within 100 feet of buildings; they usually head to the edges of Lake Winona to put their fire to good use.

If you want to learn more, check out object manipulation in Lourdes Hall room 157 at 6 p.m. Thursday nights.