By Peg McRoy
Adding a new depth of excitement to this year’s Hendricks County 4-H Fair is the All-American High Dive Show.
Owned, operated, and produced by American champion high-diver Dana Kuntz, it is a show that appeals to fairgoers of all ages featuring spring-board tower diving, comedy and clown diving, and a human torch dive.
“The All-American High Dive Show is not what you expect to see when you come to the county fair,” said Steve Patterson, executive director of the Hendricks County 4-H Fair. “It is a perfect example of the performances the fair board loves to bring to the Hendricks County 4-H Fair to enhance our visitor experience of this favorite summer tradition.”
Every dive is into a 10-foot pool with about 9 ½ feet of water. The finale of the show is a 75-foot dive into that pool.
“When you hit the water, you are doing about 55 mph so stopping is tricky,” said Kuntz. “We do multiple somersaults coming into the water feet first. You (a diver) tighten your legs up and shoot your arms out to the side. It is like an explosion underneath the water as you stop yourself.”
In the human torch segment a diver wearing a 100% cotton outfit, including socks and gloves, jumps into the pool thoroughly soaking the outfit with water. Then the diver, donning a towel cape soaked in high-test gasoline, climbs to the 30-foot level of the high-dive tower where a welder’s striker awaits.
When the welder’s striker throws a spark onto that high-test gasoline-soaked towel cape, it lights up with a large flame! The diver then dives into the pool leaving a 15–20-foot trail of flames behind as he approaches the water.
“It is a very impressive and crazy looking stunt,” said Kuntz. “But it is actually one of the easier things that we do.”
Kuntz, who is now 62 years old, began diving professionally when he was 13 years old. He was trained by John Tobler, a world record holder, diving off Minnesota bridges into the Mississippi River. He dove off the Cliffs of Acapulco, appeared in ABC Wide World of Sports, NBC Sports World, ESPN, and won eight world championships in high dive. He has won eight world championships in high diving, holding the world record of 172 feet.
“It is an entertaining show that is good, clean, healthy, fun,” said Kuntz. “Come on out and watch the show. We are going to have some fun!”
This seamless show is about 20-25 minutes long and will be performed two times a day, 2 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. during the fair, July 16-22, in the Hendricks Regional Health promenade Pioneer Village.
Ticket, fair, and show information can be found at 4hcomplex.org/events/2023-entertainment.