Original World's Fastest Hand Clapper : "Along the Way"

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A Rapid City man is the Original World's Fastest Hand Clapper.
At times his hands are just a blur.
And he's not a one trick pony...

We go "Along the Way" with a guy who knows how to add the extra-- to --ordinary, by using the mundane to entertain.

(We hear Kent French playing the Conga on empty plastic container. )

Kent French, Original World's Fastest Hand Clapper says, "Cause it had a hole in it and they had to replace it and I said I'm taking it. It's awesome."

Kent French spent a lot of years in restaurant management: thus-seeing a conga where others see an ice bucket...

(We hear the sound of Kent playing the drum on the ice bucket.)

A drummer in the Army Band, always focusing on rhythm, and one day noting the inefficiency of common clapping.

Kent French, Original World Champion Hand Clapper says, "Cause people just clap 1 handed, moving their dominant hand into their stationary hand. And so I was doing that and every time that would come back and there was a striking surface and, so why can't this hand get involved. So I came up with this technique, this back and forth technique and then God gave me fast hands. So I put that together with the clapping and it was all history after that."

'That' meaning a lot of practice indeed, trying to set a record for speed. But guess what?

Kent French says, "There wasn't a category for most claps in a minute so I essentially founded that category."

(We hear French clapping his hands.)

Then, March 26th 2003: the first fastest clapper in Guinness records history.

Kent French says, "721 times in a minute which is 12 claps per second but my top speed is about 14 claps per second"

As fast as his clapping hands; suddenly in high demand. Called to the just beginning Jimmy Kimmel Show, a little something he didn't know, he would not only perform but announce the show.

Kent French says, "My kids are at home watching right, and they're like hey that sounds like Dad and my wife's like, 'That's not your father' and then it got to the end, I'm your announcer Kent French, now here's Jimmy Kimmel!"

There was Oprah, and Ellen and Good Morning America. Meeting a lot of stars. Those hands had become his wings.

"I had 3 trips to Tokyo, and then went to Scotland, England, Germany and did the Clapper commercial," French says.

He was not the original Clapper commercial guy, but about 3 years ago, he got his try.

Kent French says,: "And they did it exactly like that old commercial where I had to be in bed (Kent claps) and clap off the lights, or do the Christmas tree."

(We hear the sound of salad tongs being played musically.)

An innovator, and a music maker: salad tongs as castinettes.

(We hear the sound of salad tongs being played musically.)

Using stemware and chopsticks, more rhythmic yet.

(We hear the sound of glassware and a chopstick making music.)

Still clapping faster than the eye can see, is how Mr. French made history.

(We hear French clapping his hands.)

In the past couple years someone broke his record with a different style of clapping. He says he may try to break it.
But says his main claim to fame is his wife, and their nine children.

If you've met someone cool "Along the Way" please call us or e-mail me at stevel@blackhillsfox.com to let me know.