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The History of Barrel Roll Man

For the past five years, Andrew Tessier the face behind The Barrelrollman Organization, has been attracting attention around the world by doing forward rolls in such places as the Great Wall of China, the Statue of Liberty and the Sistine Chapel to raise funds for children in need. What started as an inside joke and a party stunt between Tessier and his brothers, Steve and Michael, has grown into an extremely creative way to bring people together to benefit a worthy cause. In 2003, we entered a beer drinking contest in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. My brother Steve beat us and all of the other contestants in no time. After this, he was forced to compete against the bartender. The bartender had no idea what was coming and Steve won the beer drinking contest. Unfortunately, the DJ of the bar claimed the bartender won (the owners cheated) so my brother Steve was declared the loser which was promptly announced over the loud speaker of the bar we were in. With that, the owners told Steve he had to jump into the ocean with his clothes on. Not even hesitating, Steve jumped off the balcony and ran out into the surf and did a front flip into the surf of the ocean that night. It was incredible and we just happened to be recording the entire event with a video camera.

A few years later, my brother Michael and I returned home from a night out and decided to play some video games. On November 20th, 2007 a video game for the PlayStation 3 was released called "Uncharted". In it, you are an ‘Indiana Jones' type character on the trail of long lost treasure. People are constantly chasing you through jungles and caves and whatever else. While controlling the character, you can press the Circle (O) button on the controller and make the main character, ‘Nathan Drake’, "Roll". This makes him dodge gun-fire, pick-up ammo faster etc. As Michael continually pressed the Circle button making the character roll and roll and roll I thought back on Steve's "flip-roll" into the ocean, and with that, I somersaulted through the room. Michael and I shared many laughs that night as we thought back on our brother’s "flip-roll" into the ocean.

The concept for the website came together at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler, BC, Canada, when Andrew somersaulted in front of the stage of a band as they were finishing their set, encouraging an encore. The French Biathalon Team approached us, asked us what we were doing and we explained that we just somersaulted in random places to get attention or to get a crowd going. They told us if we didn't have a website they would start one and with that, Michael said ‘Well you can’t start a website, because this is the Barrelrollman and he already has one in the works,’ and pointed at me. We had a few random videos that we put together for a website which launched in April of 2010. The thought behind the website was to put funny videos of us rolling around the world and find a good charity to benefit - the Nurses For Newborns Foundation. The combined resources of the Barrelrollman website, www.barrelrollman.org, and the power of Facebook and Twitter quickly gained the organization thousands of fans who buy merchandise and contribute to the Nurses for Newborns Foundation. The website includes a number of videos showing Tessier and others somersaulting in locations across the globe.

Our video work, is strictly guerilla style. Whoever is traveling with our group or even random strangers have helped in filming our videos. For large-scale video events, like the annual Barrelrollman Roll Off, we use St. Louis-based Lantern Creek Productions. Their PR Director is their sister and their website developer is a friend, Mike Medler. Promotional videos are created by Andrew and another friend Robert T Butz and the graphics and logos were developed by artists, Paige Pedersen and Kelcey Towell. We feature hard rock (AC/DC) over most of our videos because we believe their attitude exemplifies our attitude of always rocking and rolling and we rely on volunteers to help at our large events, selling merchandise, pumping up the crowd and collecting donations.

On August 18, 2012, the 2nd Annual Barrelrollman Roll Off took place at Art Hill in Forest Park. In addition to raising funds for Nurses for Newborns, the annual Roll Off was also an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for Most People to Simultaneously Somersault (835, set in Switzerland in 2011). Though the August event in St. Louis fell short of the world record by approximately 100 people, the Barrelrollman Organization did raise approximately $1700. At the 3rd Annual Roll Off in 2013 in St. Louis, they will attempt once again to set a new world record. "Nurses for Newborns is thrilled to be the beneficiary of the Barrelrollman Organization events. Saving babies and strengthening families has always been our goal. It’s by working together that we can truly make a difference," says Claire Devoto, development director for Nurses for Newborns, and a childhood friend of Tessier’s. The Barrelrollman Organization has raised approximately $10k for Nurses for Newborns in three years. The Nurses for Newborns Foundation exists to provide a safety net for families most at-risk in order to prevent infant mortality, child abuse and neglect by providing in-home nursing visits which promote healthcare, education, and positive parenting skills. Nurses for Newborns Foundation provides services to babies who are born with medical problems, born to teen moms or born to mothers with disabilities/mental health concerns, or who are born into families who do not have money for even basic necessities. Tessier has rolled in many locations around the world, including the Forbidden City in Beijing, the Rocca di Montalcino Fortress in Tuscany, the Drottningholm Palace in Sweden, the Horse Racing Tracks of Hong Kong, Notre Dame Cathedral in France, and at the Casino de Monte Carlo, Monaco. He would love to host events at Red Square in Moscow, the Taj Mahal in Agra, India or around the Great Sphinx of Giza amongst the Pyramids.

The Barrelrollman Organization short-term goal is to crush the Guinness World Record for Most People to Simultaneously Somersault in 2013 in St. Louis. The next goal is to set a new Guinness World Record for the Most People to Simultaneously Somersault on all of the continents. We will stream this event live for people to watch and we are also in pre-production on the Barrelrollman video game for iOS and Android. Take your favorite video games you played as a kid and imagine all of the best parts incorporated into one game. "Sonic the Hedgehog" meets "Super Mario Bros." meets "Tiny Wings" meets "Smash TV". Another friend of Andrew’s, Ryan Hamilton is helping to code the game through BlakGold Innovative (www.blakgold.com). We'll have more on the game next year! 2013 is shaping up to be a huge year for the Barrelrollman Organization and we look forward to rolling with you in our next video! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see where we’ll be rolling next and maybe you could join the action! Punch it!

Follow the Barrelrollman Organization’s journey on Twitter: @barrelrollman or Facebook: www.facebook.com/barrelrollman