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Stuart Johnson, Deseret News
Drew Briney juggles for students at Noah Webster Academy in Orem. Briney is known as the Story Juggler, combining juggling with original storytelling.

SPANISH FORK — Drew Briney can juggle more than his law career, rubber balls, bowling pins, fiery torches and sharp machetes.

He can also juggle Chloe Matthews — a diminutive kindergarten student who attends Noah Webster Academy in Orem, a student who volunteered to help Briney perform recently.

"See, she has four handles. She's easier to hang onto than these balls," Briney told the giggling crowd of schoolchildren as he passed Chloe from arm to arm, all the while keeping several balls in the air.

Briney is the Story Juggler, combining his juggling skills with original storytelling to convey messages of hope and struggle.

He's also a busy attorney with a private practice, father of five and a husband.

He was named Utah's Best Professional Juggler in 2001, juggled for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City and performs locally as well as at international juggling shows.

"When I was 8, I did a little bit, but then I quit," Briney said. "I did the same thing at 16 and a little on my (LDS) mission. In 1999, I started up again to take my mind off law school. I became obsessed.

"It is so fun," he said. "It's the only activity proven to make more brain cells grow. It'll make you better at any other sport. Juggling is awesome."

Today, recovering from an injury to his thumb, Briney performs only upon request. He's on the agenda every year for the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, and he's a regular on the library and school assembly circuit.

He also maintains a Web site where anyone can pick up some of easier tricks: www.jugglingtricksunlimited.com. He believes the art should be shared.

He can juggle three, four, five, six, seven — up to eight balls at a time. He has a routine known as the "stacked fountain" that he created that looks to be logistically impossible.

"I've made up a lot," he said.

He never juggles in the office, however.

"I get too excited and break things," Briney said.

The children watching Briney get excited, too.

They laughed, screamed and gasped as he not only kept balls and pins in the air but deliberately dropped them so he could scold them and create interest.

He slipped balls behind his back and caught them on his head. He put them under his knees and kicked them in the air with his feet. One, he caught under his chin. Another, in his mouth. Balls flew from hand to hand at different speeds and angles as he drove a pretend car, crashed, became excited, depressed and proposed to his lady love.

He told the story of David and Goliath, felling Goliath with a single ball. He juggled between two turned-up chairs, creating an unusual "square" kind of bounce.

He "went to the zoo" to train various imaginary animals to juggle including a seven-armed octopus.

He told the children not to try juggling with machetes unless they were "professional or stupid."

Briney has taught all of his children to juggle, starting when they were toddlers.

"None of them are any good yet," he said. "But the 4-year-old thinks it's the most awesome thing ever."


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