The Fishin' Magicians

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Published on: Oct. 2, 1999

Last revision: Nov. 3, 2010

The minnow family includes how many species of fish worldwide?'"

Dave offers another incorrect answer, eliciting a groan from the audience. Another bobber changes hands. Short then has Janice draw again, and reads her the question.

"When I go fishing with my friend BOB, I notice a round red-and-white thing that BOBS up and down on top of the water that tells BOB when a fish has taken his bait. What is the round red-and-white thing called?"

"A BOBBER!" shouts Janice. The bell rings, the audience laughs and applauds, Dave hands over another bobber.

"The Fishin' Magicians" is an odd name for a stage act. But for Craig and Short, the act is part of a natural evolution, a combination of two things they have loved for a lifetime--fishing and entertaining.

Their careers in magic began in junior high. Their love of fishing started even earlier. Craig, the son of a Baptist minister, still remembers the prayer he said after his first fishing trip when he was 6 years old: "God, thank you for helping me catch three fish and my dad not catch any." But they didn't take a plunge as "Fishin' Magicians" until February 1996.

Lots of people might dream about getting paid to fish or to make others laugh. Few people, though, would dare give up their day jobs in pursuit of such a dream. Steve Craig and Amy Short, though, could testify to the truth of the maxim: "Do what you love, and the money will follow."

Short is reading what will be the last question.

"You can 'dance' it across the top of the water by the light of the moon. It was first whittled from a chunk of broomstick and had the 'blade' of a kitchen spoon attached. The Jitterbug was first sold in what year?"

Dave furrows his brow.

"1934," he says.

"Oh," responds Short, "that's the closest anyone's EVER GOTTEN!"

"But... " says Dave.

"But it's wrong! It's 1937!"

He hands over his last bobber to Janice, and the game is over. Cheered by the audience for his good sportsmanship, Dave waves the plastic comb Short has given him as consolation prize. "A parting gift," she announces.

Amy Short and Steve Craig (a stage name--his last name is actually Penick) are a married couple who live near Nixa, just south of Springfield. They have worked together ever since they have known one another. Initially, though, that was in the field of mental health--Short was an occupational therapist

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