BanjoOur Featured Athlete is bridging the gap between triathlon and competitive banjo tossing. You may recognize Benjamin Kessel as Brooklyn Folk Festival’s 2013 banjo tossing champion. Ben tossed his banjo a record-breaking 74 feet into the Gowanus Canal — wining a new one, of course. We asked Ben a couple of questions about his talent and how it has prepared him to take on the Hudson!

1) How did you discover this talent?
Through frustrations in practicing the banjo. (Note to self- have a banjo for playing, and also a SEPARATE one for just throwing.)

2) How has this victory changed your day-to-day life?
It has allowed me to look at the banjo through two lenses. One, from a musical background where I can play something that I’m passionate about. Two, from a triathlete’s eye where I can put my physical “all” into it and feel the burn!

3) How similar are triathlon and banjo tossing?
Well, right before the toss I did a three-hour Brick…sooo, somewhat similar? They both require a strong recruitment of core muscles and also involve land and water (Banjo is thrown into Gowanus Canal), which means the terrain is the same. But that’s about it!

4) What leg of the triathlon prepared you the most for the banjo toss?
Definitely the run. It’s the only leg where you stand upright! But if I were to fall into the Canal, then it would have to be the swim.

5) Who/what is your inspiration?
I’m inspired by all of the prospective musician/athlete hybrids out there. Musicians, break those stereotypes of being lazy and inactive! Triathletes, show the world your other talents (I mean is three sports combined into one too much?!) and express yourself through the arts!