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Ben Linder Memorial Award for Inspiration

Every year the Ben Linder Memorial Award for Inspiration is given out to a juggler nominated by festival attendees. It is typically given to a juggler who is present at the event and you must attend the festival to make your nomination. All PJF attendees are encouraged to nominate a the person that inspires them most at the festival

Ben Linder was a Portland juggler and a graduate of University of Washington, who was building a small-scale hydroelectric generator to bring electricity to a remote village of El Cuá in war-torn Nicaragua. Ben often used his circus skills to help others, such as juggling, unicycling, and clowning to bring children into a field clinic for immunization shots. Ben Linder was ambushed and murdered by US-backed Contra forces on April 28, 1987 at the age of 27.

The Portland Juggling Festival created this award, with the support of the Linder family, to keep the memory of Ben Linder alive and honor his spirit of inspiration in the service of community and humanity.

Recipients of The Ben Linder Memorial Award

2023  Scramble James

2022 John Spinosa

2020 & 2021 Exuro Piechocki

2019 Wes Peden and Florence Huet

2018 Anni Küpper

2017 — Maria Thomas

2016Cate “Cate Great! Flaherty

2015Bri Crabtree

2014 — Sisyphus Farms:

      Charlie Brown, and Zephyr Brown

2013David Groth

2012Curtis Carlyle

2011Sarah Liane Foster

2010Bekka Rose

2009 — Circus Conspiracy:

      Matthew “Poki” McCorkle
Brian Thompson

2008Thomas Dietz

2007Clowns Without Borders


2005Nathan Hoover

2004Matt Hall

2003Vova Galchenko and Olga Galchenko

2002Viktor Kee

2001David Lichtenstein

2000 — Masahiro Mizuno

1999Frank Olivier

1998Robert “Butterfly Man” Nelson

1997 — Adam Adler

1996Laura Green

1995 — Jill Westover

1994Rhys Thomas

1993Scott 'Mag' Hughes

1992 — Stuart Celarier

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