His father was an Elvis impersonator, a ventriloquist, a magician, and an escape artist; his brother goes by “Patches the Clown.”
Richy Roy has performance – and extravagance – in his blood.
“If we did a giant minion we could have one person standing in one leg, one person standing in the other leg and then we could use poles to move the arms,” he theorized.
Roy is Weyburn, Saskatchewan’s balloon wizard.
The professional balloon twister has been twisting professionally for the past 15 years, but he got his first start at the tender age of nine.
“This was actually my very first job. Nine years old, I was working at McDonalds and they would bring me in for kid’s birthday parties. I was too young to be on the payroll, so they paid me in free Happy Meal tickets,” he laughed.
“I fell off the map a bit and then probably when I was about 21 is when I started doing this, trying to make a full-time go at it,” Roy said.
A magician, and a DJ as well, Roy has a personality as eclectic – and as large – as his creations.
And his latest is larger than life.
With the help of his brother Preston, he’s trying to break the record for the biggest balloon costume.
“I think the previous one in the World Guinness Book of Records is nine feet tall, so we said let’s double it!”
The pair plan to show off their giant balloon minion at the Weyburn parade, on July 2.
“Since we live in small town Saskatchewan most people don’t get to see that because they don’t get the entertainers coming in from the big cities, so I said ‘Why can’t I do that for all my home folks right now?’”
Roy travels across Western Canada performing and making balloon sculptures, but there’s something special about creating a piece for his hometown.
“It was kind of a bucket list thing, having something in the parade that’s going to be the best float that everyone is going to rave about and talk about for years to come.”
His inspiration came from the Macy’s parade, and the giant animals that float above it.
After that, it was just about bringing his idea to life.
“We sat down, we took a minion toy and we measured the minion toy for all the dimensions and then we replicated that, well expanded on it to be about 20 times larger, and it turned out to be that we needed 1,800 balloons and about a week to put it all together,” Roy noted.
So far he’s twelve hours in and about one-third complete.
“This is the very monotonous part of it, because it’s just tying and blowing up and looping and tying,” Roy said standing over a large ring of yellow balloons; the beginning of the minion’s body.
“When I make a cool balloon sculpture, and give it to a child and their face lights up, it’s like nothing else in the world. Nothing is better than that.”
Although he isn’t sure how large their creation will wind up being – the current estimate is between 13 and 16 feet – he knows that his biggest undertaking so far, has been one of his best.
“We’re trying to break the stigma of a balloon twister just making a puppy dog because that’s not what it is anymore. There’s so many cool things you can do with latex that people have never seen.”