Ketchmark has an international magic touch

Named one of five in US to international stage magic organization

Courtesy of Trent James Ketchmark

Charlie Connelly, Staff Reporter

Every RB student eventually confronts this question:  what will I do with the rest of my life?  While many may not even know where to begin, RB Senior Trent James (TJ) Ketchmark has found the question an easy one, and one that did not arrive to him “out of thin air.”

In July, Ketchmark, a Brookfield native and local magician, competed at the North American Championships of Magic in St. Louis, and there, he qualified for membership in the Fédération Internationale des Sociétés Magique (FISM).  FISM is an international body whose mission includes bringing together the world’s leading magic societies.  Those in the know consider making it into FISM like the “Olympics” of magic.  Ketchmark competed against 30 other magicians in the category of stage magic (as opposed to close-up magic).

To qualify, Ketchmark’s score needed to reach the standard that FISM judges determined before the preliminaries.  Ultimately, TJ and five others were selected to represent the United States at FISM.

“It’s definitely something that I’ve looked up to, people that have won, qualified, or performed at FISM and it’s kind of cool to actually be there now,” Ketchmark said,” It definitely means a lot, because it’s not something that everyone gets. It’s a lot of hard work that has gone into it; I’m sure the same goes for all the other competitors as well.”

Ketchmark is the youngest to represent the United States at 17 years of age and to his knowledge may be the youngest to have ever qualified for this event. His fellow nominees come from all across the country and range from the ages of 25 to 55.

With such determination and ambition encompassing Ketchmark’s persona, he does not want magic to just be a hobby. For Trent, this passion is far more than fun and games, and he absolutely believes that this will be a career for him immediately following high school. While many of his peers are eyeing education at the collegiate level, Ketchmark is certain that college is not the be-all-end-all of success.

“It’s one of those things that are just kind of, you know ‘Where are you going after high school?’ Well that doesn’t necessarily mean that I have to go to college. I definitely know that I want to do this [a career in magic] and I’m going to see where I am towards the end of the year. I’m going to take some classes at least, but I don’t think that college is for everyone and I don’t think that it’s for me. I want to do my own thing,” he said.

Ideally, Ketchmark indicated that he would love to work on cruise ships as a headline act, but the main goal is to one day be hired to do his own show somewhere, much like the shows presented on the Las Vegas strip, where it is a full year contracted commitment. Having never worked on a cruise ship, only having seen the enormous crowds, TJ believes that it could be an exciting opportunity, one in which he could envision himself enjoying getting up for every single day.

The FISM event is next July, and although Trent is extremely honored to be receiving this award, he is still unsure whether or not he will be attending the event.

“This coming year FISM will be held in Italy, and it’s a lot of money. Whether I attend or not will simply be decided closer to the event, and right now it’s more of a money thing than anything. Just the fact that I got accepted is pretty cool to me. I definitely think that it would be a cool experience, but at the same time, I have time to do it again,” he said.

Regardless, Ketchmark is excited about the opportunities and sees no end in sight.

“I want to do this. This isn’t something I see myself giving up on anytime soon, it’s been a lot of fun so far and I figure ‘Why stop now?’,” he said.