With world record secure, Tankersly setting his sights on late night Television PDF Print E-mail

Whether it’s playing spoons on the street in order to garner a spot on the the 1980s hit television show “Hee Haw” or organizing enough people in the small town of Pekin to break a world record, Steve “Spoon man” Tankersly has never met a mountain he couldn’t or wasn’t willing to climb.


Now Tankersly has turned his attention to taking the world record to late night television and seems confident that he will make that happen, too.
Tankersly, along with help from his daughter Jasemine and sons Dennis and Dalton, were part of the 1,352 people who gathered in Pekin Park on July 4, 2011 and broke the Guinness World Record for largest spoon ensemble.
The record, which eclipsed the previous mark of 888 set by China, recently became official as Tankersly received the certificate from Guinness. Pekin’s spot in the 2013 World Book of Records has also been secured with the breaking of the record.
Tankersly has been making his rounds and showing off the certificate.
“Everyone who was there that day and took part in it, has a common thread to this record,” he said. “It’s something to be proud of.”
That Indiana pride is why the first late-night personality Tankersly reached out to was the Hoosier state’s own David Letterman.
“I like a challenge,” he said. “I am going to keep after it until I get what I want!”
If Letterman declines, Tankersly said there are other late shows out there and he is confident one of them would love to hear his story and the story of how the Town of Pekin took a world record from China.
“That’s a big deal because their government can make them play and they have to do it,” he said.
Tankersly said he joked in his conversation with Letterman that, “we broke their record with the spoons they made.”
The record has already garnered national attention for Tankersly and Pekin. He said he has done a couple of radio shows. One being broadcast in Hong Kong China before breaking their record and another to Canada, which attempted to break the record set in Pekin.
“They asked me if I had anything to say to the people of China,” he said. “I said, ‘I’d like to congratulate them on silver because I am planning on taking that gold from them in Pekin Indiana today.’ I did add that we beat their record with their spoons.”
The group in Alberta Canada attempted to break the record just a short time after it was set in Pekin.
Tankersly said he did a radio interview there leading up to their attempt.
“I wished them luck and then said, ‘I hope it rains and storms and you don’t have nobody show up!’” he said. “That was on Friday, and Sunday she called me and said our record was safe, because it stormed up there while they were trying to break the record.”
The only thing that matches Tankersly’s level of enthusiasm is his friendly nature.
He never seems to forget a face or meet a stranger.
In fact, many feel like he is the only person who could have pulled off the world record feat last summer.
One of those people is his daughter Jasemine, who started playing spoons when she was three. She said growing up with Steve was never boring.
“He really is amazing,” she said. “People are always telling me that he is one of a kind. I tell them they are not telling me something I don’t know. There is never a dull moment in our lives. If anybody could have pulled it off, it’s him.”
Steve was quick to defer the credit. He said David Carty, Phillip Collier, Renee Batt, Rhonda Burnett and Alice Barton played big roles. He gave the biggest amount of credit to the people who showed up.
“The record couldn’t have been broken without 1,351 more people,” he said. “They are world champions just as much as any of us are. It couldn’t have happened without those people.”
The idea to break the world record came to Tankersly and his family after they had success doing a workshop at the Indiana Arts and Crafts Festival at Patoka Lake.
“We gave them the basic fundamental lesson of playing spoons,” he said. “It was so easy and we had a blast doing it.”
Jasemine said she was surprised at how quick people caught on to the basics.
“We started with about 30-35 people in the workshop and then we got the band going and next thing you know they started flocking in,” Jasemine said. “We gave them the spoons and about 30 minutes later they were playing the spoons.
“We figured if we could they could do it, there was really no limit.”
Steve said a discussion with Phillip Collier led to a google search for the record and after running the idea past the Pekin Community Betterment Organization, the Tankersleys decided to make the attempt in Pekin as part of the Fourth of July Celebration. 
The only concern, besides having enough people show up, was the time. Tankersley only had a half an hour to teach that many people how to play.
“Dennis and Jasemine taught them how to hold the spoons after they registered for the Guinness people,” Steve said. “Man it worked out fine!”
The people weren’t just playing, Tankersly said they were playing well.
“I was impressed,” he said. “They were in time, they were in unison. We told them not to pay attention to us. They had to play for five minutes. We didn’t tell anybody that. We just told them to play until the song is over. You could tell in the last 10 or 15 seconds they were getting tired.”
The Tankersly family has decided to keep the record where it is, unless someone else breaks the record again.
“As far as the record, we’ve had several people who want to do it again,” Steve said. “People had such a good time they stayed and it was good for the festival. I don’t see no sense in breaking our own record. I think we will lay back and wait in the bush because those 1,300 people will come back and bring a lot of people with them. They told me they would. We might get 4,000 or 5,000 people. It’d be alright to do it every year, but we need someone to beat us and give me a reason to get excited. When I want something, I go after it.”
If you don’t believe him, just check with the people from China, Canada and the Guinness World Record book.