- The Washington Times - Friday, March 7, 2014

This year’s CPAC features big-name speakers and outsized personalities, but none loom larger than “Ronald Reagan” and “Lady Liberty,” the two tallest guests at the biggest annual conservative convention.

Standing at 14 feet and 9 feet tall respectively, Ronald Reagan and Lady Liberty are two larger-than-life stilt-walkers mingling among the crowds at the Gaylord National Hotel in National Harbor.

“We’re here to bring entertainment and liven up the crowd, and the speakers,” said Maria Kent who plays the star-spangled symbol of liberty.

“We’re here to make it not so conservative, if you will,” Joshua Longshore, who plays Reagan, joked.

Ms. Kent and Mr. Longshore, traveled from New York City to dazzle the crowds at their first CPAC convention.

“I’ll be honest, my first experience yesterday, as Ronald Reagan, everyone freaked out, came out and there was a line, CNN and everyone was there,” Mr. Longshore said.

Both performers were contracted through a New York City-based company, NYC Stilts. Mr. Longshore has been on stilts for ten years and taught himself how to stilt-walk in high school. Ms. Kent has been stilt-walking for five years.

“You can’t be scared of heights,” Mr. Longshore said. “That’s the first thing you learn when you’re on stilts, you’ve either got it or you don’t.”

Although both performers are trained professionals, they have faced different challenges during their days at CPAC, which include five 30-minute sets.

However, they take each surprise in stride.

“Our costume is very long, and I’ve never walked on what’s called six pegs, which are the max on stilts,” Mr. Longshore admitted. “So it’s been an endeavor for me, but I love it. It’s great being this tall up.”

While throngs of conservatives clamored the performers for pictures, including Daniel Schneider, president of the American Conservative Union, the performers kept their personal political views to themselves.

“My character is very conservative,” Mr. Longshore said, smiling.

 “As is mine,” Ms. Kent added.


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