By People Staff
February 28, 1977 12:00 PM

Jim Papreck, 26, likes nothing better than to roll out the barrels—so he can jump over them. Last month he beat 14 competitors from the U.S. and Canada in his hometown of Northbrook, Ill. to defend his title as World Barrel-Jumping Champ. For this year’s championship, Jim soared over 16 16-inch barrels (21 feet plus), equaling the record he set in 1975. “A good jump is determined by how close you can come to the first barrel before you take your blades off the ice,” he explains. At that moment he’s traveling an estimated 40 miles an hour. “If you jump nine or 10 barrels you usually finish standing up. But after 12 there’s no way to stay upright.” Though all jumpers are required to wear helmets and padding to protect hips and spine, Jim fractured his wrist when he landed after his winning leap. Luckily, as an employee in the Public Works Department of the Village of Northbrook, he’s covered by insurance, and his $1,000 prize money won’t go for medical bills. Jim hopes that barrel-jumping will be added to the Winter Olympics. “It’s one of the purest sports there is,” he rhapsodizes. “It’s a personal thing, a feeling of accomplishment because there’s no team effort. And besides, it’s fun.”

Cathy Ladany Rutherford’s career as a furniture designer was launched by minor disaster. After getting her degree in art from Occidental College in California, she shipped her collection of acrylic plastic sculptures back home to Chicago. They arrived broken and chipped. With a settlement from the moving company, she bought power tools and supplies and set up her own furniture studio, CLR Designs. It specializes in custom pieces made from acrylic plastic. Working with the client, she first sketches the piece. Then, if it is small, she assembles it herself. The larger items go out to plastics fabricators. Since opening her shop three years ago, Cathy, 26, has designed $200 magazine racks, a $4,500 bed with lighted headboard, a $5,000 pool table and a $1,100 chandelier (below). What she likes most to build are tables. “A table can be as intricate as it is simple,” she explains, “and it includes the challenge of function.” Cathy is hoping a customer someday will order a transparent pipe organ. “There are plastic pianos around but I don’t think anyone has built an organ,” she says. “It could be esthetically beautiful—but the sound might be awful.”