Allen Waite has been playing the pogocello for nearly 50 years. Four years ago Waite was having repair issues, so he took matters into his own hands.
"I was having problems getting the parts and pieces, said Waite. The ones that I had from the people we bought them from to start with, and I just decided since it was a problem, why not make them?"
And that's what he did. However, what started off as a hobby has turned into a business.
Waite has sold more than 200 pogocellos since 2005 on his Web site www.partyfiddle.com . With the exception of the bells and holder, every part of the instrument is handmade.
Waite has sold pogocellos across the country as far as Disney Land in California. However, most of them stay right here in the U.P. and northern Wisconsin, like the one played at Polly's Underground Pub in Iron Mountain. Owner Polly Rankin entertains her customers with her pogocello nightly.
"Everybody liked it, so every time people come in they want me to play it and they play that Dixie Chicks' song, said Rankin. I have to stop what I'm doing--I don't care if I'm 10 deep at the bar--and play it for them."
As a lifelong pogocello player, Waite said he enjoys the process of designing the instrument. However, he will always be a player at heart.
"I enjoy it, he said. Most of it's done probably with a beer in you, or two, and you can get a party going in a heartbeat with a couple of people playing these things."