BUCKFIELD – They had known for a few days but kept quiet so they could spring the news on the hometown crowd at the Oddfellow Theater.

Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz have been nominated for a daytime Emmy award for their video that shows two straight-laced lab coat-types dropping Mentos into liters of Diet Coke.

The duo could be the first to win the brand new category, Outstanding Broadband Program – Variety.

“It’s wonderful to have two guys from Buckfield, Maine, competing with Showtime. It speaks to the glory of the Internet,” Grobe said. “The group of nominees is so diverse. What I’m proudest of, we’re not only nominated, we’re the only thing like us nominated.”

They’re up against Showtime’s “Dexter Blood Spatter 101,” Guiding Light’s 70th anniversary celebration by Proctor & Gamble, Discovery Education’s “Icons of Science: Quantum Theory” and “It’s Jerrytime!,” one man’s blog and googly-eyed video outlet.

On Monday, he and Voltz were in New York City accepting two first-of-their-kind Webby awards, a show dubbed the Oscars of the Internet. They’d just learned about their Webby wins for best viral video and people’s choice a month ago when they saw Emmy’s call for submissions.

“We felt like idiots even applying. It was just, well, let’s try and see. The worst thing that happens is nothing,” Grobe said.

But they got it. After they made the surprise announcement during “The Early Evening Show” on Saturday night, “Everyone just hooted and hollered, it was wonderful.”

The Emmys will be held in Los Angeles on June 14.

Voltz, a lawyer and amateur clown, and Grobe, a professional juggler, have had more than 18 million Mentos and Coke-related hits on Eepybird.com.

“It’s a strange and amazing world,” Grobe said.

Two weeks ago they helped set a Guinness Book World Record for the most people popping off Mentos geysers at once with 504 volunteers in Cincinnati, not too far from Mentos’ headquarters.

Performances have taken them all over the world in the past 12 months.

“We both had to scramble to deal with what has rapidly become a 24/7 job,” he said. “It’s been a year with no sleep.”

The pair are looking at other ways to work with Coca-Cola and hope to work out another feat this summer, he said.

By noon on Monday, Town Manager Glen Holmes said the Emmy nod was the talk of the town.

“Everybody knows about it; it’s been a great day,” he said. “We have some very talented people in Buckfield.”

FOR A BOX:

By the numbers

The Extreme Diet Coke and Mentos Experiments

June 3, 2006: Eepybird.com posts original mock-fountain Diet Coke and Mentos clip

6: Number of months planning for that shoot

3: Days of setup

3: Minutes of Mentos-dropping while the camera rolled

9 million: Number of hits on Eepybird.com (maybe another 15 million bootleg hits)

Nearly 4,000: Liters of Diet Coke used at performances over the last year

24,000: Number of Mentos used

FOR ANOTHER BOX

Go and do

See the guys live!

When: Thursday, June 7

Where: Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours at Celebration Barn, 190 Stock Farm Road, Paris (off Route 117)

Who: Age 21 and over, free of charge to members and nonmembers, rain or shine (alcohol being served)

Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz will perform sometime during the 5 to 7 p.m. event

FMI: Contact the chamber, 743-2281


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