RUMFORD – Ring 362 of the International Brotherhood of Magicians based in Bangor, Maine, will host the third annual Elliott Card Challenge at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 20, in the lobby of the Hotel Harris.

Any member of the I.B.M. may compete in the contest, which is open to the public free of charge.

The contest honors Rumford native son James William Elliott (1874-1920), who publicly challenged the world to compete in a contest of card manipulative skill. For the 22 years that he offered this public challenge, no one ever took him up on his offer, allowing him to remain the Champion Card Manipulator of the World, “The King of Kards.”

Elliott’s magical skill was not confined to the card table. He largely abandoned a medical practice in Boston to tour for five years as a stage magician with the Leroy, Talma and Bosco show when the original Bosco retired due to failing health. Elliott also wowed Houdini with his card skill. Houdini, never known for his modesty, declared Elliott to be his peer in skill at cards. Houdini edited Elliott’s notes into a book published after Elliott’s death.

To recognize Elliott’s contribution to magic, Ring 362 of the I.B.M. and Assembly 174 of the Society of American Magicians jointly proclaimed Rumford as Maine’s Capital of Magic in a public presentation in April 2007.

The Elliott Card Challenge honors Elliott’s skill at sleight of hand by presenting contestants with a unique challenge. Each contestant will be given a new deck of undisclosed design and will have up to 10 minutes to perform card magic. The winner will be chosen by a vote of all the magicians present. Contestants will be judged on skill, presentation, difficulty and other criteria.

This year, the contest will feature a formidable contestant: Tom Craven, who writes a monthly column for the The Linking Ring, a magazine sent to more than 15,000 members of the I.B.M. around the world.

Craven will give a lecture for magicians only at another location in Rumford following the contest. Local magician and historian Scot Grassette will be the master of ceremonies.

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