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1 in 3000: Nick Bretz brings his magical talents to audiences across the region

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Magician Nick Bretz performs at the East Otter Tail County Fair on Thursday, July 25. (Carter Jones/ FOCUS)

I am a city boy, born and raised in the suburbs of Minneapolis. My entire world changed when I took a job at the Perham Focus as the newspaper's main reporter in December. Now, I am here, in a town of just over 3,000 people, learning what small town living is all about. Perham started surprising me right from the start, and I quickly learned that I don't want to just report what's happening in Perham, I want to report on the people who make this town tick in the most inconspicuous of ways. Some people have a way of always attracting the spotlight, but my “focus” will be on those who quietly go about their day making this community a better place to live. And since this is my new journey, too, and my "city" eyes are fresh, I wanted to document the adventure of discovering what this "Perham pride" thing is all about. Everybody in Perham has a story, unique in their own way … 1 in 3,000.

Meeting Nick ...

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Magician Nick Bretz and I take a selfie on Thursday, July 25th. (Carter Jones/ FOCUS)

Nick Bretz describes himself as having HDADD, or high definition attention deficit.

“I don’t pay attention too often, but when I do it’s amazingly clear,” he said. “When I get into something I get hyper focused.”

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Bretz, or “Imaginick” as he’s known to audiences all over the region, has honed his focus into becoming a professional magician and sixth-degree black belt in Taekwondo.

When Bretz was in elementary school he performed a different magic trick during every show-and-tell. At the end of the school year, his teacher Marlene Johnson gave him a magic book and told him to never stop practicing.

Each time his parents, Jim and Sheri, attended hardware conventions for the family business, Bretz Hardware, they’d always come back with new tricks from Eagle Magic and Joke Store in Minneapolis.

“I sat and practiced, practiced, practiced,” Bretz said while setting up his show at the East Otter Tail County Fair. Bretz kicked off the fair entertainment Thursday, July 25, with a series of interactive shows.

Year after year, Bretz would return to Johnson’s classroom and perform a magic show with the new tricks he’d learned. By the time he graduated from Perham High School, Bretz had won a few talent shows, and got a job at the Lakes Country Dinner Theater.

Even before Bretz begins to demonstrate a card trick for me, his skills at shuffling, cutting and handling a deck of cards is dazzling by itself.

“Some people sit down and eat a bag of chips while watching TV,” he says as the cards rotate around his hands. “I play with cards.”

Bretz took it easy on me, and explained the psychology of his trick as he performed it. Even when I knew what to look for, his sleight of hand skills left me baffled and wanting more.

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With years of experience performing, Bretz is always tweaking his show to what each audience and venue calls for.

Bretz’s style is more comedy magic, so he can instantly tell if the audience likes it or not and updates accordingly.

“Fun fact. Doing a straight jacket at fairs is not good, because you’re out in the hot, cancerous sun and you sweat, which causes more friction,” he said.

While he hasn’t directly merged his martial arts abilities into his magic act, Bretz said the self-discipline of the martial arts carries over into performing magic.

After recently breaking his hand the day before a show, Bretz spent all day in his hotel room practicing.

“I had to figure out what I could do as a one armed magician,” he said.

Bretz most enjoys bringing childlike wonder to the people he meets at each show.

“I have an 8-year-old now, so he’s starting to do magic, it’s just fun,” he said. “Think of the best case scenario, then add a magician to it.”

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Magician Nick Bretz and I take a selfie on Thursday, July 25th. (Carter Jones/ FOCUS)

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