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Breaking records, inspiring others to do something great

man juggles three balls in front of 'B' statue on campus
David Rush was three hours into his attempt to break the 12-hour record for the longest juggling session when his wife Jennifer, a mechanical engineer at Hewlett-Packard, went into labor with one of the couple’s three children. During his second and third attempts, he dropped a ball around the 11th hour mark. Finally, on his fourth try, he broke the record by juggling for 13 hours and 10 minutes — roughly the same duration as a flight from New York City to Tokyo. Photo by Anabella Antonucci

Records are made to be broken. For Boise State alum David Rush (MBA, 2009) breaking world records is a lifestyle, and a way he’s found to inspire people to achieve their own personal best — whatever that may be.

To date, Rush has broken more than 250 Guinness World Records. The Guinness organization itself described him as a “serial record breaker,” noting that in 2021 he broke 52 records in 52 weeks, or one record a week for an entire year. That included the record for the most marshmallows caught in the mouth with a home-made catapult in one minute (58), the most consecutive ax juggling catches (2,919), and many more.

In 2023, Rush made his second appearance on the television program “America’s Got Talent,” where he enlisted host Howie Mandel to help set the world record for the most consecutive fist bumps in 30 seconds (380, surpassing the previous record of 273).

Setting an example

Rush, who grew up in Boise, earned an electrical engineering degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the help of a Micron scholarship.

College, he said, “expanded my universe, the people I met, the cultures I came across. I loved being surrounded by crazy, well- rounded nerds like myself.”

He returned to Boise after graduating. An interest in business development inspired him to earn his MBA at Boise State where he focused on entrepreneurship. His goal was to work for a Boise startup. So with a persistence that hinted of things to come, Rush called Cradlepoint, a Boise-based wireless tech company, asking about a job every week for eight weeks until the company hired him in 2010 — in the middle of a recession.

“Boise State provided me with all the business knowledge I needed about how to understand marketing, economics and how to apply accounting rules to make money. Combined with the technical knowledge from MIT and constant learning, I did what I could to help Cradlepoint succeed,” Rush said.

He also found a new calling: promoting STEM education through motivational speaking to students, corporations and other groups.

Early lessons

As a child, Rush struggled to get into a gifted program at his school. But he worked hard, focused and eventually got in. That early experience made him want to become a “tangible” example for others of what a person can do when they set their mind on a goal — hence the record setting, something he did for the first time in 2015 by juggling blindfolded for six minutes and 34 seconds.

Cradlepoint CEO George Mulhern said that “growth, achievement and the desire to make a positive contribution” were hallmarks of Rush’s time at the company.

“He had a real impact on our business and now it is great to see the broader impact he is having raising awareness of the importance of STEM education. And of course, setting a few world records along the way.”

Rush left Cradlepoint to pursue motivational speaking full time through the company he founded, Record-Breaker Rush LLC.

In addition to “America’s Got Talent,” he has appeared on the “Today” show, “Ellen” and others. National Public Radio and CNN have covered his accomplishments.

Rush and his family are also avid travelers. They have visited 53 of 63 American national parks with more trips planned.