Madisonians are totally square

A Rubik’s Cube competition comes to Madison this weekend.

A close up of a Rubik's Cube showing it's green, orange, red, and yellow sides..jpeg

Can you solve a Rubik’s cube in less than ten seconds? Neither can we. | Photo via Wikimedia Commons

If you solve a Rubik’s cube in a flash, sometimes you can get on “Good Morning America.” That’s what happened to Madison native Joshua Feran.

Feran is something of a Rubik’s Cube legend. He has his own YouTube channel. “I used to set state records at almost every competition I went to,” he says. “I was national champion in the clock event two years running.”

Asked about his arch rivals on the cube circuit he says he doesn’t have any, “Just friends.”

Feran’s friends will be at Monona Terrace this weekend for a Midwest Cubing Association competition. Yes, there are national cubing associations. The Midwest organization aims to “help broaden and develop the cubing community.”

The only event of its kind in the Madison area for the foreseeable future, it takes place on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in meeting rooms M and N.

“I really like how accessible it is,” Feran says, whose mother got him his first cube as a kid. “It doesn’t cost a lot and everyone is pretty friendly.”

Zeke Mackay will also be at this weekend’s competition and currently holds a Wisconsin state speed record in cube solving. He concurs. “The prevailing culture among cubers is to support and welcome each other regardless of speed or age.”

A young bearded man is sitting down competing in a Rubik's Cube speed competition.JPG

The Midwest Cubing Association has competitions all over the Midwest. | Photo via Zeke Mackay

The Rubik’s Cube is aged 50. Celebrating its anniversary this year, the 3D combination puzzle was invented by Ernő Rubik, a Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture. Over 450 million cubes have been sold worldwide, making it the world’s bestselling puzzle game.

Feran can solve a cube in less than 10 seconds. He can do it blindfolded in a little over a minute. He can do it one-handed. He once solved it behind his back...while skiing backward. He can do it with his feet.

Mackay’s on equal footing. He says, “Cubers are generally focused on improving their own times rather than competing against another.”

Both encourage Madisonians to visit Monona Terrace this weekend for the event. “It’s fun to watch,” Feran says. “It’s incredible to see how fast those problem solvers are.”