Dominerds Become Domino Masters
Alex and Derek Koops recently competed and won first place in Fox’s first Domino Masters challenge. While they wowed everyone with their creative builds and impressive engineering, their story starts far earlier and far less impressive.
The brothers began building dominoes over ten years before participating in the domino challenge. They began on a much smaller scale, inspired by an episode of America’s Got Talent. Alex and Derek used jenga blocks and popsicle sticks to create domino sets in their parents’ house. Over time, their collection of dominoes and [accessories?] grew -- along with their skills.
Alex and Derek began recording and posting YouTube videos of their domino topples on their channel, DaksDominos. They had several viral videos, including a video themed around Dude Perfect, which spiked the channel’s popularity and subscriber count. Now, DaksDominos is a
verified account with 200,000 subscribers and over 40,000,000 total views.
Building dominoes has given Alex and Derek several opportunities, even some paid events. Most recently, their competition in the Fox Domino Masters Challenge. Fox found the brothers through their YouTube channel and thought they would be a great fit. Before they knew it, Alex and Derek were on their way to L.A. for shooting.
Along with another teammate from Massechusets, Alex and Derek competed against 15 other teams in the Domino Masters series. Although the competition was fierce, the teams had many opportunities to get to know each other during lunch breaks or at the hotel. The camaraderie between the teams was one of the best parts of the competition, according to the brothers.
The television series was a completely new experience for Alex and Derek. Episodes took three days to film, which included 16 hours of building. After so much planning, watching the final topple was extremely rewarding. The brothers were also impressed by the huge collection of dominoes and other gadgets/tools/accessories available.
For them, the most important thing about building dominoes is having fun. Builds can be challenging, especially after making mistakes. Alex and Derek encourage those who want to start building to keep working, even with mistakes. It’s supposed to be fun! Domino building is a mixture of engineering and art, and it’s about pushing the boundaries and experimenting with new things.
Their education at Dordt has had an impact on how they view building and their business.
“I’m a business major, and there’s definitely a business side to our YouTube videos and creating projects for companies as well,” says Alex.
“I think one of the reasons why digital media captured my attention was because I was making this kind of stuff before I came to college,” Derek adds. “Being involved in that medium got me interested in doing that at Dordt.”