Did you just say “Skin the Gerbil”?

Author Takeshi Kamisato is  the organizer of the Indiana State Yo-Yo Contest and a Duncan Yo-Yo Professional

Shoot the moon, sword and shield, split the atom, milk the cow, skin the gerbil … to most people these phrases are random and very strange, but they are an essential part of the modern day yo-yo player’s vocabulary. They are all names of standard tricks in today’s crazy world of new school yo-yoing.

The first yo-yo boom started in Chicago back in the early 1930s when Donald F. Duncan, founder of Duncan Yo-Yos, teamed up with newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst. They promoted and ran yo-yo contests throughout the city. They took this campaign nationwide and professional demonstrators were scattered across the country. And just like that, America’s love for the yo-yo was born.

In the mid-1990s, the popularity of the ball-bearing yo-yo skyrocketed and pushed yo-yo play to new levels. In 1999, the largest worldwide yo-yo boom in history was in full swing. Advanced yo-yo technology coupled with kids who have no preconceived notions on what a yo-yo could not do created the perfect environment for creativity and trick innovation grew exponentially.

Today, there are five major styles in yo-yoing and more tricks than any human could ever learn. If it has been a while since you have seen someone playing with a yo-yo, then you owe it to yourself to come on down to the 2011 Indiana State Yo-Yo Contest at the Indiana State Museum on April 29 and 30. For detailed information, please visit www.indianastates.newschool101.com.

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