Last Weekend, over 100 of the world's elite Yo-Yo champions gathered on Pier 17 at South Street Seaport in New York City to compete in the 2nd Annual International Yo-Yo open and New York State competition. Organized by YoYo Nation (www.yoyonation.com), this fun event displays some amazing eye-popping yo-yoing techniques.
Thousands of spectators attending this free event, spending the day watching the competitions, listening to live music and browsing for Yo-Yo related items, including collectible Yo-Yo's costing as much as $250 USD. At the end of the day they were treated to a live performance by popular Japanese action-punk group, Peelander Z.
The competition is divided into two categories - Single A and X Division. The Single A event is a structured competition, where every competitor gets to perform a set of pre-determined Yo-Yo tricks, using a single string Yo-Yo.
The X Division has no structure, but competitors have to be really creative, since it is considered an advanced competition where basic Yo-Yo tricks will earn no points.
However, the technical difficulty of the tricks is just one aspect of judging - over a third of the points are allocated to entertaining the audience - which means boring competitors cannot win! This year, the winners from both categories were competitors from Japan.
Yo-Yo's are one of the oldest toys and have been found in ancient civilizations dating as far back 400-500 BC. Even 'Napoleon the Great' of France, played with one, when he was young!
The first known commercial production of this popular toy did not however begin until 1920 in Santa Barbara, California. Since then the popularity of Yo-Yos has surged and abated many times. Lately it seems to be on an upswing again, judging from the number of competitions being held all over the world.
While today's Yo-Yo looks very similar to the first one ever manufactured, as you will see from the video, the tricks have become much more sophisticated. For more fun info on the Yo-Yo check out www.yoyonation.com and www.theyoyomuseum.com.