Did you know we have our very own Yo-Yo Yoda in our midst here in Gwinnett?

It’s true; prior to retiring and moving to our county, Mr. Yo-Yo used to travel the country teaching young ‘padawans’ to walk the dog and many other masterful tricks.

When Bob Rule was just 12-years-old, he won a Duncan Yo-Yo contest on a street corner, launching his career as a professional yo-yo-player (yes, those exist!).

Back in the day (i.e. the late 40s/early 50s), yo-yo companies like Duncan would hire people for truly ‘old school’ marketing—sending reps around to grade school playgrounds to demonstrate a few tricks, then spread the word about a contest that night on the street corner. (Okay, okay—we know how this sounds but it really wasn’t that creepy in the 50s, or so we have been assured!) These contests were meant to create not only an awareness of yo-yos, but an enthusiasm and competitive interest in the yo-yo culture.

Bob began doing tricks for other yo-yo company contests, but soon proved himself and was hired by Duncan to run his own show. He claimed the title of “World’s Champion” in 1955 and again in 1960 – but wasn’t the only claimant to the throne. He decided instead to take the title of ‘Mr. Yo-Yo,’ and a legend was born!

Bob toured for Duncan for many years, promoting the art of the yo-yo in Detroit, New Orleans, Puerto Rico and even Canada. He trained three other National Champions and when Duncan folded in 1965, he was the last paid player on the payroll (so we guess you CAN’T really be a pro yo-yo player anymore—darn!).   

After ‘retiring’ from yo-yos…well who are we kidding, Mr. Yo-Yo could never retire from yo-yos! Bob went on to host his own TV show on WSB in Atlanta, form his own yo-yo packaging company, and judge yo-yo competitions all over the country, besides pursue other interests such as slot car racing. He was inducted into the American Yo-Yo Association Hall of Fame, and he even has his own Wiki fanpage!

The yo-yo community is still thriving today with millions of players around the world. The World Championship is held every year in a different country with about 200-300 competitors ‘throwing’ across six to eight different categories. If you think yo-yo is something you might like to give a try, don’t be shy—Bob would love to show you the ropes strings!

For more information on Bob or to check out his personal museum, visit mryoyo.com.

Today you’ll find Mr. Yo-Yo out and about in Gwinnett, especially at the GSPCA or Rotary where he loves to volunteer.