These aren’t your parents’ yo-yos.
In part because of developments in yo-yo technology, a Transcona Collegiate Institute graduate and his wife are looking to start up a yo-yo club out of their West Kildonan toy store.
Vince Gatti and Twyla Motkaluk of Newbridge Toys at 1791 Main St. will hold the first meeting of their brand-new yo-yo club April 14 at 4 p.m. at the store.
Motkaluk explained a new generation of yo-yos helped facilitate a boom in yo-yo performance, highlighted by the World Yo-Yo Contest each summer where competitors perform a routine of different tricks set to music. Modern yo-yos have bearings inside them, and can be adjusted depending on the performer’s needs and ability. She likened the effects of the bearings to how urethane wheels changed skateboarding in the 1970s.
"When you drop it, it’ll spin for ages," she said. "It’ll go back up the string any time you want, if you get better at it than I do.
"That’s what allows for all these crazy tricks."
Motkaluk and Gatti recalled being approached by high-level yo-yo competitor Ann Connolly at the New York Toy Fair in February, and both were enthralled with the performance. They rushed to get more information on the activity.
"They had some neat things, the way it went, and we did some research and found out there were these yo-yo clubs and they had tournaments all over Canada and the States, but not in Winnipeg," said Gatti. "We decided we’d try it, and see what sort of interest there would be."
Motkaluk said yo-yos that would work well for tricks start at $10, so it’s an inexpensive hobby for those interested in trying it out.
"To me, this is the kind of thing that kids that don’t fit in other places could really be attracted to and excel at," she said. "We’re absolutely open to beginners, because we’re all beginners."
Gatti said if members progress, they’d look at entering competitions, or perhaps even holding one of their own in the city.
Motkaluk expects there will probably need to be a nominal fee (likely $5) to attend the club, as she is looking for community centre space that would allow members to work without being clustered together.
Those interested in more information or registering can contact Motkaluk at email@example.com.