A special visitor stopped by the Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls Sunday to show off a unique set of spinning skills.
“It’s a conversation starter for sure,” said Britton Pankratz, the Yo-Yo Guy.
He has been working on his yo-yoing skills for nearly a decade after his mom found an old Tommy Smothers video and it inspired him to try the unique skill.
“When I started I would spend up to 8 hours a day so I kind of didn’t have a life,” Pankratz said.
But all that time and effort have paid off as he has turned yo-yoing into a career, by performing all over the country and teaching others.
“I always get a little bit of a thrill from showing someone a trick because that’s exactly how I started and if I can get someone to find something that they love as much as I love yo-yoing then that day was worth it for me,” Pankratz said.
He is hoping to inspire those of all ages to pick up a yo-yo and give it a try.
“It has its waves; it comes and goes like everything else, in the 90s there was another one and right when I started in 2007-2008 was another wave but I think there is just so much distraction in today’s world that this is something people kind of overlook,” Pankratz said.
But this yo-yo guy from a small town in Minnesota is making sure it doesn’t go unnoticed and encouraging kids to follow their passion, no matter how different.
“I was made fun of a lot, obviously someone with such a different talent when you are younger, people like to pick you out and make fun of you a little bit so I always put a little blip at the end where I talk to the younger people in the crowd and encourage them to keep pushing on whatever passion they like to do whether it be pogo sticking, juggling unicycling or yo-yoing,” Pankratz said.