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Check out our Top 5 picks for most important godfathers of the yoyo industry. These people are titans of yoyoing and have each played a major role in making yoyo into what it is today.

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The Top 5 Yoyo Godfathers + Instagram Contest Yoyo Trick
In this video we are going to countdown the top 5 most important godfathers of the yoyo industry. But before we do that we want to remind you that we will be giving the results of our Instagram contest at the end of the video, and launching our next contest where you can win a $25 gift card to the yoyotricks.com store, but before we do that, here’s our top 5 countdown.

For a yoyo man to rise to the rank of yoyo godfather, they have to be widely known and recognized in their own day, as well as having made a lasting impact on the yoyo industry. While these great men are all titans of yoyo and have each played a major role in making yoyo into what it is today, it’s worth mentioning that they are being recognized on our list for their impact on society at large, not just within the yoyo community.

Coming in at number 5 is Dale Oliver. Dale started working as a full time traveling demonstrator for the Duncan Yoyo Company in 1957, and today he is most well known as being one of the four National Yoyo Grand Masters. We recognize him as the Founder of the modern day World yo-yo contest, which he won in 1992, and the originator of freestyle yoyoing where performances are set to music. Also worth mentioning, Dale Oliver is credited with presenting off-string yoyoing to the world, all the way back in the 1950’s.

Coming in at number 4 is Hans Van Dan Elzen, the wizard of yoyo design and demonstration, also known as Yo-Hans. Hans got his start as a yoyo performer during the 90’s as a major player for the now defunct Playmaxx yoyo company. During his heyday in the mid-90’s, Hans toured the world far and wide, inspiring thousands of new players, and even making a huge splash on the UK pop music charts with this awkward cover of The Bangles’ song, “Walk Like an Egyptian,” “Walk (the Dog) like an Egyptian…”

“Walk Like an Egyptian, Walk The Dog Like an Egyptian. All around the world they loop the loop, they walk the dog, then they stop n’ go. Man on trapeze, rock the baby…”

Hans and his Playmaxx team-mate Benny McPhee later went on to start the company we all know and love today, YoYoFactory. Hans was behind the development of prominent YoYoFactory technology like the Fast 201 and Velocity yoyo adjustable response systems, and also hubstacks. Rumor has it, you might even spot the elusive Yo-Hans in person at a yoyo contest if you peek behind the curtain at the YoYoFactory booth. Hans recently broke the Guinness World Record for most inside loops performed in 60 seconds, doing 159 loops at the London Toy Fair.

Up next in the number 3 spot is the big kahuna himself, Mr. Nagao. Now we know what you might be thinking, Evan Nagao is an amazing talent in the modern yoyo world, and the current US National yoyo champion, but what has he done over the course of yoyo history, to earn a spot on this list? Well actually, we aren’t talking about the prodigal son, but his father – Mr. Alan Nagao – Evan’s dad. Before the big yoyo boom of the 1990’s, Alan Nagao was responsible for organizing Team High Performance, or THP –  a high energy, highly choreographed team of traveling yoyo demonstrators who took the world by storm with their fancy teal polo shirts. Yoyo historians point to THP as the most significant driving force in the yoyo boom for the 1990’s, and it never would have come together without Alan Nagao pulling the strings and hosting yoyo training camps in Hawaii to hone their skills. Up through the ranks of THP rose many yoyo professionals who still dominate the sport to this day.

Coming in at number 2 is the one and only, Donald F. Duncan, Sr. Mr. Duncan is recognized by historians as a master of business and marketing, and he is credited with the ideas for Good Humor ice cream trucks, incentivized marketing tactics such as Box-Tops, and to the chagrin of many, the widespread distribution of the Parking Meter. But as the story goes, Duncan simply couldn’t stand the idea of having the general public associate his name with the parking meter, and so instead, he found an emerging toy manufacturer with great potential, bought the company, and renamed it the “Duncan Yoyo Company.” According to history, Duncan devised a marketing scheme where the newspapers would advertise Duncan Yoyo Competitions at no cost to Duncan, and in return, the entry fee for contestants, was just to sell newspaper subscriptions. The newspapers loved the increase in subscriptions, and the paper boys loved yoyoing. The first yoyo boom of the 1930’s took off, and the rest is history. 

Before we get to the top spot on our list, we have an honorable mention which goes to “The Yo Man,” Tommy Smothers. One half of the popular comedy duo known as the Smothers Brothers, who with his brother, Dick, hosted the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour on CBS television in the 1960s, were highly influential figures in the countercultural movement which arose during the Vietnam War era. Tommy later developed “the Yo Man” comedy skit, which later evolved into a widely distributed instructional VHS tape that many people remember fondly.

And last, but certainly not least, the ultimate godfather of yoyoing, it’s the legendary Pedro Flores. As the story goes, it was in the 1920’s when Pedro Flores, a Filipino immigrant living in California, recalled playing with the yoyo as a boy growing up in the Philippines, and was inspired to try his hand at business. Yoyo historians credit Flores with being the first to use looped yoyo string, rather than tying a knot on the axle, which allowed the yoyo to sleep and spin at the end of the string, and opened up a world of tricks to explore.

Flores began manufacturing wooden yoyos in the late 1920s, and had great success selling them on the street while demonstrating tricks. It was on a business trip to California in 1929, when Donald F. Duncan encountered Pedro Flores firsthand and immediately bought the Flores Yoyo Company, turning Flores into a very wealthy man during the great depression. But Flores stuck with the yoyo, and held a very important role as the lead demonstrator for the company. He was responsible for hiring and training the Duncan Yoyo Men, professional demonstrators who were tasked with hosting the Duncan Yoyo Competitions that the newspapers advertised.

These demonstrators, many of whom were Filipino immigrants like Flores, took boxes of yoyos to corner stores and school yards across the country, showing tricks and telling extravagant stories, like the myth that yoyos were used as a weapon in the ancient Philippines, which is just a fun story that was entirely made up by these demonstrators. The widespread acceptance of this fictional story as fact, even today nearly a century later, is a testament to the how effectively these demonstrators brought yoyos to every corner of the United States.

So what are your opinions, did we get it right, or did we miss some of the most important yoyo godfathers of all time? Let us know in the comments below. Of course be sure to subscribe if you want to see more content like this, and learn how to yoyo. Now we turn to Chris to fill us in about the most recent Instagram contest.

The #YoTricksBind Instagram contest is now closed and we have a winner! Congratulations to Lucas Decker who pulled off this behind the head combo with a risky around the neck bind. Check your instagram DMs to claim your prize. Stay tuned at the end of this broadcast for more of our favorite entries.

For next week’s instagram contest, we want you to post a video of a combo including the trick Jake recently taught, Monkey Madness. If you are just learning the trick and want to go for the Seismic Slam combo that Jake demonstrates in the tutorial video, that’s great, but remember, original combos will always score more points. Be sure to use the hashtag #YoTricksMM when you post your trick on Instagram.

For the full list of official contest rules go to YoYoTricks.com/InstaContest. This weeks contest winner will receive a $25 gift card to YoYoTricks.com, and remember, the winner is randomly selected, so even if your video isn’t the best, you still have a shot at winning. And don’t forget, we will be featuring some of our favorite entries at the end of our next weekly yoyo update.

This is Christopher Chunn signing off, asking you, How did the telephone propose to his girlfriend? He gave her a ring…

Tricks You Need To Know To Learn This Yoyo Trick:

Monkey Madness

➞ Go to the Monkey Madness yoyo trick page

Seismic Slam

➞ Go to the Seismic Slam yoyo trick page