Mr. yo-yo: West Middle student facing 200 others in competition

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 27, 2012

By Sarah Campbell
SALISBURY — Watching 13-year-old Adam Reeder sling, flip and whip a yo-yo through the air and across his fingers is a hypnotic experience.
The West Rowan Middle School student does tricks with such ease that it’s hard to believe he picked up the hobby less than three years ago on a whim.
Reeder, a Salisbury resident, decided to try out the pastime after a professional yo-yo artist visited his school.
But that initial enthusiasm wore off and he put down the yo-yo for while until he met Daniel Lattimore at Eaman Park Pool, where Lattimore works as a lifeguard.
Lattimore, 24, practices a type of yo-yoing called counter weight, which means the yo-yo is connected to a weight rather than his finger. He’s been yo-yoing for as long as Reeder’s been alive.
“I got into it back in ’97 or ’98 when it was a fad, and when it kind of faded away I just kept it up,” he said.
Although Reeder does a different style of yo-yoing called Single A, which involves a standard yo-yo doing string tricks, wraps and whips, he’s learned some things from Lattimore.
“He’s even taught me a lot of stuff too,” said Lattimore, who works as a teacher assistant at Koontz Elementary School during the year. “It’s almost like a back-and-forth sort of thing.”
Reeder taught himself how to yo-yo through tutorials on the website and by watching YouTube videos.
“It’s been pretty cool to see how quickly he picked it up, because I remember a couple of summers ago he had just started messing around with yo-yoing,” said Lattimore. “It wasn’t long before he was doing tricks and combinations that I hadn’t even learned yet.”
Reeder will take his skills to Orlando Fla. next week to compete with 200 others for the title of World Yo-Yo Champion. People will travel from 22 countries for the event, which begins Thursday and wraps up Saturday.
He’ll have a minute to wow the judges with his yo-yo moves to the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ song “By the Way.” The field will be narrowed to semifinalists and finalists before a victor is named.
That’s why Reeder has increased his practice time from the typical one hour each day.
“I practice quite a bit more, about two or three hours a day, just trying to create a routine for it,” he said.
Reeder has about 13 full size yo-yos, which he stores in a Duncan Yo-Yo case that he’s customized to meet his needs.
He adds a new one to his collection about every three months, deciding between metal, plastic or a hybrid of the two depending on which tricks he’s working on.
Sara Reeder, Adam’s mother, said his case isn’t the only thing he’s personalized.
“Adam modifies his yo-yos,” she said. “He takes them apart and puts them back together in different ways to design his own yo-yos.
“It’s a lot more in-depth than just doing tricks.”
Although Reeder enjoys learning new tricks, especially those done by his idol Andre Boulay, a yo-yo master and teacher, he also likes to create his own.
“I came up with the majority of the tricks I do,” he said.
Reeder’s favorite trick, called the ladder escape, is so difficult it’s described in three different parts on the Yo-Yo Expert website.
“I like the complexity of the trick, and it just looks cool in my opinion,” he said.
Yo-yoing hasn’t always come easy to Reeder.
“Some of the tricks were kind of frustrating because I would mess up a lot,” he said. “But I just kept practicing until I got it correct.”
That determination has impressed Lattimore.
“Adam has a lot of motivation,” he said. “He keeps that by learning new combinations and tricks. He just keeps going at it.”
Sara Reeder said between yo-yoing and being part of Boy Scout Troop 443 at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Adam’s never bored.
“It’s great to see your child succeed in something he practices for hours on end,” she said. “It’s really wonderful because it’s his thing.”
It’s also been refreshing for Sara Reeder to see her son conquer a sport that’s a bit outside the box.
“It’s not soccer or softball or baseball,” she said. “It’s a great sport that doesn’t cost a lot of money because you don’t have to have a $100 yo-yo, you can have a $10 one.”
Adam’s father, Mike Reeder, will accompany him to Florida for the competition. Lattimore and Adam’s friend, Eric Shyu, who also yo-yos, will also tag along to lend their support.
Between the four of them, yo-yos will likely be swinging to the Sunshine State and back.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.