World yoyo games come to Cleveland

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CLEVELAND – The world’s top yoyo tricksters have descended on downtown to show off their skills with the World yoyo contest underway in Cleveland.

The event is drawing an estimated 1,000 players and fans from more than 20 countries. Players were competing for $10,000 in cash prizes in five styles of play ranging from double yoyo looping to off string. The contest began Wednesday at the Renaissance Hotel.

“I’m about to see some of the best players in the world duking it out tomorrow, and I can’t wait for it,” said Vincent Stepien, a yoyo fan from Columbus.

Finals were set for Saturday, when the world yo-yo champ title will be decided. Sora Ishikawa, from Tokyo, Japan, made the finals cut for the first time.

“I got second place in preliminaries yesterday, so I was competing [in] semifinals this morning,” Ishikawa said. “It was so good.”

Cleveland yoyo pro Jumario Simmons said he wasn’t competing this year but was glad to welcome the global competition to his hometown.

“I love the skill of it and the progression, how you go from something so simple to something so complicated and technical,” Simmons said.

Saturday night the public is invited to take part in an attempt to break a Guinness World Record for the most people simultaneously yo-yoing at 6 p.m. on Public Square. Participants will receive a free Duncan yoyo.

Also on Public Square, there will be a Vegas-style illusion, magic and variety show at 8 p.m. Friday led by world record-holding magician Rick Smith, Jr. with a yo-yoing performance by Simmons.

Tickets for the final day of yoyo competition Saturday can be purchased at the door for $15.

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