Someone You Should Know: Making a difference through yo-yoing

Published: Apr. 30, 2020 at 9:32 AM CDT
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Thirteen-year old Tyler Duffy started yo-yoing about three years ago, after going to a Stampede hockey game.

"And they were giving out free yo-yos and I learned how to throw up and down," Tyler said.

"When he first got that free one he came home and his grandma, my mom, had showed him how to go up and down and do the rock the baby and walk the dog type tricks," said Patrick Duffy, Tyler's dad.

It wasn't long after that, that Tyler and his family went on a mission trip to Africa with a lot of yo-yos.

"On his birthday in October he asked that he just get money and yo-yos to help provide an avenue to reach out to the African kids," Patrick said.

"They thought it was awesome. I ended up teaching some of the kids how to yo-yo. We gave out a ton of free yo-yos to the kids and they really enjoyed it," Tyler said.

As Tyler's love for yo-yoing grew, he soon found competitions out there.

"Then all of a sudden he started pursuing it and watching YouTube videos and watching other kids compete, and he just took off," Patrick said.

So the family started going to various competitions which included a win in the amateur division at the Mall of America.

"We went to a local competition, well Minneapolis, the Midwest Nationals, and got see a lot of the really good the pro yo-yoers and he was right up there," Patrick said.

"Ended up getting eighth place in amateur, and at that time I'd only been in about a year of yo-yoing. And then after that we went to NWR again, and then I ended up getting first in amateur," Tyler said.

It wasn't long that world champion Gentry Stein heard about Tyler.

He soon became a sponsor and mentor for him.

"It's somebody I've looked up to a for a long time, and it's fun to actually talk to him and him to give me a lot of tips," said Tyler.

Like any sport, to be good you have to put in the time. Tyler is practicing more than ever right now.

"During this quarantine, I've been practicing sometimes six hours a day. And on like normal days I practice like two to three hours," Tyler said.

And he has some big goals.

"My goal is someday win worlds. That's my long term goal. And my goal currently is to get into the finals in the Midwest Regionals, that's my short term goal," Tyler said.