Coming Full Circle: Yo-Yo Champion Hopes To Pay It Forward With New Yo-Yo

Yo-Yo Designed In Honor Of Late Grandmother, Meant To Inspire Next Generation Of Creativity


Did you know we have a world champion yo-yo artist right here in the Red River Valley?

He’s won titles. He’s been on “The Martha Stewart Show” and “America’s Got Talent”.

But it took a lot of work and support to develop that talent.

Now, he’s paying that success forward while honoring one of the people who helped him reach the top.

John Narum’s life revolves around the yo-yo.

“It’s kinda my thing to just bring forward that it’s just not a toy,” Narum explains. “You can create these really unique pictures and acrobatic moves.”

He’s so talented slinging one on a string, he won a world yo-yo title when he was just 11 years old, the youngest champion ever at the time.

Narum says, “That was pretty groundbreaking because most of the people I was competing against were easily twice my age.”

This yo-yo virtuoso had plenty of fans, but maybe none bigger than his grandmother, Char Smith.

“She couldn’t have been any more supportive of anything I did,” Narum adds. “She understood when I failed and she was always there to kind of encourage me to keep going.”

Narum says his grandma did that for everyone., saying, “she connected people together, and she did that through encouraging them. She did that by becoming involved in their lives and supporting them.”

Narum’s grandmother, a pillar of love and support, died in 2016.

He says he had a hard time dealing with her passing.

Now he found a fitting way to honor her.

The Babbit is a new yo-yo Narum designed, named after the Minnesota Iron Range town his grandmother called home.

Narum designed The Babbit so that even a novice could pick one up and learn a few tricks right away. That inclusive spirit is one of the ways he’s honoring his grandmother with this yo-yo.

He adds, “That’s the kind of the thing I want to create for people who maybe want to pick up the yo-yo for the first time, or the first time in a while.”

He spent more than a year designing the yo-yo.

He says, “It’s easier for me to use. It’s easier for someone much younger to use.”

The Babbit is easier to afford, too. Narum says most competition-level yo-yo’s run from $45 to $200.

This one will cost you $12, he says without sacrificing quality.

“I think it’s on the same level,” Narum claims. “I think you could take this to a competition and compete on a national or world level if you truly wanted to.”

He wants to use this yo-yo to provide that spark his grandmother helped give him.

“It’s kind of creating that full circle of everything that you would need to know about me and the yo-yo,” Narum says, “and hopefully encourages someone to hopefully create their own memories with the yo-yo, and maybe even their grandparents.”

The yo-yo comes in four different colors. Each one represents a treasured memory Narum has of his grandma.

They go on sale this week.

He’s posting a link on his Facebook page to buy them. Click here to find out more from his Facebook page.

Categories: Morning – In The Community, Morning – In The Studio