July 12, 1999
Jordan Heaverlo (right) became the National Yo-Yo Champion for his age group last October.
Photo courtesy of the Heaverlo family.
by Deborah Stone, features writer
The yo-yo has been around for decades and is familiar to everyone. This simple toy is capable of amazing feats in the hands of those skilled in its tricks.
Over the years, many adaptations have been made to the yo-yo by inventors hoping to improve the device and rekindle interest in it. Currently, it is experiencing a surge in popularity among children of all ages.
Jordan Heaverlo of Bothell is one child who has made the art of yo-yo mastery his goal. The fifth grader, who attends Heritage Christian School, received his first yo-yo when he was two.
"At an early age, he showed a great interest in the yo-yo," says Jordan's mother, Kathy Heaverlo. "He had good coordination and kept practicing the movements over and over again. His older brother Justin taught him some things, but he really learned the most from Arne Dixon, the yo-yo master. Jordan first saw Arne at an assembly at his school and since then he has made him his mentor."
Dixon is well known both locally and across the nation for his amazing ability with the yo-yo. He does assemblies at schools and performs at many events.
In 1993, Kathy Heaverlo went to work for Dixon as his director of operations. Jordan has gained expertise in the yo-yo with Dixon's help, and now is quite a performer on his own.
Last October, in Chico, California, he became the National Yo-Yo Champion for his age group (ten and under, novice division). With this title has come some notoriety, including TV appearances on KING, KOMO, KIRO, and Northwest Cable News. He has performed at public libraries, toy stores, at schools, and for the Boy Scouts.
"It's been a great time for him," says Heaverlo. "He really loves teaching people how to do tricks."
Recently, Jordan wrote a book called Amazing Yo-Yo Tricks, which will be out in the fall and distributed by Troll. The book describes how to do twenty common yo-yo tricks, in an easy to follow, step-by-step format with illustrations.
Jordan advocates practice and patience in learning to master the yo-yo. He says, "I practice lots of hours during the day just to learn how to do one little thing. It can take time. The first thing to do is to learn the basics of the yo-yo and then how to do the ten basic tricks. That's what I did."
Some of Jordan's favorite tricks include "Rock the Baby," "Man on Trapeze," "Around the World," "Loop the Loop," and "Eiffel Tower."
"I really like the yo-yo because I'm always learning new things with it and it can be challenging," comments Jordan. "Right now, I'm trying to learn some two-handed tricks like the 'Two-Handed Star.'"
Jordan owns over two hundred yo-yos of different sizes and makes. He says he uses them all, but is partial to the Renegade model because it spins longer and allows him to do more tricks.
According to his mother, Jordan is never far from his yo-yos. She says, "It's the first thing he does in the morning and the last thing he does at night. It seems like it's always attached to his hand wherever he goes. He wants to be a professional yo-yo performer when he gets older."
At the rate Jordan Heaverlo is going, it looks like he will achieve his goal before he grows up.