Yo-yoing is a hobby easily pursued with $7 and ample time.
But turning that hobby into a career takes a lot of work, which is something Dave Schulte has mastered.
Schulte, a Brooklyn Park resident, began a yo-yo business 10 years ago, and has since earned the title of National Yo-Yo Master. He commemorated his years of dedication recently by earning a world record.
Guinness World Records honored Schulte with a certificate last week for being the fastest person to use a yo-yo to knock coins off the ears of each of 15 people.
It took Schulte 1 minute, 33 seconds. The previous record holder, John Higby, performed the feat in 1 minute, 50 seconds.
Though Schulte said he hadn't practiced the trick before, he thought breaking the record would be nothing compared to the hoops he had to jump through to make the record official. "It depends on how much paperwork you do."
He performed the trick at the Minnesota Regional Yo-yo Championships at the Mall of America on June 20, an event he organizes.
Though it took only about a minute and a half to gain that world record, untold hours of practice made it possible.
Dave Schulte picked up his first yo-yo in 1993, when he was in college at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, studying education.
He set aside his yo-yo to become a high school shop teacher in Bloomington for three years and Edina for one year, but he never quite thought high school was where he wanted to be.
In 1998, a company called High Performance Kites Marketing asked Schulte to interview for a year-long job as a yo-yo demonstrator. Schulte had been participating in national and worldwide tournaments, which helped him gain the company's attention. He landed the job, which brought together every aspect of a career that he loved.
Schulte could teach, market -- and yo-yo.
When the job was over after 16 months, Schulte wasn't sure he wanted to go back to teaching high school shop. He wondered if he could make a career out performing tricks. He decided to find out.
In 1999, Schulte began his own yo-yo business. Known as "Dazzling Dave," he has since taught classes at schools and to individuals, and performed at schools and events. He also continues to compete in national and world tournaments.
Josh Schlicting began a yo-yo club in Hopkins 10 years ago, and that's when the pair met. He said it's not difficult to get to know Schulte. "If he doesn't know somebody, he'll be the first person to welcome them into the group."
Schlicting pursued his hobby alongside Schulte and now hosts a live, online yo-yo show called String Burn Live. Many times, Schulte will demonstrate new tricks on the show as a featured guest, and Schlicting is always excited to invite him to come. "Dave is an amazing, huge personality."
Until last December, Schulte and his wife, Kim, and their two children, Eric, 5, and Kate, 3, had two incomes. But when Kim lost her job at CenterPoint Energy, the family had to rethink its finances.
Now, the Schultes live solely on the income Dave brings in as a performer, and Dave isn't sure how they will do.
"This year," he said, "will be a big test."
Joy Petersen is a Minneapolis freelance writer.