The division of 3A was previously nicknamed, “The Parking Lot Division” after Jon Gates jokingly named it its current name of 3A; it was nicknamed this because of the Triple A Throwdown which took place in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn, the official hotel of the US National Yo-Yo Contest. The Triple A Throwdown was the marquee event for two long spinning yo-yos when official contests only had dedicated divisions for 1A and 2A and thus served as the precursor to 3A ascending to a division of its own. The Throwdown showcased all of the best players doing their best trick judged by the audience themselves–winner would receive the famed Triple A Duck of Power. Tommy Gunn, who made countless tutorial videos (I specifically remember learning seasick), just uploaded this great piece of yo-yo history to youtube and it is well worth the watch. The video features the Father of Triple A, Mark McBride, another founding father, Steve Brown, a huge innovator, Spencer Berry, and the winner of the 2001 Triple A throwdown, none other than Hank Freeman, who, in my opinion, last month proved he is the greatest to ever throw 3A. All of these legends, along with the several other legends in this video, make it one of the best historical videos I have ever seen of the yo-yo community, but perhaps I am biased!
If you don’t mind be getting a little personal here, the Triple A Throwdown played a huge role in my development in 3A. I qualified to the finals for the first time at Nationals in 2006 but mostly tanked on stage but that night I had the opportunity to compete in the Triple A Throwdown; the challenge, which was introduced after 3A became an established division and unresponsive yo-yos tripled (pun) the possibilities, was to spin around for 10 seconds and then try and do your best trick. I remember spinning and spinning and as I was falling over I hit assisted Brent Stole. I vividly remember everyone cheering and rooting on the 12 year old me. I was definitely hooked on the style and never put it down. My passion for this small division shaped much of my appreciation and love for creativity, for pushing the boundaries–much like the people in this video did. I never did get to take the duck home but my name is written on that legendary artifact of yo-yo history and I am honored to be part of it. Thank you for reading if you did!
Now, what are you waiting for? Check out this piece of history!