The Grand Marshall of the 2002 World Yo-Yo Contest|
Bob began playing yo-yos in the late 1940s. His career as a Duncan Demonstrator began when his mentor, Barney Akers, would slip him a buck or two to stand on a crate and do two-handed tricks during Barney's promotions. Bob proved his skills, and quickly became a full time demonstrator for Donald F. Duncan Inc. Bob worked his hometown of Detroit from 1952 to 1955, before hitting the road as a traveling yo-yo pro. Bob worked under his friend and teacher, Barney Akers, as well as Jack Russell during Jack's Duncan days.
Bob took a brief hiatus, but was back with Duncan in 1960. During the media push years of Duncan promoter Clyde Mortenson, Bob became a yo-yo celebrity, with numerous TV, radio, and newspaper appearances. Bob was married to Kathy Morris in 1962, and he took her on the road with him covering the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Bob worked with Duncan Pros like Skeeter Beebe, Bud Lutz, and one of his earliest teachers, Wayne Lundberg. Bob was one of the few Duncan pros who was proficient with both yo-yos, and the spin top line that Duncan introduced in the early 1960s. Using the names "Mr. Yo-Yo" and "Mr. Spin Top", Bob avoided the self-assigned title of "World Champion" that so many players of that era promoted themselves with. In 1970, Bob was granted a trademark on the name "Mr. Yo-Yo", which he still holds today.
In May of 1965, Bob left Donald F. Duncan Inc. The company, due to numerous lawsuits to protect the "yo-yo" trademark, as well as a saturated market, filed for bankruptcy in June of that year. Bob was the last paid player of the original Duncan yo-yo company.
Bob Rule and Tommy Smothers
In 1965, Bob and Kathy made their home in Atlanta, Georgia, and began their family. With a daughter Kim, and son Steve, Bob was off on another new career as father. Never complete without some kind of toys in his hand, Bob got into the slot car business, and owned a company called Champion Slot Racing Products. Bob founded a new company, BoLink R/C Cars, Inc., manufacturing R/C cars and related accessories. In the early 1970s, Bob also ran promotions for Festival yo-yos, buying and promoting his own signature model yo-yo from them. Bob also promoted the "Peanuts" line, with yo-yos featuring Snoopy and other popular Peanuts characters. Bob sold Champion Slot Racing in 1985, and it is still in business today.
In July of 1988, Kathy Rule, mother of two and yo-yo wife extraordinaire, passed away from cancer. In May of 1998, Bob met Elleda Marshall, and they married on September 9th, 1999 Bob's daughter Kim is married with one child, and son Steve currently handles BoLink and it's sister company, RACEtech Motorsports. Bob retired from BoLink in 2000, and now spends his days racing buggies, playing yo-yo, cataloging his massive yo-yo and memorabilia collection, and driving his lovely wife out of her mind.
Bob Rule is an inspiration, not only to yo-yo players, but to everyone. He has spent nearly his entire life turning his hobbies into successful careers. Bob is a family man, a businessman, and a yo-yo man. We should all be so lucky.
Bio by Steve Brown