This is what Shane Lubecker, 16, entitles his yo-yo artistry because to him, it is a combination of both a sport and a hobby.
But for Shane Lubecker, being a yo-yo artist is more than just fun and games. His talent has won over the hearts of many, securing him a spot in the top 10 in the Suburban Chicago's Got Talent competition.
While Shane Lubecker knows the general competition will be tough, he must take down his own brother AJ Lubecker, 18, who has made it through to the top 10 as well.
“I think it is cool that I’m competing against him,” Shane Lubecker said. “Both of our talents are completely different, so it will be interesting to see what happens when we go up against each other. He is my older brother so I always want to beat him at stuff.”
The brothers, both of Algonquin, will face off against eight other contestants this Sunday starting at 7 p.m. in the Suburban Chicago's Got Talent top 10 competition at the Metropolis in Arlington Heights. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased on the Metropolis website.
Although this weekend the brothers will technically be rivals, vying for a chance to move on as one of the final five contestants in the competition, the two brothers are typically used to playing on the same team. They have played both hockey and golf together.
“We are still competing and obviously I want to beat him,” AJ Lubecker said. “But going into the day, we will tell each other to kill it out there. We definitely have gotten used to being on a team together."
Once the top five contestants are selected, there will be a second performance at the Metropolis on August 7, along with a performance at the Taste of Arlington Heights on August 11. A winner will be selected from there.
Shane Lubecker: Yo-yo artist
Shane Lubecker started as a yo-yo artist when a friend of his introduced it to him about three and a half years ago. Although there are instructional videos that he watched online to learn about it, he usually experiments and teaches himself the tricks.
Shane Lubecker knows how to perform all styles of yo-yo. He specializes in regular, offstring and free hand or counterweight yo-yoing. His most expensive yo-yo costs $165.
“Different kinds of yo-yos are specifically made for the different styles,” he said.
Shane Lubecker has competed as a yo-yo artist throughout the country. He is ranked third in the state in Michigan.
“It is more competitive than people think,” he said. “Usually people don’t understand it at first, but once I show them they understand it.”
Being in the top 10 on Suburban Chicago's Got Talent is rewarding for Shane Lubecker.
“It felt good,” he said. “I was happy that the judges thought it was entertaining. It is nice to know that all the work I put into it was appreciated.”
Shane Lubecker said that the competition is strong, but his act is something different.
“My talent is one of the more unique ones in the competition still,” he said. “They are really talented at what they do, but I might have an upper hand because of the ‘wow’ factor.”
AJ Lubecker: Comedian
AJ started in the comedy world at the age of 15 when a family friend gave him a list of open mic nights to attend. Before long, he was getting booked for shows.
For AJ Lubecker, being a competitor in Suburban Chicago's Got Talent is different than many of the shows he books.
“It is different because there is more pressure than there usually is because you are competing, instead of just making people laugh,” he said. “It is a good thing to experience, though.”
Despite the added pressure, AJ Lubecker is still excited to be involved with the competition.
“There is a lot of good singers, and musical acts,” he said. “But there is not anything else like us, and I think that is to my advantage and Shane’s as well.”
AJ Lubecker comes up with his jokes for his performances from his every day encounters. He writes down ideas on his phone during the day, and comes back to them later to perfect the joke and punchline.
To prepare for this weekend’s competition, he has attended open mic nights to stay fresh. He has written new material for this weekend, but also plans on using some other content that he has that the competition has never seen.
“I’ve gone to a few open mics to make sure I am still sharp on stage,” he said. “If you take time off than it is just that much more nerve-racking going back.”