Fort Lauderdale man heads to World Sign Spinning Championships in Las Vegas

Bryan Sanchez started swinging signs while attending college in Tempe, Arizona, at the age of 19 – and never stopped. After tasting the freedom of around the corner and the personal challenge of mastering new tricks, a regular 9-to-5 office job no longer appealed to him. For 15 years, he has been running signs across the country, from Arizona to Texas and, most recently, South Florida.

Chances are if you’ve driven in the Tri-County area you’ve spotted 33-year-old Sanchez or one of his proteges with AArow Sign Spinners, a Los Angeles-based company that employs thousands of sign spinners to advertise for businesses around the world. Locally, Sanchez has worked the streets of Hialeah, North Miami, Pompano Beach, Sunrise, and as far north as Port St. Lucie for a client list that includes cellphone providers (T-Mobile, Boost Mobile), cable companies (Xfinity) and furniture stores (CITY Furniture, Ashley HomeStore).

“We love the eight-way intersections, the two-way turn lanes are exciting, and anything off US 1 or in Las Olas and Wynwood is really fun,” Sanchez said. new times. “The only thing we aim for is to honk your horn as a way of acknowledging your talent. It’s quite rewarding to watch someone try to get your attention after you’ve tried to get theirs.”

Sign rotation is a lucrative guerrilla marketing strategy. It is also a competitive sport, where judges score 30- and 60-second choreographed performances on style, trick difficulty, and execution. Each year, hundreds of competitors across the country submit videos of their acrobatic feats with their signs, hoping to win regional competitions. Then the top ten spinners from the East Coast, West Coast and Central divisions qualify for the annual AArow World Championships in Las Vegas, where competitors came from as far away as Germany, South Korea and Porto. Rico to compete.

Of the dozens who competed, Sanchez is Florida’s only sign spinner to place in the top ten. He’s in Las Vegas ahead of the world championships, which take place tomorrow at the Fremont Street Experience, where he’ll face elites like Davis Davis of San Diego, Kadeem Johnson of LA, Matthew Doolan of Fort Worth, Texas, and Kendrick Washington of Washington, D.C.

“I didn’t realize how tough the competition was going to be,” Sanchez said. “But a single drop [of the sign] can change the outcome of a championship.” Sanchez was a quick study in spinning fast, mastering the basic tricks – flipping the sign overhead and twirling it between his legs like a pair of nunchakus. He soon branched out and began incorporating gymnastics, breakdancing and martial arts into his street corner performances. He can throw the sign in the air in what is called a “helicopter throw”, then perform a karate kick or a one-handed cartwheel and catch the sign without letting it touch the ground.

“Out there, around the corner, the only competition is with yourself,” he says, adding that between the heat and the humidity, the five- and eight-hour shifts can be physically demanding. A guy he knows lost 100 pounds just by signing and eating healthier. “There’s absolutely no need to be a gym member when you’re spinning signs. It’s hot yoga mixed with pilates and tae kwon do and dancing all day.”

In South Florida, Sanchez works as a local manager supervising and training other sign spinners, as a sales manager, and as a graphic designer. It’s especially gratifying, he says, to watch a neophyte sign spinner master a new trick. One of his favorite perks is visiting a potential client in a button-up shirt and slacks, only to pull off a few tricks with his sign in the middle of his field.

“It helps customers know that I can do it myself,” he explains. “Waving a sign is not a normal activity when you’re wearing a suit and tie. They’ll be like, ‘Whoa, I didn’t expect you to do that!'”

Although Sanchez is a veteran sign spinner and believes this will be his tenth appearance at the world championships, he still feels a rush of nerves heading into the final. He’s heard of some people running two stores at once, and he’s worried about competitors who haven’t posted videos on their YouTube channels for a few months. He wants to know “what they might have up their sleeves”.

“I’ll be in my hotel room, and I’ll look out the window and see six sign throwers still trying to land that trick at the top of the parking lot,” he said of previous championships. “It’s intense.”

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