In this week's cover story, "Spin City!," we took a look at the little-known realities of Denver's most obvious pedestrians: sign twirlers. Also known as sign spinners -- but never sign holders or sign fliers -- these human billboards come with a wide gap in expectations. At the Denver franchise of national company AArrow Advertising, employees must learn twenty tricks before ever stepping foot or spinning sign on a street corner. (For those of you who didn't know there are twenty tricks, the company has patented quite a few of the more than 500 it recognizes.)
These passerby distractions include the floater, the helicopter and an advanced, around-the-back stunt called the Bruce Lee. The signs used to perform them can weigh anywhere from six to fifteen pounds, making regular mandatory practice a necessity in order to stay in shape and avoid injury.
Not that the second option is always possible.
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"We hurt ourselves all the time," says Collin Elliott, a spinner for AArrow and the nephew of local franchise owner Therese Dombrowski. "I've seen broken fingers and noses, and I've hit myself in the face. You have to be careful about what you're doing, but the moves demand a lot of energy and spinthusiasm."
While injuries are common, so are the perks -- including phone numbers from onlookers whose own eyes were caught by the moves. During a recent visit to AArrow's Wednesday practice, Westword web editor Nick Lucchesi documented some of the tricks and stories behind the team. For details on the romantic and monetary perks of becoming a human advertisement, watch the video below:
More from our archive: "Spin City! Denver's sign spinners want you to give them a twirl."