CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – The art of sign spinning is no longer just an advertising technique, it’s now turning into a competitive sport with competitors from Charlotte.

Everyone has seen sign spinners at least once alongside the road, especially during tax season. The acrobatics of sign spinning can take years to perfect. Some even discover the skill by accident.

“Honestly I just did it as a second job and now I just do it full time as a professional,” said spinner, Stacey Waits.

The spinners you see on the side of the road are getting paid in most cases more than $12 an hour. Right now the biggest clients for the Charlotte sign spinners are furniture stores.

“The furniture market has been killing it because people are buying up all these houses and people have to put furniture in them,” said the General Manager of Charlotte Sign Spinners, Zack Blaylock.

What starts as a side job on the side of the road can quickly morph into a sport with the annual World Sign Spinning Championships.

“The natural progression is to invent tricks and to see who can invent the best tricks and then have a competition,” said Blaylock.

At competitions, spinners are judged for technique, style, moves, dress and flashiness. Competing can take a lot of practice and patience, especially for people in Charlotte who often spin for hours under the hot sun.

“Cause it’s hard work. You have to be conditioned for it,” said Blaylock.

The prep work is needed to help handle the sign that weighs about five pounds and is often taller than the person doing the spinning.

“So I actually have a younger brother who actually plays football and I actually try and teach him how to do what we do and he said it was too much for him. So it’s very athletic, but a different type of athleticism,” said Waits.

The 2021 World Sign Spinning Championship was held virtually because of the pandemic, but Zack Blaylock placed 5th in the competition. The goal is to return to in-person competition in Las Vegas next year.