KENT, Wash. — You've seen them on local street corners, spinning their messages. But did you know that these sign spinners are part of an elite crew that undergoes training at a little-known facility in Kent?

The "human directionals", as they're known in the industry, are schooled in everything from the basics of creating a flashy presentation to preventing collisions with pedestrians.

Richard Thesenga, the owner of Aarrow Sign Spinners of Seattle, first got into the business the way a lot of spinners do, out of necessity.

"I lost my job as a machine operator," Thesenga said. "My wife said to get a job. I got a job holding a sign."

Sign spinner Dedan Evans said, "It is definitely a living."

But he stays for the lifestyle.

"This job, you can sit here and just play all day," Evans said.

The best in the biz get to compete in this weekend's World Sign Spinning Championships in Las Vegas.

Seven local sign spinners are currently hoping to capture the top prize - five thousand dollars and worldwide bragging rights.

"It's just the most wonderful thing ever," said Aarrow's Seattle general manager, and spinner, Ben Kuhlman.

"A win-win."

But the real reward is the joy of bringing joy.

"We'll be out there sign-spinning, having a good time," said Kuhlman. "And I'll see some kid who will actually be smiling and looking at his parents like, 'I want to do that! I want to try that!'"

These human directionals say they're spinning a story of success.

Kuhlman added, "I play with plastic for a living."

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