Jody Evans didn’t start hula hooping with the intention of forming a business from the activity. Instead, she took up hula hooping as a way to relieve stress and invite happiness back into her life.
During a tough period about nine years ago, Evans walked into her garage and picked up a K-Mart hula hoop. In an effort to release tension, shake off the blues and just feel happy again, she tried to hula hoop with the once-forgotten plastic ring. It was broken and aged and didn’t work correctly so she set out to find a way to make her own.
That night, she created her own hula hoop and enjoyed using it so much, she made more. The next morning, she took the hula hoops to the Boulder Farmers Market to see if anyone else might want to join her in the lively, endorphin boosting activity. They did.
Since then, Evans has shared hula hooping with people of all ages and skill levels. A former Niwot resident turned South Carolina beach dweller, Evans teaches hula hoop-based exercise classes on the beach. Now, she said, her students have become her friends. Classes are mellow, consisting of Evans chatting with her new friends while hula hooping, toes in the sand. For Evans, it’s all about the human connection. “The connection is the best part. I can't believe that I hang out with teenagers through 80-year olds.”
Since Rock N Rails’ inception, Evans has been a welcome presence at the community gathering. She started with a bakery and waffle booth, then switched to hanging out hula hoops and hasn’t looked back. 2016 was the only Rock N Rails season she missed. After moving to South Carolina with her husband and five dogs, she opted to stay for a summer and see what the warm, coastal state had to offer. Evans found that it was a lot of humidity.
Now, she returns to Niwot each summer and Niwotians couldn’t be happier. Her hula hoop booth brings joy to Rock N Rails each week and lets people try something new, move around, and laugh at the pure joy hula hooping can bring.
"I started sharing hula hoops, because it made me happy to have people to do something fun with. It never fails. People who are afraid to try it end up being surprised at themselves that they can do something so weird that they thought might be embarrassing. Then they realize it's more fun than it is anything to worry about."
Who would have thought something as simple as a plastic ring could bring so much joy and facilitate meaningful, human connection? Find Jody Evans at Rock N Rails each Thursday night and join her for a silly, weird, all-encompassing hula hoop experience. You’re sure to share more than a few laughs and make new friends.