From the Plug in Texoma networking breakfast to the streets of Times Square in New York City, Rudy Reynoso has done magic tricks for people all over the United States, as well as Colombia and China.

Magic for the Sherman native has been about more than card tricks, mentalism and sleight of hand, it helped Reynoso learn confidence and how to approach strangers.

“At heart I am an introvert, but magic has been a way for me to challenge myself,” Reynoso said. “I have been able to develop an extroverted side. The skill of being able to speak in front of people and being able to relate to people and the whole networking thing was an uphill battle. I did not want to go up to random people and show them magic. It was terrifying then, and it is still terrifying. But, it helped me grow self confidence and self assurance. I know I can do it and rejection is not the end of the world. I can now equate that into all areas of life.”

Reynoso's love for magic started about 18 years ago when he used to watch magic with his father.

“I first started when I was seven years old in 1999,” he said. “My dad took my down to Dallas to the one magic shop that used to be there. We would buy old VHS tapes. We would throw them on and learn how to do the tricks. We would also go to Walmart and buy magic sets and things like that. It was very much amateur magic.”

Then from 7-12 Reynoso became interested in other things and set down his deck of cards to pick up a gaming controller.

“We would do little magic shows for the family, but nothing big,” he said. “Then when I was 12, we saw David Blaine do the street magic special. Up until that point, I had seen huge illusions like when David Copperfield would make things disappear, but never the close up slight of hand approach to it.”

Reynoso said he recorded the special on a VCR and watched it about 100 times trying to figure out how Blaine did the tricks.

“It was not until later that I learned that the way I learned to do the tricks was not the way that he was actually doing them,” Reynoso said. “They were different methods. I spent three or four hours a day reading books and watching videos. YouTube was just becoming popular so I started looking things up on there. I was self taught. I never had a magician actually teach me.”

As a magician, there are three ways that you can learn magic, Reynoso said.

“You can buy a trick at a shop,” he said. “You can have a magician teach you like an apprenticeship. The third way is that you can make up tricks yourself or be self taught.”

Reynoso used principles of other magicians but for the most part he learned on his own.

“I just practiced, practiced, and practice,” he said. “When I was in Piner, they were really strict. I would always bring cards with me to school and in between classes, I would be playing with them. I remember being asked if I was gambling. But I wasn't. I was just practicing card tricks.”

Also around that time, Reynoso's family used to take family vacations around the United States. During trips to New York and San Francisco, Reynoso used the trips as an opportunity to challenged himself.

“At 12, 13, and 14, I was walking up to people asking to do tricks,” he said. “I had to face failure and rejection sometimes. You go up to people and a lot of people do not want to see stuff. Some think you are trying to sell them something.”

Reynoso was able to work through that and gain some endurance so that he could hone his craft.

“After about 15, I started doing it semi professionally,” he said. “My friend's parents would see me at different events at school and started asking me to do magic. It started at parties and birthday parties. Word began spreading.”

Then he started doing magic for local businesses in Sherman while he was in high school. That continued when he was attending school at the University of North Texas.

“I was a freshman at the University of North Texas and by some random occurrence, I was doing the magic for a professor,” he said. “The word got out that I do magic. The president of the university Dr. V.L. Rawlins invited me out to the president's retreat to do magic there. That was a very impactful moment for me as a freshman. I met with the provost and the deans. It was a really special experience. Later, I became student body president and got to meet with them all of the time. It was a full circle thing.”

Also while at UNT, Reynoso was given the opportunity to perform at different events and speaking engagements. He said that he would speak for an hour and a half about something like perseverance or creativity and would intertwine a magic show with the topics.

Reynoso's time at UNT led to opportunities for him to perform before Condoleezza Rice and the Mythbusters.

“The MythBusters have such a great eye that they caught on to what I was doing almost immediately,” he said. “I was able to fool them for a few tricks, but they were probably my most intense audience yet.”

Most recently, Reynoso attended the 2018 Grammy Awards in New York City by winning a contest with his job at the Hilton Garden Inn.

“The Hilton Garden Inn held a worldwide competition in October or November of last year,” he said. “It was to make a unique music performance. Anyone could apply that worked for the hotel. There were over 200 entries. I recreated music from the musical Hamilton. I applied similar lyrics to Conrad Hilton, the founder of the hotel. We got the call from Hilton worldwide that I was one of the four contestants. It was an incredible experience.”

The winners attended the Grammy Awards and an after party.

“Hilton did a video for each of the winners,” he said. “We got to do a video for the songs that we wrote. We also got to do a video showcasing our personalities. In my case, magic was what I chose. I had a camera crew and mics and everything. We went to Time Square. I had people come up to me to do magic. People saw the cameras and microphones and wanted to know what was going on.”

It was a completely different experience from the one he had when he was 15.

When I went to Times Square when I was 15 years old,” he said. “I did magic and it was really hard for me to get a crowd going. I did it but I had to get my momentum. Then this time, it was such a unique experience because I got to see what it would be like to be David Blaine or someone on that caliber doing street magic because of the whole crew.”

Reynoso said in the future, he would love to have a magic special on television so that he could share his love with others.

“I have two favorites tricks,” he said. “One is the ambitious card. They take the card and write their name on it. Then the card does crazy things like if you put it in the middle of the pack, it shoots to the top. You can make it disappear and then reappear under their shoes. You can rip the card in half and then it will come back together. They get to keep the card at the end so it is like a souvenir for them to hold on to.”

Reynoso's other favorite trick is called the card through the window.

“I ask an audience member to take a card and sign it,” he said. “Then I take the entire deck of cards and chunk them at a window. All of the cards go everywhere, but one card goes through the glass and ends up on the other side. It is kind of cool to see. Another version of that is that people put the cards up on one side of the glass and I can pull the card through the window.”

Both tricks get a lot of oohs and ahs, he said. Both tricks, he said, have helped him to break the ice when starting conversations with strangers.

“What I have seen the most is that magic is a very universal language,” he said. “It is kind of like music. It breaks through a lot of barriers very quickly.”

Reynoso will be teaching a magic class through Sherman Parks and Recreation starting on Feb. 12. The class is every Monday and Tuesday for four weeks. It is $40 for all eight classes. Register online at cityofsherman.org through the Parks and Recreation section of the City Services tab.