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Dalemyrberg

Dale Myrberg with a BC SpitFire

Dale Myrberg is a yo-yo player and one of the four U.S. National Grand Masters. He has been yo-yoing for over 50 years and has won the World Yo-Yo Contest in 1996 at 54 years of age, the oldest player to have ever done so. Myrberg had also set no less than nine world records in 1996, all of them using fixed axle yo-yos. He was also known for wearing button-clad suspenders and a newsboy hat, along with a lighthearted stunt in which he uses a yo-yo to flick a quarter off of a person's ear. In 2005, he was inducted into the AYYA's Yo-Yo Hall of Fame at age 63.

He is also known for being an old-school yo-yoer, using only fixed axle yo-yos, along with having a hard time accepting ball bearing yo-yos. But don't get him wrong, he actually liked seeing the possibilities with ball bearing yo-yos. He has a pet-peeve about such yo-yos, though, where he believes that it gives players instant gratification because of their longer spinning and they try to perform the Atomic Bomb as a first trick. He believes that people should learn their way through the basic tricks before they could even try to do something as fancy as the aforementioned.

Myrberg, even in his advanced age, is known for exceptional hand-eye coordination and dexterity, as well as considerable skill with other skill toys, particularly juggling balls, paddleballs, and kendama. On several occasions where he performed, he would play paddleball, kendama or juggle balls in one hand and do one-handed loops with a yo-yo in the other.

History

When Dale Myrberg, born in Salt Lake City, Utah, was five years old, he had gotten his first taste of the yo-yo when his older brother brought home a friend's Duncan yo-yo. Because of his short height at the time, he stood up on a chair to prevent the yo-yo from hitting the floor when he threw it down.

At age 10, Myrberg witnessed a Duncan yo-yo demonstration at a local dime store, and shortly after, joined Duncan as a junior instructor, helping out with contests held in stores in the area, with his position becoming official a year later. "They took a shining to me," he admitted, "and they taught me a lot of tricks. I learned quickly and it was a lot of fun for me." In addition to assisting with the competitions, he had also demonstrated yo-yo tricks in stores, and made appearances on local TV shows Uncle Roscoe, Sheriff Ron, and Engineer Jim.

While as a Duncan employee, Myrberg was not allowed to enter any company-sponsored contests, but he was persistent. At age 15, he entered the 1956 Utah State Yo-Yo Championships, where he offered to abdicate his 1st Place prize, a brand new TV set, to the first runner-up. He had been yo-yoing up until his high school years, which is when he stopped playing. 

Years later, when Myrberg was 32 years old and was working at Utah Power and Light, he bragged to some of his co-workers of having once been the state yo-yo champion. They didn't believe him at first, until he bought two Duncan Satellite yo-yos and showed off his skill. The co-workers were impressed, of course.

During the mid-1970s, he did shows and school assemblies where he performed. At one point, he found out that Duncan was looking for people to do shows in Salt Lake City, and called them. Donna Walch, from Duncan, was impressed by his skill. From there, he performed at a majority of the yo-yo shows held in Salt Lake City. In 1980, he met with Arne Dixon at a local library, and decided to perform for him at his shows. In 1983, Myrberg met with Daniel Volk, who was sent to Salt Lake City by Jack Russell for test marketing, and was quick to pick up on everything the latter taught him. 

At one point in the mid-1980s, someone gave Myrberg a wooden Hummingbird yo-yo produced by Brad Countryman. Impressed with the craftsmanship put into the yo-yo, he contacted Countryman, who brought him on to demonstrate at the 1987 New York International Toy Fair. Myrberg demonstrated for Hummingbird seven to eight times since then, and later for What's Next Mfg. during the 1990s.

When Countryman was talking with a producer from the Smothers Brothers show who was looking for people to perform on there, he referred him to Myrberg. He himself was invited by the producer to perform on the Smothers Brothers show. However, he had seen that Dr. Tom Kuhn and Daniel Volk had performed on the show and in the Smothers' instructional video tape. Just when he thought that his dream of performing with Tommy Smothers was dashed, he receives a call from the show asking him to perform with Barney Akers, Bob Rule, Joe Radovan, Gus Somera, and Harvey Lowe, the 1932 World Yo-Yo Champion. While Somera and Radovan were unable to attend the taping, Myrberg's performance alongside Akers, Rule and Lowe were featured at the end of the instructional tape. During the taping, he became very good friends with Akers and Lowe. He learned a large number of "in the pocket" tricks from Akers, and learned how to do proper Outside Loops with Lowe, with his advice being, "Hook it, Myrberg!"

In 1989, Myrberg started running the Utah State Yo-Yo Contest, unaware of any other contests at the time. That is, until he learned of the U.S. National Yo-Yo Contest, which was started in 1988 by Bob Malowney, and contacted him asking if he could come. Malowney welcomed Myrberg, and the latter had attended the contest since then.

In 1992, Myrberg competed at the World Yo-Yo Contest, where he placed 2nd against Dale Oliver. In 1994, he competed at the U.S. Nationals and won. In 1996, Myrberg competed at the World Yo-Yo Contest, this time winning, along with setting nine world yo-yo records using a fixed axle yo-yo, some of which are still standing today. He also had occasional meetings with the members of the Honolulu, Hawaii-based Team High Performance, and at one point, even having knocked a quarter off of the ear of 1996/1998 U.S. National Champion and THP Team Captain Alex Garcia. He had also lead What's Next's Extreme Team yo-yo demonstrators to promote the Fixed Axle Challenge, while it had also competed with Yomega. Myrberg had also collaborated in the development of the SpitFire yo-yo.

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Achievements

1956

  • 1956 Utah State Yo-Yo Championships - 1st Place, abdicated prize to first runner-up

1992

  • 1992 World Yo-Yo Contest - 2nd Place

1994

  • 1994 U.S. National Yo-Yo Contest - Freestyle - 1st Place

1996

  • 1996 World Yo-Yo Contest - Open Division - Winner
  • World Record - Outside Loops - 250
  • World Record - Loops and Punching Bag - 87
  • World Record - 100m Dash Looping - Completed in 20.60 seconds
  • World Record - Shoot the Moon - 148
  • World Record - Whirlwind - 91
  • World Record - One-handed Behind the Back Loops - 159

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2005

  • Inducted into the Yo-Yo Hall of Fame
  • Honored with the Harvey Lowe Lifetime Achievement Award

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External links

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