ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT

The Yo-Yo Man’s trick to staying happy: Playing with yo-yos

Oct 9, 2023, 7:00 AM

Man playing with yo-yo...

Dale Myrberg at Snowbird’s Oktoberfest, entertaining crowds for his 35th year. (Peter Rosen, KSL TV)

(Peter Rosen, KSL TV)

SNOWBIRD — What’s more impressive than an “atomic bomb-shoot the moon-backward around the world-and into the pocket”? The man who performs that difficult yo-yo trick.

Dale Myrberg and his yo-yo acrobatics have been a fixture at the Snowbird Oktoberfest and at almost 82 years old, the Salt Lake native is still entertaining crowds there.  This is his 35th year at the festival.

Myrberg picked up the toy when he was five years old and got his hands on a yo-yo his brother borrowed from a friend. Myrberg learned tricks and won contests but when he became a teenager he set it aside.

“When I got into high school I didn’t think it was the cool thing to do,” he said.

Years later, it was an impromptu yo-yo demonstration for his coworkers on a power company survey crew that drew him back in. He won national awards, put on shows and appeared twice on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.”  He was designated a National Grand Master by the American Yo-Yo Association.

In his later years, Myrberg has had his ups and downs.  He’s had bladder cancer, a triple bypass and a spinal fusion. In 2020 his wife, Sue, passed away.

The chipper yo-yo man started feeling especially down when he was recuperating from back surgery, recently widowed and isolating due to the pandemic.

He says things turned around when he started regularly working out at a gym for cardiac patients at St. Mark’s Hospital.

“I started feeling stronger and stronger my attitude started getting better and better and I thought, ‘boy, I’m gonna get back to Snowbird Oktoberfest and perform,” he said.

With his shoulder-length white hair and eye-catching tricks, Dale Myrberg is hard to miss there.  He performs two-handed yo-yo tricks, yo-yos while playing paddleball with his hands and feet and knocks quarters off volunteers’ ears with his yo-yos, while delivering the non-stop patter of a well-seasoned busker.

“This is the happiest I’ve been in a long, long time,“ Myrberg said.  “Doing the yo-yo stuff is saving my life right now.”

“I mean, I don’t know I don’t know what I ever did to deserve all of this fun, but I’m going to take it.”

Related: A Utah tradition: Oktoberfest returns to Snowbird

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The Yo-Yo Man’s trick to staying happy: Playing with yo-yos