At this years US National YoYo Contest, the National YoYo Museum awarded three more players the rank of National YoYo Master. The rank of Master is an honor reserved for players who have provided outstanding contributions to the art, sport, and industry of yoyo play. It’s just shy of a Lifetime Achievement Award, as the honorees are people who are still actively contributing and are nowhere near retirement.
The National Master award is not given out yearly; only when an individual shows in some way to be a valued and long-time contributor in multiple facets of yoyoing is their name brought up by the Museum, and then vetted by existing Masters.
This year, three players were honored with the rank of Master.
Tomonari “BLACK” Ishiguro
Tomonari Ishiguro, who performs under the name BLACK, is a Japanese player and performer as well as a two-time World YoYo Champion. He has served as an inspiration to countless players in the worldwide yoyo scene with his polished and unique stage presence, and recently took the world by storm as one of the most lauded and talked about speakers at the 2013 TED conference, with video of his talk reaching more than 800,000 views.
The story goes that after placing poorly at the 2001 Bay Area Classic, long considered one of the toughest contests in the United States, a young DelValle walked around asking people what he could do to improve his contest skills. An old-timer patted him on the back and said that he should “aim lower”. DelValle came back the next year and began a two-year domination of the American contest scene that culminated in an unprecedented 2003 season where he won the Bay Area Classic, US Nationals, and the World YoYo Contest. He continues to contribute to yoyoing with his online store YoYoBestBuy, as well as an organizer for the Bay Area Classic and California States…the contests that launched his career.
Nathan Crissey’s contributions to yoyoing have been as a stalwart judge and organizer for an incredible number of yoyo contests. Nathan has served as a Deputy Chairman for the World YoYo Contest, a co-organizer of the Bay Area Classic, and is the organizer and Contest Director for the Pacific Northwest Regionals. A passionate yoyo player, Crissey is a regular fixture at judges’ tables across the country where he frequently serves as lead judge, and manages score tabulation. Crissey is the first phone call made from any contest with a scoring problem or question, and every contest organizer in the country is wise enough to default to his experience and knowledge.