Representing KC: Ben Conde.

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This is the first in a series of articles featuring local yoyo players!
I've had the pleasure of knowing Ben and his family since the late 90's. I first met Ben's older brother Andrew at the Wind Wizards YoYo Workshop. Andrew was an awesome kid. Even though he was one of the youngest yoyoers around, he was one of the most respected as well. Eventually, Andrew's talent rubbed off on his younger brother and Ben started yoyoing. I think he was 3 or 4 when we started teaching him some of the basic tricks, but they weren't enough for him.

Even that young I can remember Ben wanting to be ahead of the game. Walking into a yoyo workshop and seeing a 3'4" child practicing 2A is hard to forget. Back then, everyone knew Ben was going places but I don't think any of us knew how far. When I drifted away from the yoyo community, Ben kept chugging away with his yoyo. He was picked up by yoyojam at a very young age (brilliant) and given his first signature series yoyo, the Big Ben. Ben won World championships for his age bracket year after year, before stepping into the big leagues. More on that later.

What impresses me most about Ben (and his entire family for that matter) is that he can excel so much at so many different things. Yes, Ben is a great yoyoer, but he never let that get in the way of his academics. He attended some of the most prestigious schools in the Kansas City area, and did very well. Now, he's heading to college in Chicago this fall to pursue his career dreams.

Before he goes out and starts living the college life though, he shocked the yoyo world and turned it on it's ear regarding 4a (offstring) play. Watch the video, let it sink in, then continue to read the blog.

At the 2011 World YoYo Contest, Ben Conde stole the show. By far the greatest 4a routine ever performed at competition and one of the top 3 overall at that contest in my opinion. In a contest loaded to the gills with talent, Ben came through and gave a truly memorable performance. Unfortunately the judges didn't see it that way. Ben was still able to secure his personal best on the 4a World stage and took 4th place. However, there's not one person that was there or who watched on the live stream that didn't think he took first.

(If you notice the yoyo Ben is using in the routine, it's his new signature series YoYoJam, the Go Big.)

Will Ben be competing at Worlds 2012? I certainly hope so. He brought the flashiest, most difficult, most entertaining routine to the 4a division in 2011, I'm sure he can take it all in 2012.

The Kansas City YoYo Club is proud to count Ben among it's own.

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