Salina At age 14, Brent Dellinger is already near the top of his game.
The Salina teen-ager is one of the youngest and best yo-yoers in the world, and with hour after hour of practice, he hopes to become even better.
The next stop on his journey to the top will be Oct. 6 at the 2001 National Yo-Yo Contest in Chico, Calif.
Brent finished second in last year's competition, which draws more yo-yoers than the World Yo-Yo Championships, where Brent finished fifth this year.
On any given day, Brent's yo-yoing just about all the time, his mother Joan Dellinger said.
"I always know where he is in the house. ... You can hear the strings humming," she said.
"I spend four hours a day practicing on school days, and 8-10 hours on weekends," Brent added.
Brent started yo-yoing two years ago, when a local shopping mall sponsored a contest.
"He learned all the tricks, from beginners to expert, in two weeks' time," his mother said.
Now, Brent repeatedly finishes in first-place in yo-yo contests all over the country. And it's easy to see why. When he practices, yo-yos dance in the air around him, looping in and out, rocking on a stringed cradle, his callused string fingers orchestrating their flight effortlessly as he talks.
Brent's skill is so impressive that he is sponsored by Yo-Yo Jam, one of the major manufacturers. The company also has issued a special signature edition yo-yo bearing his likeness.
Brent also performs at community festivals, schools, rest homes and other venues, making money to keep his fleet of more than 200 state-of-the-art yo-yos tuned up.
What will the future hold for a 14-year-old competitor?
"I always wanted to get my own show in Las Vegas," he admits, with yo-yo strings still whirring around him.