Interview – Augie Fash: Gong Show Champion and YoYo Deity

Name: Augie Fash
Experience: 10 Years
Specialty: Teaching Classes, Performance Awesomeness, Collecting Nectar.

Adding a new title under his belt at the 2008 California State Championship, Augie Fash has quite a large title list. 2004 National Champion, Countless Regional Championships, Gong Show Champion, the new 2008 California State Championship, and to the yo-yoing world, he is the Peoples Champion. He was kind enough to slow down to human speeds to talk to me.

DrYoYo: How do you possible move so quickly and keep your precision? Were you bitten by a radioactive Hummingbird
Augie :No, I just eat radioactive hummingbirds. I slowly digest them over a 12 day cycle while watching the Rocky movies for competitive inspiration.
In reality, much of precision and speed can be attributed to muscle memory. Some of it can also be attributed to trick design though. Tricks that flow naturally are automatically easier to do faster, because they require less sudden halts or changes in the yoyos direction.

DrYoYo: What Yo-Yo do you most commonly find yourself reaching for during a casual throw?
Augie: Mostly 888 and G5 recently-
I actually also still throw a Freehand from time to time. Most of my foundational tricks were made up on Freehands, so I have some sort of a soft spot for them.

DrYoYo: You are fresh off a win at the 2008 California State competition. What advice can you give yo-yo’ers who are preparing there freestyles?
Augie: Don’t choke. If you feel your heart rate rising to dramatic levels, chloroform, Dramamine, and horse tranquilizers can all help. Just don’t use them in combination. [Note – Augie says Heck No Techno to drugs]

DrYoYo: Other then “Don’t Choke”, and mood altering drugs, what else do you suggest?

Augie: A healthier and more socially acceptable way is to practice flowing to music that you are comfortable with. Plan your tricks out and make sure your music fits your yo-yoing style. You don’t want to choose music that will rush you too much, slow you down artificially, or disrupt the flow of your tricks.

DrYoYo: What about trick difficulty levels?

Augie: When planning, choose tricks you know you can hit, with only a few exceptions. You’ll almost always miss more on stage than you do practicing in your room, so make sure to prepare for that. Start off your freestyle with something exciting, but fairly safe… landing your 1st trick is a great way to help tame your nerves and give the audience a good 1st impression.

DrYoYo: How do you overcome pre stage jitters?
Augie: A short while ago, I would’ve just said 2 words: I don’t. But recently, I’ve realized a bit of a way to tame the nerves. You don’t necessarily need to worry too much about completely calming down and taming your nerves. You can instead focus on turning your internal nervousness into outward excitement. In that sense, it’s kinda like the flight or fight instinct… you might say that reactions of nervousness and reactions of excitement are just opposite sides of the same coin.
DrYoYo: Going to College full time and balancing your throwing habits. How do you balance and afford it?
Augie: Uhm… I don’t really afford it. I just sell a lot of semi-vital organs. Did you know you have a semi-oblong-gata-coxi? Neither did I, but it garnered me 5 bucks. That’s two slices of pizza for only an hour of invasive surgery. [Note – Augie says Heck No Techno to Organ Black Market]
DrYoYo: You also work at Bird in Hand. Is that like being at Nationals all year around?
Augie: Honestly… Chico becomes a different city at Nationals. It’s definitely the combination of the people and the hometown feel that make the event what it is. Chico’s still lovely the rest of the year, but during Nationals… it’s downright magical.

DrYoYo: Speaking of Nationals, how are you getting yourself ready for Nationals this year?
Augie: 5 raw eggs and the still beating hearts of chickens, every morning. I don’t want to tell you what I eat for lunch and dinner. –Not for the faint of heart.- [Note – Augie says Heck No Techno to Salmonella]

DrYoYo: What about your competition? Any tactic to get ready for the big names competing this year?

Augie: Intimidation. Yuuki doesn’t know this, but he’s gotta ransom note for his puppy waiting for him at home. Yuuki better take a fall for Fido. Otherwise Fido’s sticking with me, and he’s gonna take a sharp downgrade from designer Kibbles and Bits to generic off brand puppy chow. Grrrr: I’m ferocious! [Note – Augie says Heck No Techno to Tainted Dog food from China]
DrYoYo: Can we expect to see you compete in 5a this year?
Augie: I am, but I don’t have much in the way of new tricks quite yet. I just got back into 5A recently, but I’ve been hitting 1A hard for the last several months. I have probably 3 hours of new tricks filmed since just June… only I can’t remember them all!

DrYoYo: You are also a board member on the AYYA. What direction would you like to see the yo-yo industry go?
Augie:I think we should branch out into Quick 6 footballs and Cal Ripken Quick balls and alienate our customers at major public events such as the World Yoyo Contest. Oh wait… that’s already been done.
Honestly, I’d really like to see yo-yoing and it’s industry focus on creating and maintaining communities, contest, clubs, and groups of yoyo players. Communities and their social ties are what help keep people coming back to yo-yoing across their lifespan. Huge fads with massive sales numbers and tons of TV exposure are all well and good for immediate profits, but they usually experience a huge drop off where the market tanks and the player base all but dies off.

DrYoYo: What is your best experience connected to yo-yoing?
Augie: I yo-yoed at a maximum security Mexican prison (complete with a quesadilla stand!) and got the nickname El Yoyo!

DrYoYo: Wait, that really happened?
Augie: Yeah. I got to hang out with Hank Freeman and the coolest kids ever in Mexico city for the Mexican National Yoyo Contest. I indulged in the best food ever, but the Mexican version of Denny’s was totally out of churros on Hank and I’s last night there. So clearly, I must go back. Churros are a phenomenal fried pastry with cinnamon and sugar and every bite. It’s something us white boys can’t even hope to accomplish effectively.

DrYoYo: You’re a member of the YYF team and have a few signature yo-yo’s to your name already.  Anything new on the horizon?
Augie: All I’m saying is mid November. Save your allowances. Think long and hard over whether you really need two kidneys: sell one, because something better is on the way. It is totally worth it.
DrYoYo: Now, The Gong show… Any calls from female stalkers yet?
Augie: Luckily, hahaha, no calls, because my phone number isn’t listed. I did get quite a few myspace messages though, including one from SatansGirl666 and another from a gal who said, “You’re super cute! And PS! Doctor Pepper is yummy!”
So, as you can tell, the prospects aren’t exactly endless.

DrYoYo: Andy Dick… Is he as Creepy as he appears on screen?
Augie: As creepy or more so? I think that’s the real question.
In a Andy Dick Imitation “-Well, all I know… is that’s not flour.-”
In reality though, he seems like he could be a rather cool guy. Some part of his weirdness seem to really be him, the other part of his weirdness seems to be for show and attention.

DrYoYo: How does that experience compare to touring with the Ozz Fest (Which Augie did in 2007)
Augie: Cool experience! I actually showed up to the Gong Show set and one of my performer friends from Ozzfest was also there filming!

DrYoYo: On the Gong Show, one of your prizes was eating a sandwich with Subway Jared. You have to tell me, was it the best subway sandwich, like… ever?
Augie: Well… it had mayo on it. Gobs of mayo. So obviously, I had to take issue.
I know, I know. Some of you appreciate the delicate intricacies of mayo. But I have a strong aversion to any food that makes a “squelching” sound when I poke it with a finger. I’m pretty sure mayo’s the cause of childhood obesity and global warming. It’s evil, unclean, and the reason why MC Hammer gave up his rapping career to become a pastor.
Gak’s cool and all, and makes some sweet farting noises, but heck no techno I wouldn’t eat it.
However, I will admit that the sandwich I ate on TV was delicious, if only cause it was whispering sweet nothings of, “Potential endorsement deal Augie…” The advertising big buck were calling out when I mauled that sandwich. That sandwich wasn’t just gobs of mayo plopped on a few slices of turkey and ham. It was potential. It was a beach house, early retirement, and an international cruise for all my family and friends.
Plus, we all know that free food always tastes better.

You can see Augie compete at Nationals this year in Chico on October 3rd and 4th.


Chris "Dr. Yo-Yo" Allen is the creator and founder of He has been yoyoing for over 25 years and has a passion for the industry.

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