Date: 29th & 30th April 2006.
Location: SS Billiards, Hopkins, Minnesota, USA.

Report by Todd "PinTed" Andersen

On the weekend of April 29th, 2006 SS Billiards in Hopkins, MN, USA, held its second annual May Day Pinball Tournaments.

The champion received “$1,000 in COLD HARD CASH !!!!!!!!!!!!”
Everyone in attendance experienced a great weekend of great food and pinball.


This year's May Day Pinball Tournaments were planed from the start to be different than last year's pinball tournaments.

In order to understand the changes, we went right to the source, this year's tournament director, Lloyd Olson (LTG) of SS Billiards, and asked him a few questions.

(PBN) Do you think that the short amount of time between your spring Pinball Circus, held this April 1st, will have any affect on this year's May Day Pinball Tournaments, starting on April 29th; seeing as May Day will be held less than thirty days after PBC?

(LTG) It may affect some people that travel and can't attend every event they'd like to. Also both events may draw different people. So I don't think one will affect the other. I'm hoping they compliment each other.

(PBN) Lloyd, are this year's May Day tournaments going to be different than last year's?

(LTG) Yes, there have been some changes.

(PBN) What will be some of the specific differences?

(LTG) Two days instead of four. Lower cash prize, and one prize. There is one winner, no second best. You either win or you don't. Shirts and Famous Dave Ribs included in the pre registration price.

(PBN) What are some of the reasons that made the changes necessary?

(LTG) Make the event more manageable and a better chance at having it continue into the future every year. Not just a one shot blow out that is never done again.

(PBN) After all of the work you did getting ready for this year's May Day Pinball Tournaments, do you currently have any thoughts and/or plans concerning making any changes for improving next year's tournaments?

(LTG) After the event I will look at what went good and what could be improved. I don't foresee any changes, but if anything comes up that could improve the event I would consider it.

Lloyd let me in early get pictures of him setting up.
Lloyd readying the pinball machines while I ate one of his doughnuts. (Don't tell him.)


Those who were smart or fortunate enough to have registered for the tournaments on line or via email, by Friday April 21st, only had to pay a $40 registration fee.

No on-line registrations were accepted after the 21st. Thought walk-in registrations were welcome up to and including the day of the event, those who registered at the entrance had to pay a $50 registration fee.

Pictured is Lloyd readying the registration desk.
Gary registered early and was the first to check in.


Everyone who pre-registered received a T-shirt commemorating the even and a belly full of Famous Dave's BBQ pork ribs and chicken; with all the fixings, including corn muffin, coleslaw, and drunkin' apples for desert.

People who signed up at the door didn’t get one of the limited T-shirts, but Lloyd did make sure they all got the opportunity to get a good meal at the nearby EZ Foods Deli. Late registrants had choice of: hot and cold subs, gyros, Philly Steak sandwiches, and several deserts to choose from.

The food smelled so incredible I ate the muffin before I even thought about taking a picture. (The food tasted even better than it smelled.)

The spring color T-shirt commemorating May Day 2006.
(Only early enrollees got one of these limited Ts.)


Saturday, April 29th

Practice got under way at 12.00pm and went until 2:00pm. Qualifying rounds started at 2:00pm and went until 11:30pm. During the qualifying rounds, from about 7:00pm until 8:00pm, a break was taken for food. This is when Lloyd had dinner delivered from the afore mentioned Famous Dave's. This is also the time when those who did not pre-register went next door to the delicatessen or to a neighborhood restaurant.

Shown are just a few of the people practicing.

Competitors playing seriously to earn points.

Competitors earning points during a typical day at the arcade.
Um … Famous Dave's!



Even with a one-hour break for dinner seventeen people had a chance of competing in eighteen rounds to earn their place in the top half of the qualifying rounds. Though, not everyone competed in every round.

Missing a round or loosing in that round earned the player 0 points.
Getting a “bye” with the luck of the draw or winning that round earned the player 1 point.
The lowest point total collected was the lowest possible of 0 points.
The highest total of collected point was a very impressive 15 points.
The average was 7.6 points.

Some highlights were that the majority of those in attendance, ten of seventeen people, competed in every half-hourly qualifying round from 2:00pm until 11:30pm.

Paul Madison was the best point earner, collecting 15 points in 18 rounds.

In the end, the points were counted like those on “Who's Line is it anyway?”; they didn't mater. As the number of players who promised to attend was higher than those who attended, Lloyd allowed everyone who had at least one qualifying point to compete in Sunday's big tournament. If you look at the chart above, you can see that the turn of events was a lucky break for me.

Lloyd using his computerized, scientific method of drawing names.
Players pairing up to compete for points.

There were only two problems reported over the entire weekend. These two little problems were found on different machines. But, both instances happened on Saturday night.

The first problem was the smaller diameter wire which broke off of one of the flipper coils on Tales from the Crypt. Second and last was, a flipper base plate that broke on Monster Bash. Lloyd quickly and expertly performed these easy fixes after close on Saturday. Lloyd waited until close because, unlike last year, and for good reason, he did not want anyone but himself in the machines until all of the May Day events were finished.

Sunday, April 30th

Practice was again held from 12.00pm until 2:00pm.

Shown, serious players warming up again.
Tina got in early enough to delve into the machine.


The temporarily moved Saturday Night Pinball Tournament started promptly at 4:00pm and was easily finished by 6:00pm.

Eight people competed, best two-out-of-three, in the temporarily moved Saturday Night Pinball tournament.

Play for this mini-tournament went as shown below.

Dave (L)
Jesse (W)
Jesse (W)    
    Jesse (W)  
Paul (L)
Nick (L)    
      Jesse = Winner SNP at May Day 2006!
Tina (L)
Derek (W)
Derek (W)    
    Derek (L)  
Ross (L)
Gary (W)
Gary (L)    

Jesse won $25.00 cash by besting all, then Derek in the final round, on Twilight Zone.

The proud winner posing at the game he proved he could play.


Part of the normal Saturday Night Pinball is the Goose Egg Tournament. This pinball tournament was also moved over from its normal time slot of Saturday night. The Goose Egg was a one-ball challenge with the player playing “backwards”; that is, the player had to place his left hand on the right flipper button and vice-versa. The Goose Egg ran from 12:00pm until 12:00am. I don't know the number of people or attempts concerning the Goose Egg competition, but I do have some highlights.

Early on, Dave (Styx) G. was the first person to play the Goose Egg. He scored a very respectable 26,951,660 points.

Tina Curtis played in the late afternoon. Her score of 81,579,010 points was unbeatable until late Sunday evening.

At about 9:00pm, Boyd Epeneter scored a seemingly unbeatable 149,650,620 points.

But, just after 11:30pm, Nick Foss scored and truly unbelievable 190,407,230 points. Nick really earned his $25.00 cash prize.

Many tried their hand at the Goose Egg mini-tournament.



Immediately upon their arrival, all players had to register or sign in at the door. Those who had pre-registered, of course, only had to sign in. Unlike last year, no one was double charged for “lost” entries.


On Saturday, very close to every half hour, two names were drawn at random. At that time, one game was also drawn at random, for the pair of associated names. One round was played on the game and the winner received one point. At the end of the day, the top 50% of the point leaders was planned to advance to Sunday's head-to-head competition. This was the planned course of events. But, everyone who earned points on Saturday was allowed to compete on Sunday.


Elimination rounds were again head-to-head play, but it was best-two-of-three. This format was followed until there was one “Pinball Wizard”. This philosophy was the same as Lloyd's, “There can be only ONE” Pinball Circus philosophy.


NO bang backs were allowed.
NO death saves were allowed.
The same “draw” format was followed as the qualifying round.
But, competition was best two out of three.
For each round, the winner advance to the next round.
The final two players played on a game that was randomly drawn.
All decisions of the tournament director were final. (See Tournament Decisions below.)


Those few who helping maintain or repair games even a month prior to the May Day Tournaments were not allowed to compete.


If an easy problem happened, (ie. a stuck ball) the ball was quickly unstuck and, when possible, the ball was returned to shooter lane. Tournament play was continued.
If a bigger problem occurred, (ie. a flipper quit) game play was started over on a new machine. Credits were refunded for these two instances.


The pinball machines were left on their normal settings. Extra earned balls were played. Lloyd also left his pinball machines in their normal positions. He also left the normal $0.50 per game or $2.00 for five games pricing. This was to make the tournaments feel the more like early PAPA tournaments. Approximately twenty games were available. In alphabetical order the games available were:

Attack From Mars
Banzai Run
Bram Stroker's Dracula
Demolition Man
Eight Ball Deluxe (LE)
Elvis (Gold)
Indianapolis 500
Lord of The Rings
Medieval Madness
Monster Bash
No Good Go'l'phers
Safe Cracker
South Park
Tales from the Crypt
The Addams Family (Gold)
Twilight Zone

The 2006 May Day Tournament started promptly at 6:00pm. Though only three rounds were played, the tournament lasted until the next day at 1:30am. Player order was determined by the draw. The person who had his name drawn first was the one who played first.

May Day played out in just three rounds as shown below.

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3
Paul Madison (W)
Patrick Sperry (L)
South Park
Derek Fugate (L)
John Ross (W)
The Addams Family (Gold)
John Ross (L)
Paul Madison (W)
Jesse Howard (L)
Lord of The Rings
Jesse Howard (W)
Terry Web (L)
Twilight Zone
Gary Barth (L)
Paul Madison (W)
Medieval Madness
Tina Curtis (W)
Nick Foss (L)
Demolition Man
Tom Larson (L)
Jesse Howard (W)
Tina Curtis (L)
Bram Stroker's Dracula

John Ross (W)
Eric Schmitt (L)
Indianapolis 500


Boyd Epeneter (L)
Gary Barth (W)
Tales from the Crypt


Derek Fugate (W)
Todd Andersen (L)
Eight Ball Deluxe (LE)


Tom Larson (W)
Kevin Dreyling (L)
Tim Larson (L)


Some of the May Day 2006 competitors.
The three finalists: John Ross, Paul Madison, and Jesse Howard.

The three finalists, a few onlookers, and of course Lloyd stayed until the May Day tournament ended about 1:30 Monday morning. The length of the tournament truly made this a May Day event.

A very happy and deserving Paul Madison won $1,000.00 cash by winning best three-of-five on Lord of The Rings.


Lloyd already planned next year's May Day Tournaments. They will be held on April 28th & 29th, 2007.



All pictures courtesy and property of Lloyd Olson, SS Billiards.


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