Date: 28th & 29th April 2007.
Report by Todd "PinTed" Andersen
On the weekend of April 28th, 2007 SS Billiards in Hopkins, MN held its third annual May Day Pinball Tournament.
This year's May Day Pinball Tournament was planned from the start to be different to the first year's pinball tournament.
Those who registered for the tournament on line or via email by Friday April 20th, only had to pay a $40.00 registration fee. Pre-registration guaranteed a commemorative T-shirt and a great meal!
No on-line registrations were accepted after the 20th. Though walk-in registrations were welcome up to and including the day of the event, those who registered at the entrance had to pay a $50.00 registration fee, but were not guaranteed the shirt or meal.
Everyone who pre-registered received a T-shirt commemorating the event 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.
Saturday, April 28th
Practice got under way at 12.00pm and went until 2:00pm. Qualifying rounds started at 2:00pm and went until 11:30pm.
For a large part of the day on Saturday only, Andrew Barney represented Pinball Life by bringing in pinball parts for sale. Parts included, but were not limited to: lamps, flipper rubbers, and pinball legs.
Later in the day, during the qualifying rounds from 7:00pm until 8:00pm, a break was taken for food. This is when Lloyd had dinner delivered from Famous Dave's. And, in order to take care of the two people who pre-registered and had special food needs, Lloyd ordered pizza from American Pie. The dinner hour allowed those who did not pre-register time to go to a neighborhood restaurant.
For qualifying rounds, Molly was randomly drawn Banzai Run three consecutive times. On the fourth time that Molly got Banzai Run by luck-of-the-draw, Lloyd polled the crowd to see if anyone minded if Molly could be drawn a different game. The crowd agreed. But when Molly got stuck on Banzai Run the fifth time, she had to compete on that game.
Even with a one-hour break for dinner, twenty-one people had a chance of competing in eighteen rounds each. Not everyone competed in every round.
Missing a round or losing in that round earned the player 0 points.
The lowest point total collected was 1 point.
The majority of those in attendance - thirteen of twenty-one people - competed in every half-hourly qualifying round from 2:00pm until 11:30pm.
Zach Sharpe was the best point earner, collecting 16 points in 18 rounds.
There were only three problems reported over the entire weekend. These three little problems were found on different machines and all happened on Saturday.
First was a stuck "Power Ball" on Twilight Zone. Lloyd quickly freed the stuck ball and placed it in the shooter lane; game play continued.
Second was the kicker rubber, which broke late Saturday night, on Pinball Magic. Not wanting to change the "play" of the machine too much, Lloyd changed just the broken rubber after the arcade closed.
Third was the broken plastic, on Demolition Man. Because the plastic was affecting game play, Lloyd immediately repaired the broken plastic.
Sunday, April 29th
Practice was again held from 12.00pm until 2:00pm. But, no one showed up to practice until closer to 2:00pm.
SATURDAY NIGHT PINBALL & GOOSE EGG
Because of low attendance at last year's mini-tournaments and lack of interest in this year's mini-tournaments - Saturday Night Pinball and the Goose Egg - were cancelled.
MAY DAY PINBALL 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. Everyone who got at least one qualifying point at the 2007 May Day Pinball Tournament received 0.33 points.
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 75% of the point leaders was planned to advance to Sunday's head-to-head competition. The 75 % mark was based on the fact that last year, eight points seemed to be the natural cut off point. Everyone who earned at least one qualifying point at the 2007 May Day Pinball Tournament received 0.33 WPPR points.
Elimination rounds were again head-to-head play, but it was usually best-two-of-three. As there were no "byes", in some cases, a third player was added to a group. Only when a third player was introduced, game play changed to best-three-of-five. This format was followed until there was one “Pinball Wizard”. The layout of the arcade was left as normal. No machines were moved for players or arranged into groups for different divisions. These conditions were to keep the original spirit of PAPA. That is, either you proved that you could play competition pinball; or not. The only deviation from "normal" game play was the final round; where the players asked to have the "extra balls" turned-off after the first game was played. As this was at the request of all of the players, Lloyd happily obliged. Everyone who qualified to compete received 1.15 WPPR points.
NO bang backs were allowed.
Starting a month prior to the May Day, anyone who helped maintain or repair games did so only under the direct supervision of the tournament director.
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.
For the most parts, 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. Approximately twenty games were available. In alphabetical order the games available were:
Attack From Mars
The 2007 May Day Pinball Tournament elimination rounds started promptly at 6:00pm and finished by 8:00pm. Players determined the order by: flip of a coin, paper/rock/scissors, or agreement.
The tournament played out in just three rounds as shown below.
Besides Lloyd and the three finalists, only a few onlookers stayed until the May Day tournament ended.
Lloyd has already announced plans to change the next pinball tournament. The new Pinball Masters Tournament is now planned to be part of the expanded Pinball Circus on October 20th and 21st, 2007.
All pictures courtesy and property of Lloyd Olson, SS Billiards.