Originally published in Skill Shot 17, February 2011

The 13th Annual Shorty’s Pinball Tournament was once again big fun this year. Lots of players from Vancouver, Portland and (even) Spokane (Anthony) made the trip to Seattle to try their skills against the hometown crew. Host Larry Reid presided over the event in his typical manner (ie: a loud microphone and  seemingly disorganized paper score sheets) and as usual the CFF gang from Portland had a pretty solid showing, as did Robert Gagno from BC, who placed third. The final match was Levi Lowe vs. Cayle George, with the final win going to Levi. This seemed to surprise a lot of people, who considered him an underdog despite winning 3 previous tournaments. In another upset, Skill Shot’s Gordon won Most Enthusiastic Contestant over an exuberant Cheeseboat and previous champ Timmy Smith. Go Team Skill Shot!

The Seattle Pinball League (SPL) finished 2010 with tournaments held at Andrew Nunes’ in October, James and Janice Eades’ (LYWAH) in November, and Jeff Groper’s new house in December. The December tournament was the SPL’s 2010 Finals with the top 12 players battling it out Round Robin style. SPL probably won’t do the Round Robin tournament again anytime soon, since this one began at 1 PM and lasted until after 11! Robert Gagno did better this time, taking 1st place, with Raymond Davidson in 2nd and Jamie Beth in 3rd.

Robert was recently featured in an article in the Seattle Weekly written by Caleb Hannan. Although it was a nice article about Robert, it was less so for some of the others mentioned. Of course we think the article could have been improved with mentions of the Seattle Pinball Museum (SPM) and Skill Shot. Along with the bruised feelings, apparently the Weekly’s photographers made a nuisance of themselves at the November SPL Tourney, and Caleb was asked not to attend the December Final. Ouch!

In other tournament news: The first annual Canada/USA Pinball Border Brawl happened on January  15th. The contest included the top 12 players from the SPL and the Vancouver Regional Pinball Association (VPRA), which was interesting as both groups have some of the same members. The USA was victorious! The Seattle Pinball Museum has begun having monthly tournaments on the second Thursday of each month. While we haven’t made it to one yet it, it sounds like they are bringing in some different contestants than other tournaments. Way to go! The SPM will be hosting the next SPL tournament on February 5th, and SPM’s next Thursday tournament is Feb 10th.

The Sunday Tournament at Shorty’s has changed to a monthly format that includes a potluck brunch and an earlier starting time (3PM). The Sunday Tournaments had been suffering from a lack of participation for a number of months and this format has breathed new life into it. Hosted by Paul and Jawn the next Sunday tournament is Feb 6th. Shorty’s bartender Jawn has also been organizing the Ballard Pinball Tournaments for a while now. These are roaming tournaments that take place at a number of locations (including Headley and Claire’s apartment!) and the format usually depends on the number of participants. Unique and fun! The next Ballard tournament is Feb. 21.

Other upcoming tournaments: Dorky’s Valentine Day Couples Tournament on Feb 14th; The 3rd Annual Georgetown Open on March 13th; the first Greenwood Pinball Open on April 20th; and Shorty’s bi-annual Powder Puff Tournament on May 22. Anatomically female only!

We can only assume that when Stern’s new Rolling Stones machine is released there will be a launch/tournament like they’ve had for previous pins. The Avatar launch/tournament was held at the Waterfront Arcade back on Oct 15th, which was a curious place to hold it since we’re sure not many locals go there often. Ultimately the Arcade proved to be too cramped for the large crowd that showed up. We can only hope that the next one is held at Gameworks again where there is plenty of room (and beer). Yes, if you hadn’t already heard, the next Stern machine is going to be Rolling Stones and not TRON like almost everyone was hoping. It’s quite ugly from what we’ve seen online, and we love the Stones!

Skill Shot 16 actually debuted at the Avatar event and we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped us fold (especially KSH, CAD and LLD who folded 500 copies!) and distribute each and every issue. If you ever visited our Myspace page to look at the online version of our Pinball List, you can stop now as we have finally given up on Myspace. Look for our newly redesigned website to launch in February (www.skill-shot.com) where we will have not only the Pinball List, but also past and future articles from the zine, comics, featured online content and other fun stuff.

If you have been following our The One To Beat (TOTB) challenge lately you have noticed that there has been some confusion since DOC’s GC score on the T2 at Al’s. We contemplated making the Highline’s Attack From Mars or Canterbury’s White Water the next TOTB but decided against it because of the unreliability of those pins. Instead, the new TOTB is the Batman at Shorty’s that has been reset back to its factory settings. We hope that this pin will stay TOTB for a while. Look for updates on our website!

Pinball Tidbits: Madison Pub may have finally fixed their broken Iron Man! They sent it to the shop so lets hope it now works; The Grizzled Wizard’s Black Knight 2000 is the saddest pin in Seattle because the DMD has been broken since last October and you can’t see any scores; Pink Gorilla no longer has any games because they had a fight with Bobby; Marv’s Broiler briefly had a second pin (Aztec) and then suddenly no pins (we smell a mystery); Olympia has a pinball zine called Slam Tilt, find them on Facebook; Did you see the CFF/Robocop pin in a film at the last HUMP Festival? We missed it too; There’s a new pinball manufacturer, Jersey Jack Pinball! Their first game will be based on The Wizard of Oz.

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