[one_half last=”no” class=”” id=””]Summer in Seattle had an early start with the Annual Powder Puff Tournament at Shorty’s (May 25). Previously a biennial tournament, Skill Shot has taken over the hosting duties and we couldn’t think of any good reason why it shouldn’t be annual, considering the number of women in the pinball scene. Thirty players came from all over the Pacific Northwest — special props to Bonnie Bedford, who came by bus from Vancouver, and the Portland ladies who came in matching team t-shirts! It was a competitive day of pinball as the Seattle gals were determined to take back the bragging rights from the out-of-towners who often win this event (Bonnie and Portland’s Emma Eichorn are both past champions). Eventually it proved to be Seattle’s own dark horse competitor Kristen Daniels who smiled her way zen-like to the top spot and became this year’s champ! Kristen’s partner Aaron McAbee’s barely constrained enthusiasm throughout the day won him the Best-Dressed-Boy contest that was held during the tourney. His prize: a PBR onesie! Power couple!
The Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show had its second event at the Tacoma Convention Center on June 6 – 8th. They occupied a larger room than last year, making it seem like there were fewer games. New to the show this year were pins like Starship Troopers, a Les Schwab Team conversion game, Stern’s new Mustang, and a see-through Surf Champ brought as part of California’s Pacific Pinball Museum exhibit. A separate row of EM pins made its return this year with a beautiful collection of rarely seen pins such as Scuba, and another section featured pins tricked out with LED’s and alternative translites for both Congo and The Shadow. Also new this year was a separate Kids Zone, set up in the lobby with Shrek and Super Mario Bros. Mushroom World amongst other kid-centric games. Kids!
For older attendees, there was a plethora of pinball tournaments this year hosted and organized by Dave Stewart and Amanda Kunzi. Dave in particular was really into it and set up many different sponsors and pre-tournaments around Seattle in the weeks beforehand, which not only awarded free entries to various NWPAAS tourneys but also accumulated prizes to give out at events. This created a lot of extra excitement for the tournaments this year, which were all very well-attended. Kayla Greet held an all women Babes in Pinland tournament one night, and James and Janice Edes hosted a Classics PinGolf competition, a format we don’t believe was present in past shows. There were also a few tournaments for rookies, kids, and less experienced players. The main event was the All-Match Play Tournament, and it was the biggest tournament at NWPAAS yet, with over 100 players and a big cash prize. Wow!
The following weekend the annual Northwest Pinball Championships took place in Marysville and drew a contingent of highly ranked IFPA players such as Keith Elwin (#1) and Zach Sharpe (#3) to the event. Hosted by Cayle George (#13) and Eden Stamm (#48), this is arguably the premier annual tournament in our region (Fraser Valley Flip Out is giving them a run for their money this year) and most of the best players in the area like Robert Gagno (#6) and Raymond Davidson (#27) were in attendance for a chance to win the large cash prizes. Elwin prevailed. Results!
Up-and-coming pinball champion Kevin Birrell turned 21 on June 22nd and celebrated this event with a pub crawl through many of the locations that were forbidden to him until now, such as Jules Maes and Add-a-Ball Amusements. Kevin, being a lover of both pinball and tournaments, organized a full-points tournament at Olaf’s for the big day, which drew around 30 folks to not only celebrate his big day but also win some of his money! Now that Kevin is legal, everyone’s high scores are being terrorized throughout the city just as we thought they would be. Terror![/one_half]
[one_half last=”yes” class=”” id=””]The second Seattle Pinball Rally was held on July 19th this year. This move from their previous October date was one that we thought would bring the machines out onto the Hilliard’s spacious patio. Instead the pins were pretty much in the same place indoors as they were last year. A tournament organized by Kevin drew a fair amount of people to the Rally, but we were kind of disappointed that this event has turned into yet another pinball tournament when Seattle has so many of them already. Rumor has it that Rally organizer Terry Wynia is contemplating turning this into a multi-day event, which should hopefully encourage more people to donate pins to the Rally as well as give non-competitive folks a chance to play the games while the tourney is held. Rumors!
A different sort of pinball tournament has made its mark on the local scene this season: Pinball Seattle! This is a (mostly) bar league/team organization that played every Monday during their first 10-week season (April – June). As a team league, it is not eligible for pinball ranking (IFPA) points and thus drew a wide range of players that you don’t normally see at competitions. The team spirit that evolved during the season caught some people off-guard and began to cause ill feelings towards the Shorty’s Silverball Slayers due to the exuberant cheering from (mostly) Brad. Still, this hostility towards the Slayers couldn’t stop their (our) near perfect record (9 – 1), which lead to an epic battle against John John’s Middle Flippers and Steve Ackley’s exuberance at the 8-Bit. The final match came down to a tie-breaking split-flipper battle that ultimately led to a Slayers victory! Look below for more details on Pinball Seattle in this issue and on our website. SLAYERS!
In other Skill Shot news: Our monthly First Sunday Tournaments at Shorty’s continue to be fun and experimental. In April, Amanda Kunzi hosted a Pinbowling tournament, June had a Keanu Reeves themed tourney that was most excellently run by Aaron McAbee, July was Kevin Birrell’s chess-timer-themed event (which was probably the most experimental one so far) and in August, Ackley hosted a Zombie-themed tournament. These tourneys are meant to be both fun and a way for people to try out different things, like hosting a tournament. On Sunday September 7th, we will be celebrating our 7th year of publishing Skill Shot with a clown party and tournament at Shorty’s! We will also premiere our newest t-shirt at the event! There will be prizes for the best clowns so please dress accordingly. The party starts at 3pm. Clowns!
Pinball Tidbits: Madison Pub has been sprucing up their collection lately with a new Mustang to go along with their Stern Star Trek pin. We guess it’s curtains soon for their Family Guy. * Another Castle Arcade Edition in Edmonds has finished their expansion and has had opening parties and tournaments for the past month. * Full Tilt Ballard has moved their weekly tournaments to Thursdays in order to participate in the Pinball Seattle league. This makes Thursdays a popular tournament night as Babes in Pinland and Flip Flip Ding Ding also have tourneys that day. To add to the confusion, Flip Flip accidentally had their biweekly tournaments on the wrong days in June due to an extra Thursday in May. Oops! * Chrome Industries opened a Seattle store in June and had six pinball machines set on free play for their grand opening, courtesy of Levi Dittebrandt. They also had free beer and tacos! * The new Comet Tavern, which has the word pinball stenciled on their windows, had the audacity to put a fan on the pins during a recent hot day. What’s up with that? * Have you heard about the new pinball bar set to open in Ballard later this year? The name and more details will be in our next issue! * Support Local Pinball! [/one_half]