Date: Saturday 7th October, 2006.
Report by Todd "PinTed" Andersen.
On October 2nd 2004, SS Billiards in Hopkins, MN, USA changed from its Goose themed parties to a customer appreciation party, Pinball Circus. On October 7th 2006, Lloyd hosted yet another great circus. The circus lasted from 12:00pm until almost 4:30am the next morning.
It's hard to believe that an entire circus fit inside this small suburban arcade.
As is always true, Lloyd was solely responsible for: funding, hosting, organizing, setting up, and tearing down the Pinball Circus. But because this circus included so many new things, this time he couldn't do it all alone.
In the picture on the right, do you notice the differences in Lloyd's new counter?
As always, Lloyd was mindful of the fact that the pinball-centric party would interfere with the plans of his “regular” pool players. So, to keep the interference to a minimum, Lloyd had to set up for Saturday's Pinball Circus on Friday night, after he closed.
Lloyd and others who contributed to the circus came in at about 11:00am to setup.
Lloyd's regular pinball lineup included: Addams Family Gold, Attack from Mars, Banzai Run, Corvette, Demolition Man, Dracula (WMS), Eight Ball Deluxe LE, Indianapolis 500, Lord of the Rings, Medieval Madness, Monster Bash, Nascar, No Good Go‘l'phers, Pinball Magic, Safe Cracker, South Park, Tales From The Crypt, Twilight Zone.
Additional pinball machines brought in for the circus were: Big Bang Bar, Black Pyramid, Cleopatra, Dr. Dude, Eight Ball, No Fear, Taxi and Terminator 3. The first time, a few years back, Bob Hansen brought in his Eight Ball was the first ever “guest pin” brought in for on of Lloyd's parties.
And, Andrew Barney represented Pinball Life by bringing in pinball parts for sale at ridiculously low prices. Parts included, but were not limited to: bulbs, playfield glass, and pinball legs. Andrew also donated a set of legs to the charity raffle.
Tickets were normally $20 per person. But, you were only charged $10 if you had already registered for the SS Billiards Player's Card or if were a regular customer. Those who complained were jokingly asked to pay $50. If you joined the circus only to attend the seminar, you did not get a ticket. But, Lloyd did let you in for free. For those who bought tickets, your ticket gave you: entrance into the arcade, up to twelve hours of free play, free food, free drink, and a chance to win a door prize . Ticket sales were day of event only and only available at the door.
Lloyd tried to enhance the circus atmosphere with the smells and tastes of fun foods. He offered pizzas with several different toppings and arranged for the pizzas to be delivered from Papa John's about every hour and a half.
Lloyd offered pizza, popcorn, hot dogs, and several different choices of soda and Pinball Renaissance provided bottled water. Shawn Vento picked up a couple of cases of Coke late in the day. Jason Rufer let Lloyd use his food warmer, to keep the hot dogs nice and toasty. Darren Rufer manned the warmer for most of the day. Matt brought in two huge trays of chicken wings. Unfortunately for us circus-goers, Denise, who had made goodies for the attendees of previous circuses, moved to another state. So she could not share in all of the circus fun or share the treats she usually brings. But luckily for us, Tina - a regular circus attendee - stepped up and brought huge bowls of homemade cookies and rice crispy treats to share with everyone.
At 2:00pm “Pinball Renaissance” was supposed to host a free soldering/desoldeing seminar, sponsored by SS Billiards. But because Lloyd was so busy doing his best to ensure that all of his guests were happy, we didn't have electricity for the seminar until about 2:20pm.
Dave was the first person to register for the seminar. So Dave was rewarded with a Frankenstein translite.
Each person who registered was given: the written material for the seminar including the test, a practice board for desoldering, a practice board for soldering that included pinball parts, and also a set of tools. The seminar covered both theory and hands on training for working on pinball boards. The seminar was scheduled to run for one hour. But, because only two people showed up for the seminar, extended individual training was given. This one-on-one training made the seminar last an extra 20 minutes.
You can see the seminar's written material for yourself by
By the start of the seminar, due to all of the extra games and bodies, and though Lloyd opened both of the front doors and the back door, it was it was almost unbearably hot inside Lloyd's little arcade. The room was still warm the following morning.
Though he added drawings for a fundraiser, Lloyd still kept the drawings for free door prizes. Random drawings occurred throughout the entire day but you had to join the circus to qualify. In order to enter these drawings, all you had to do was to separate your perforated entry ticket bottom and place it in the jar with the other ticket stubs. So those who arrived early had a better chance of winning than those who arrived later in the day.
The drawings were for either a fall 2006 Pinball Circus T-shirt or a mug. See the chart below for the list of winners.
Pinball Circus Door Prize Ticket Drawings
The above list is organized by ascending order of the last three digits of the raffle ticket numbers.
Lloyd held four tournaments for this installment of Pinball Circus. The first to finish was a single elimination tournament. Lloyd held his Saturday Night Pinball competition, the Goose Egg. And Pinball Renaissance provided a game for the Last Man Standing high score competition. Lloyd also held one-day tournaments on his three ToPS games.
Saturday Night Pinball Competition
Though Lloyd has stated that the last few pinball tournaments should have started earlier, the Saturday Nigh pinball tournament started at it usual 6:00pm. And it wasn't over until about 9:00pm. This was one hour after the Pinball Circus Single Elimination Pinball Tournament was supposed to start. The winner was awarded a trophy and a $25 cash prize.
The SNP Tournament was single elimination, best two-of-three. It proceeded thusly. The loser's name is signified with a strikethrough .
Round 4 (Final)
The High Score “goose competition” started at 6:00pm and was over at 12:00am. The “goose game” was Safe Cracker . The “goose egg” of the goose game, was that you had to play backwards; from the rule sheet “- Butt to Coin Door”.
The SNP tournament winner had time to try the Goose Egg contest. In fact he gave the first attempt. Eric scored 822,480 points. Later that night, Guy Gedes scored an amazing 902,790 points. Guy was the winner. He was awarded a $25 cash prize.
LAST MAN STANDING TOURNAMENT
Like all events at the Pinball Circus, there was no charge to compete in this high score tournament. The LMS Pinball Tournament ran from 12:00 noon till 12:00 midnight.
To keep play fair, Pinball Renaissance brought in a pinball machine that was not normally in Lloyd's arcade. That game was Black Pyramid. Many found Black Pyramid a very fun and interesting game just to play. So, some people played the game just for the sake of having fun.
One of the competitors was Dave Gorka. Dave had the first high score of 1,123,380 points. Dave and Nick Foss started a friendly rivalry. By night's end, Nick had the highest score of 5,051,880 points; earning him a NOS Surf 'n Safari translite.
Because the ToPS tournaments ran continuously from noon till midnight, they were popular with those who had been knocked out of the single elimination tournament.
NASCAR® Tournament Winner
Pirates of the Caribbean Tournament Winner
Lord of The Rings™ Tournament Winner
SINGLE ELIMINATION TOURNAMENT
The single elimination pinball tournament was best-two-of-three. The competition was supposed to start at 8:00pm. But due to the length the Saturday Night Pinball Tournament ran, the single elimination tournament didn't start until about 9:00pm. The tournament ended at about 3:30am. Each set of players and games were chosen at random. Sometime during the late hours of this tournament, the autographed Pirates of the Caribbean movie poster, which Andrew Barney loaned to Lloyd, disappeared.
The top few places of the Fall 2006 Pinball Circus Single Elimination Tournament were awarded WPPR points. The pinball tournament proceeded thusly. As above, the loser's name is signified with a strikethrough .
Round 4 (Final)
Totally undefeated with 1st place was Dave Gorka.
After over just over six hours of grueling competition, Dave finally got his just rewards of $100.00 cash and a large trophy.
Besides announcing that this year was going to be bigger and better with: a local game room vendor, an out of state pinball parts vendor, a free pinball machine repair seminar, pinball and video machines for sale; Lloyd's original announcement was amended with the addition of a fundraiser.
The fundraiser was a charity raffle for Giving it Back to Kids, benefiting children with heart disease. Many pin-heads donated prizes for the raffle. Many other pin-heads bought tickets for just $1 each. Many people purchased lots of ten or more tickets, thus increasing their chances of winning one of the many prizes.
There was a PoTC translite autographed by Dennis Nordman, other translites, plastics autographed by Pat Lawlor. There were different Pinball News pinball circuits. There were even world renowned EXECUTIVE Pin Footies from Bryan Kelly. One great donation was from Al at Action Pinball Warehouse. Al donated a counter top video game. One of the most sought after prizes was the 3D - lenticular apron card for Medieval Madness.
The oddest thing was “vegemite on a shingle”. Single serving were sold for $1.00.
Lloyd originally intended on making the raffle drawings at 11:00pm on Saturday. But because his tournaments lasted so long, the drawings were postponed until nearly 4:00am Sunday morning.
You did not have to attend the circus in order to buy a raffle ticket. All you had to do was to mail your request to Lloyd. Many different raffle items were won. Winners who could not attend the circus celebration, therefore could not directly receive their prizes, were mailed their prizes. See the chart below for details.
Party MN - Pinball Circus Raffle Ticket Drawings
The above list is organized by ascending order of the last four digits of the raffle ticket numbers.
Lloyd added money to the raffle fund, so an even amount was raised in raffle ticket sales. Because of the donation from the people listed above, and the generosity of the people who bought raffle tickets, a total of $900 was raised in raffle ticket sales. Another $21 was raised in vegemite sales. And the silent auction for the playfields AFM and TaF; raised an astounding $1,210. Cayle George of Kirkland, WA, USA , won the AFM playfield with a bid of $560. And Mary Ellen Dunning of Ottawa, ON, Canada had the greatest bid of $650; winning the TAF playfield.
With the efforts of all of the above, a grand total of $2,131 was raised. This was enough to just exceed Lloyd's fundraising goal of $2,000. The best news is that, Ta Ngoc Hgyen Lan, the 6 year-old girl will get her much needed heart surgery.
(Author's personal note: My wishes go out to Ta Ngoc Hgyen Lan and my congratulations go out to Lloyd .)