Date: April 4th & 5th, 2009.
The Pinball Circus is held twice a year at SS Billiards. Back in October 2007 the Circus was expanded from a single day to cover the whole weekend. Another change was made for the spring 2008 Pinball Circus. As was previously reported, a greater emphasis was to be put on Saturday’s events, allowing Sunday to be a little less structured. However, as was announced and updated, there were two tournaments held on Sunday.
As per usual, set up was the sole responsibility of Lloyd. Changing the arcade over to the Circus format began after closing on Friday night and continued into the early hours of Saturday morning. As always, the purpose of setting up “The Circus” overnight was to lessen the impact on the regular customers.
The Circus was scheduled to begin at noon on Saturday so final arrangements began at eleven o’clock Saturday morning. Balloons were inflated while the food and drinks were made ready.
The line up of pinball machines available for free play at the Spring 2009 Circus are shown below in order of grouping.
Also brought in for this Circus were:
Ship Ahoy was given a pre-Circus check and it seemed party ready. But on the first morning of the event, the game would not boot-up. As the Spring 2009 Pinball Circus was already under way, there was no time to troubleshoot the truly unique system of this game.
The only reported problems with Lloyd’s normal games were a switch that had fallen off the saucer on Demolition Man and a wire that had fallen off a coil on Attack from Mars. These two minor problems were fixed on the spot.
Lloyd also wanted Circus goers to know that out-of-sight pinball machine sales were available. And, most importantly, Lloyd wanted everyone to know up front who helped make the Circus possible.
The Road Show sold not a week after the circus. As of the writing of this article, there was a single “lookie-lou” who had inquired about the Jacks to Open and there was much ado about the Fathom, but no other sales have been finalized.
With a bit of careful review of some of the pictures throughout this article, you may notice that many of the machines were fitted with glare guards.
PinTed, of the one and only and original Pinball Renaissance, made it possible for Lloyd to sell special color-changing LEDs and Flashers.
A ticket for the Circus cost $25 for both Saturday and Sunday, or $15 for just Sunday. With purchase of a ticket you received unlimited: play on all the machines, cans of pop, hot dogs, and Papa John's magical disappearing pizza. Your ticket also allowed you entry into the pinball tournaments.
On top of all of the food and pinball, throughout the entire day on Saturday, the number on your ticket could be matched for prize drawings. So, those who registered early had a better chance of winning.
The following picture is blurry because I was ever so gently “bumped” by someone rushing to engulf a piece of pizza. Later in the day, despite the pizza frenzy, the entire table stopped when an eleven year old girl tried to get a piece of cheese pizza.
The first of the tournaments was Saturday Night Pinball.
This tournament began at 6pm and players could register for free. The twenty-two who did had their names drawn in pairs in order to compete against each other. Each match up of players could choose the machine on which to compete and player order. The first person to win two games progressed to the next round. This same format continued until there was a winner.
The Saturday Night Pinball final came down to Dave Gorka and John Jundt. The last game of the final was won by John; who collected $50 and a trophy.
At regular times throughout Saturday, Lloyd held drawing of ticket stubs. Besides helping with balloons, Bryan Kelly also helped draw the ticket stubs. Bryan randomly pulled stubs out of a bucket and Lloyd announced prizes.
The change of having a designated drawer was to avoid what happened last fall at the previous Circus, when the first couple of draws caused much ballyhoo as the people drawing tickets managed to draw their own numbers out of the bucket.
Prizes for this Circus included Pinball Circus mugs and T-shirts from previous events, and other assorted gifts.
The list of the thirty door prize winners, in order of numbers drawn, is:
As with the SNP Tournament, the PC Tournament was free to enter for those who had purchased tickets, but players were paired-up and their three games were chosen by the luck of the draw.
The remaining two players continued into the final round and competed as they had all along; in a best two-of-three format. The three finalists were Boyd, John Jundt and Jessie Howard.
The last game of the final round was won by Jessie; who collected: $50, a trophy and a complete entrance package to PAPA.
While the rest of the day's events were taking place, there was a running Goose Egg Tournament held on Indiana Jones. Contestants had to play their game keeping their right hand on the right flipper button and their left hand on the backbox. Jim Stoddard earned the highest score and the $20 cash prize.
As usual, there were also ToPS High Score Competitions. These High Score Tournaments were free to play and ran from noon 'til midnight. Each winner earned a $20 cash prize.
Sunday was a continuation of the Circus; where there was a Zen Tournament held and also the Pinball Masters Tournament.
Before the tournaments began, players got a chance to practice on machines which were still on “free play”.
The Zen Pinball Tournament started at 6:00 pm. The tournament was played in the following way: Players paired up, pairs competed against each other and each player of their two person team manned one side of the machine. Manner of competition was - once the ball in play stopped, the pair had to switch sides. Once the ball drained, the other team has its chance to do the same. The team with the higher score after one game was the winner and advanced. The winning Zen team was awarded a trophy and $50 to share.
The Pinball Masters tournament started at 8:00 pm and continued until there was one best player. The tournament director drew player/game match-ups. This was a single elimination tournament. Because PAPA packages were donated, Lloyd made a change from his “only one” philosophy to include three top places. But, the true master player who made it all the way to the end without a single loss was Nick Foss. Nick collected: $100.00, a trophy and a complete PAPA entrance package.
After an entire weekend of playing pinball, the Spring 2009 Pinball Circus came to an end. Although Lloyd had some help starting this iteration of The Pinball Circus, after close he was left alone to clean up and put things back in time for the opening on Monday morning.
Lloyd made a point to publicly thank all those who had contributed in some way to this latest Pinball Circus.
Dates for both the May Day Pinball Tournament and the fall 2009 Circus are in the Diary section, so start making your plans to visit now.