Date: May 18th - 20th, 2012
Report by Mario Van Cleave
It took us unreasonably long to get this article out, and we apologize, but finally…here it is!
The 2012 version of Pin-a-Go-Go was a blast. Three days of pinball fun for the enthusiast, collectors, parts-seekers, vendors, nostalgia-seekers, or just fun for the whole family. There was even a PinGolf Tournament.
This annual event is put on by pinball enthusiasts from all over Northern California as a benefit for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Sacramento.
We raised $13,470 this year!
The money has been divided between the Dixon Teen Center and Boys & Girls Club of Greater Sacramento. This year the organizers managed to involve the Dixon Teen Center, and they responded enthusiastically with volunteers and a full snack bar.
The final game list featured over 200 games and can be seen here:
A fantastic video was on the greater Sacramento Valley Area News!
This video tour was made available by Will White for Pinball News:
And Will also made this one with Larry Zartarian talking about some of the woodrails he brought to Pin-A-Go-Go:
This show has a cast of dedicated people that not only work the weekend of the show but also spend a lot of time during the year preparing for the next show. The main organizers during this edition of the show were:
There are many others behind the scenes that usually don’t get much recognition once the show starts, but they don’t care. It’s about the show. You can always spot them in the crowd with their 'Staff' shirts on and with a big smile to go with it. A lot of love and devotion to the hobby takes place here in Northern California.
If you have never been to Dixon, CA for this show, it has great county fair atmosphere. Held at the Dixon Fairgrounds, just stones throw from Sacramento and the greater Bay Area, its location is fabulous. Plenty of parking for attendees, including RV parking. As an added bonus, attendees have also been treated to car shows, dog shows, and antique fairs on the grounds the same weekend.
The hall is always clean and well maintained. The weather can range from warm to downright hot to rainy. It’s a toss-up and you just might get all three on the same day!
Pin-A-Go-Go is one of three chances during the year to find all the best pinball minds on the entire west coast in one place. From the vendors to the repair techs attending any pinhead can get direction and assistance to keep that prized game running like it should. Here you can grab regular attendee repair legends like Steve Charland and Tim Meighan.
I might even answer a question or two.
Here’s the floor layout of the main room:
THE UNLOADING BEGINS...
One of the nice things about the way the show is run is that it is understood what it takes to bring this amount of equipment into a facility in short time. Many are able to get in a day or two ahead of time to get set up and tuned in.
The fabulous crew of 'Pinball Medics' is always on the job to keep the show games running. It doesn’t hurt when you have great parts vendors in the house either!
Here is what is known as the Pinball Hospital, where the sick machines are taken to be well again. Sometimes getting them off the playing floor is so much better than trying to get them up and running in a crowd. Did you ever notice as soon as a playfield goes up a crowd gathers? It’s like a pinhead magnet.
Special thanks to super techs Timathie Eisenga and Chris Kuntz for helping out in the hospital.
Top that off with Rob Anthony on the test fixture, (with Taro his sidekick on the floor); knocking out repairs like a well-oiled machine, there isn’t much reason for your game to be down at the show or when you get back home. Rob also delivers repairs to the show and offers a full table of products.
Once again the great folks that attend this show made sure there were many quality raffle items for the charity. The show almost doubled the previous contribution.
Held on Saturday, it had lots of goodies to bid on. Items were donated from local, on-site, and national vendors. Mike Perscheid and Steve Gligorea manned the helm on this one. The Dixon Teen Center had a hand in pounding the local pavement for donations as well. This is a tireless bunch of kids.
The guys from left to right below are some of the 'brain trust', and you have no idea how hard it is to get them all in one picture.
We may not be in Chicago but rare items pop up out here often.
In its second year, the flea market was held outside the hall on Saturday. Steve Charland was the host in charge and organized the event. The reports were nothing short of fantastic.
What’s a show without vendors?
Pin-A-Go-Go has always had awesome vendors. These guys (and gals) pack up inventory and spend hours setting up to make browsing easy. It’s a big job and the deals for show attendees are amazing. From new parts to good used items from part outs you can really find that elusive treasure that you’ve been hunting.
Bay Area Amusements/Planetary Pinball
Rick Bartlett has been one of the shows top vendors for a long time. He spends countless hours cutting into his warehouse inventory to bring items. Then he has to recount it all over again after the show. That’s a lot of work.
You can’t say enough about Martin and Pam Reynolds. I shared a booth with them and Cliffy the past couple of shows and I can’t imagine not being around them. Awesome products and just darn good people.
Jeff Stern Amusements
All the way from the northwest Jeff brings a haul.
Al and Craig from Roseville
Other vendors not pictured:
All the way from Michigan...
Richard Conger (Silverball Ranch) and Larry Zartarian (Pacific Pinball Museum) hosted a 'hands-on tour' of the E-M Room on Sunday that exhibited over 45 vintage games. The concept was to encourage guests of all ages to enjoy the early simpler rules games of the past. A new tradition, Silver Ball Church, was held Sunday morning at 8am to practice your devotion to the silverball in a less crowded setting.
Andre Massenkoff, Chris Helig, Jim Vierra, Damien Chartley, Marcus Peterson and other talented players from our area hosted Sunday Pinball School where players of all skill levels could "get their game on” in small groups of 6 people.
Pinball Clinic with Bear Kamoroff offered a hands-on Q & A on repair information and tips for buying your first game.
A big shout out to Jonny O. He ran the tournaments (and supplied plaques) - a PinGolf pinball tourney and Children's tournament. Both were in their second year and both had an emphasis on friendly competition. They were great places to learn new pinball skills as most of the participants will actually help a newcomer, and great places to meet new people. Thank you Jonny!
These games were used for the PinGolf tournament and were available to play from 11pm Saturday through to Sunday at 5pm.
The PinGolf tournament had three divisions; Open, Novice, and Kids (13 and younger).
The results of both the tournaments can be found here: pinagogo.org/tournament/
The Free Play award went to Don Highley. This was presented at a dinner on Saturday night at Cattlemen’s restaurant. This is the third year for this award.
Pin-a-Go-Go is not just a show. It’s a family.
A special mention those who assisted in moving games to the show, with trucks and volunteers:
Eric and Josh Johnson trek all the way up from Lake Arrowhead year-in and year-out. Eric helps with electrical knowledge & set-up, as well as watching the grounds at night, while Josh is relentless with his desire to get the job done when it comes to getting games set up and broken down. “You need a hand…Josh is your man.”
The Pin-a-Go-Go staff want to also express their thanks to all the attendees that supplied games to the show. Almost all of the games were still on site to play by the end of the show Sunday at 5pm.
Maybe unnoticed, but those who can only attend Sunday won’t have any problem talking the family into coming again, knowing the games will be there. Your extra efforts in delaying removal of games gives the Sunday attendees a day to remember and is crucial to any pinball show.
This last year was lots of fun for me. Greg, Steve and I had countless meetings prepping for the show. We held a pinball night at the Dixon Teen Center, we were in the Dixon May Fair parade and visited the Chamber of Commerce in Dixon twice.
We were featured on a morning show on KUIC radio thanks to the hard work of George Rosta, publicity volunteer who got the press more interested in the show in 2012. This helped "localize" the show for families in the area we wanted to draw in so we could rub off some of our pinball love to people who might otherwise not see or play a real pinball machine in person.
I think it paid off--- we more than doubled the attendance this past year from the previous years and more than doubled the funds we passed on to charity!
Sadly, we lost a pinball legend in Steve Kordek a few months before this show. There were a lot of tributes paid at the show in his memory. It wouldn’t be appropriate to not acknowledge Steve for his contribution to this industry and hobby. He will not be forgotten.
© Pinball News 2013