One way to get players out to the arcade is to hold a tournament of sorts – get several people signed up, offer a cash prize, etc. While operators can only do this on a limited basis, some manufacturers are holding national tournaments with big prizes to get people out and play. A fine example of this is the recent national tournament held with Incredible Technologies Silver Strike Bowling 2009. In a rather lengthy press release, the story is told of the 32 qualifiers who made it to the Vegas tournament out of the many hundreds of people that played the game. According to the press release “Over 1 million online games were played on nearly 10,000 Silver Strike Machines by players attempting to qualify for the live finals in Vegas.” Any way you look at it, that is quite good for an arcade game to have that many online games played on it and the fact that SSB09 already has nearly 10,000 machines online across the country (the game only came out a short time ago) is impressive as well.
As I mentioned, the following release (check it out after the post break where you’ll also find pictures from the event) is rather lengthy but tells the story of what went down in Vegas (which isn’t staying in Vegas in this case :P), from the beginning where it started out with 32 players vying for the prize to the last round with Dan and Mike. The story about Mike “Schmagwag” Cornwell (pictured to the left with his $10,000 prize), the new SSB Champion is intriguing and emotional and worth a read – his family was among the many who were recently devastated by the floods in Iowa, so for him to win the $10,000 prize was even more important. Congrats to Mike! [Incredible Technologies] [Discuss on the Forum]
First Silver Strike Bowling National Championship Shines Spotlight on Players and Game
Palm’s Kingpin Suite Wows Competitors – Perfect Venue for Story-Book Finish
(July 9, 2008 – Arlington Heights, IL) After a year of preparation, the inaugural Silver Strike Bowling National Championship was contested on Friday and Saturday June 20-21. Over 1,000 Silver Strike diehards tried but only the cream of the crop made it to the Kingpin Suite at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
The competition was exciting and the room was jam packed.
The 32 qualifiers and the tournament staff from Incredible Technologies kicked off the festivities Friday night with, what else, a party at the Palms! Besides tons of food and drink, two regulation-sized bowling lanes, rental shoes and bowling balls were available to the 100 competitors, friends and familiy members who made the trip to Vegas.
“The Kingpin Suite at the Palms is the coolest spot on the planet for bowlers,” said Gary Colabuono, IT’s Marketing Director. “This was the perfect place to hold our first SSB tournament. The players were simply awestruck when they walked in.”
Tournament play didn’t start until Saturday, so players ate, drank and relaxed. It was a great time to practice too, so the four games saw plenty of action. Mike Cornwell of Cedar Rapids Iowa shot the lone perfect game of the weekend during practice.
Fight For The Top 8
The competition began Saturday evening with the 32 qualifiers split into two squads of 16. Each squad played two three-game series and the total scores were tallied and ranked. The top eight shooters then moved on to play in the final head-to-head matchups.
Following his perfect game Friday, Mike Cornwell showed he certainly had more in the tank and led off with a 269 game and a mammoth 763 series. His Cedar Rapids buddy Dan Bailey held tight with 739. After the recent, devastating floods in their hometown, the two were rooting for one another throughout their matches, hoping to bring a title and a positive note back home with them.
Sheboygan’s Lloyd “Mac” McFarland fired a 729 for third place while Golden Tee pro Telly Rogers of Indianapolis rolled a 694 that featured a terrific 278.
With only three games left to secure a spot in the top 8, the pressure started to mount. High scores were hard to come by but Golden Tee-player-turned-bowler Bill Steitz from Ohio was an exception. Steitz almost nailed the impossible – a qualifier perfecto, but fell just short missing his final strike. His 298 would be a tournament best and later would prove to have a huge impact on his qualifying efforts.
Cornwell battled a few early misfortunes but rebounded nicely for a strong 672 series. Bailey struggled, rolling a 161 in his first game, and finishing with an uncharacteristic 587 series. He was clearly a bubble boy and knew he could get edged out by any number of competitors.
McFarland backed up his first round with a solid 653 series.
When the smoked cleared the finalists were ready for head-to-head competition.
The Elite Eight
After five hours of qualifying, the field was finally narrowed to the top eight.
Cornwell topped the qualifying effort with a 1,435 total. Lloyd McFarland wound up second with a total of 1,382 and Houston’s Dayton Root (1,369) and Vancouver’s James Krull (1,362) rounded out
the top four.
Indianapolis’ “Deadeye” Del Flecker took 5th (1,353), while Telly Rogers grabbed 6th (1,342). Bill Steitz’s 298, helped boost him up all the way to the 7th position (1,337) and Iowan, Dan Bailey just snuck into 8th position with his 1,328.
The top eight would battle it out in a single-elimination bracket seeded by their qualifying scores with the winners moving on to the semis.
Match 1 – Cedar Rapids Showdown: In the all Iowa matchup, Mike Cornwell and Dan Bailey wished each other luck and then it was on. This duo has played each other thousands of times, but never with the stakes this high. The suspense stopped there however as Cornwell dominated, rolling a 248 to beat Bailey by 50 virtual sticks.
Match 2 – Deadeye vs. Lone Westerner: James Krull and Del Flecker went head to head in a West vs. Northeast showdown. Del, playing as the fifth seed took down Krull 212 to 195 to move on to the next round.
Match 3 – Golden Tee Showdown: In a battle of Golden Tee pros, Houston’s Dayton Root took on Indy’s Telly Rogers. Root put up a good fight but was no match for Rogers who beat his fellow GT brother 228 to 204.
Match 4 – Sheboygan vs. Mr. 298: The final match featured 2 seed Lloyd McFarland and 7 seed Bill Steitz. Steitz coming off his impressive 298 qualifying score ran into a buzz saw as “Mac” rolled an amazing 270 to win the match.
Bailey, Krull, Root and Steitz each received $1,500 for their efforts.
McFarland vs. Rogers: McFarland started sluggish and appeared as if he couldn’t recover. He got rolling eventually and closed out with 5 consecutive strikes to clip Rogers 215 to 211 in the comeback effort of the day. Rogers would go on to compete for 3rd place.
Cornwell vs. Flecker: Cornwell took on “Deadeye” Del, who was quickly establishing himself as one of the top Silver Strike Bowlers in the country. But he proved no match for Cornwell who threw yet another impressive game, a 247, to best Flecker’s 212.
3rd Place Match – Flecker vs. Rogers: Before Cornwell and McFarland would battle for the championship, Del Flecker and Telly Rogers squared off for 3rd-place honors. Along with podium honors was an extra $500 for the victor. In the closest match of the day, Flecker edged Rogers 238 to 236, to take home 3rd place and $2,500. Rogers went home with $2,000 for 4th.
Since day one, the Midwest dominated the leader boards with their remarkably high averages. The two hotbeds of the Midwest leading the charge in the hearts and minds of SSB fans were
Cedar Rapids, IA and Sheboygan, WI. With that in mind it was no surprise to see Cornwell and McFarland step up the trackball on what was to be the largest Silver Strike Bowling match ever played. The stakes – $10,000 and the right to be called the first ever Silver Strike Bowling National Champion. The two shook hands and then played the first game of the best-of-three format.
The atmosphere was electric. McFarland, one of the most supported players in the tournament, had his Sheboygan crew cheering him on. Cornwell, the undeniable sentimental favorite, playing on behalf of his Dad’s request to, “Go to Vegas and win. You deserve it, worry about the flood when you get home.” The Iowan was determined to prove he was the best virtual bowler in the world and his first score of 235 gave him a decisive victory over McFarland’s 217.
With one win under his belt, he would need just one more to take the crown home to Cedar Rapids.
Cornwell never let up, strike after strike after strike, and despite McFarland’s best efforts, Cornwell marched his way to the title in game two 246 to 179.
In an emotional post event interview, Cornwell said, “It’s a dime to a dollar to what were dealing with back home, but what can I say, $10,000 is just awesome.”
The weekend featured competitors from coast to coast but it was Mike “Schmagwag” Cornwell from start to finish. Cornwell almost didn’t make it to the event because of the horrible flooding in Cedar Rapids. His family’s bar, The Double Inn, was hit hard like many of the other homes and businesses in the area. Coming to Vegas and winning the championship, as well as the top prize, will go a long way in helping Mike and his family find some hope in such a tough time.
Lloyd McFarland, $5,000 richer, was a gracious silver medalist and had this to say about the tournament. “This is awesome, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. This has been amazing. Congratulations to Mike, he played unbelievable.”
Incredible Technologies created the Silver Strike Bowling National Championship to shine a spotlight on the millions of players who enjoy a quick and casual entertainment experience.
Over 1 million online games were played on nearly 10,000 Silver Strike 2009 machines by players attempting to qualify for the live finals in Vegas.
“We hoped that the tournament would be a huge success,” said Scott Morrison, Vice President of Marketing at IT. “But we never anticipated that it would get to this level. Our operators are the beneficiaries of this increase in play and we couldn’t be happier. It’s a very nice way for us to say thanks for updating to 2009.”
According to Senior VP of Sales, Don Pesceone, the Silver Strike Bowling National Championship accomplished three goals. “We sold through 90% of the 2009 updates within a few weeks. We saw a huge increase in earnings over the old 2007 edition, and we introduced SSB players to a new level of competition that will carry over for the rest of the year. We’re looking forward to a bigger and better event in 2009,” he said.
About Silver Strike Bowling
2009 Silver Strike Bowler’s Club is the latest coin-operated video bowling game from Incredible Technologies. Previous bowling games produced by IT over the past 20 years are among some of the most popular video games in history. SSBC is the first online video bowling game and nearly 10,000 machines are online and on location in bars and pubs across the country. Each month hundreds of thousands of players enjoy a game of SSBC and track their average and statistics at www.silverstrikebowling.com. The SSBC sweepstakes has awarded nearly $500,000 in cash and prizes since its inception in June 2006.