Local wins state pinball championship in Huntertown

Scott Elliott, of Columbia City, won his first state championship last year at Fort Wayne Pinball Wizard’s World in Huntertown. Elliott also claimed the Traveling Indiana State Champion Belt previously held by Matt Peace of Lafayette. He looks to defend his title at this year's event. 

HUNTERTOWN — Months after opening his Huntertown pinball arcade, Wizard’s World owner Mike Burgess was the sole qualifier among northeast Indiana competitors for the 2018 International Flipper Pinball Association’s state championship. Although he finished 14th in the state, Burgess set himself a bigger goal of deepening the pool. Two years later, Wizard’s World has hosted 5,000 local tournament participants and 17 qualifiers for this year’s annual 24-player statewide event, which will take place Saturday in Indianapolis.

“We always knew the Fort Wayne area had a tremendous competitive nature, but this level of interest and dedication blew the lid off our expectations,” Burgess said.

While Wizard’s World competitors are hard at work in Indy this weekend, 45 other state championship finals, along with Washington D.C. and eight Provinces in Canada, will be underway. These finals represent 1,024 IFPA registered players competing for their share of nearly $95,000 in cash and a state or provincial title, along with securing a spot in the IFPA North American Pinball Championship in Colorado this March.

Of those more than 1,000 qualifiers, 17 are from northeast Indiana:

Adam Bolinger, Fort Wayne

Mike Burgess, Fort Wayne

Graham Stiver, Fort Wayne

Travis Hockemeyer, Fort Wayne

Scott Elliott, Columbia City

Mattison Ogden, Kendallville

Ben Finkel, Fort Wayne

Kevin Adkins, Churubusco

Joshua Franklin, Fort Wayne

Matt Owen, Fort Wayne

Nick Squires, Auburn

Molly Oury, LaGrange

Mark Moore, Ligonier

Deb Dull, Fort Wayne

Chris Wamsley, Columbus

Chris Fogel, Fort Wayne

Lukas Bakle, Fort Wayne

Wizard’s World Player Scott Elliott, of Columbia City, will defend his state title as this year’s fifth seed.

“It’s been a labor of love for the Wizard’s World team, yet credit goes to the competitors who have made the personal investment to improve and be counted among the best,” Burgess said.

More than 76,000 players worldwide are registered with the IFPA, and 10 of the 17-player Wizard’s World contingent are ranked in the top 500.

Although built for championship-level competition, the family-oriented atmosphere at Wizard’s World has become a destination for private parties, including birthdays, employee recognition and church youth groups, just to name a few. The arcade is located at 14613 Lima Road, Huntertown.

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