So bunny_hugger decided. To get to the top sixteen positions in the state she would have to edge out MJS, and hosting her own tournament would give her a good shot at that. MJS is tough competition --- he's the fellow who owns the pole barn with forty or so machines --- but he is beatable. He was just this tiny little bit ahead of her going into the end of November.
bunny_hugger posted the official announcement to the International Flipper Pinball Association. Tournaments have to be posted there with something like thirty days' notice to be sanctioned. Moments after she posted, MJS posted that he was hosting a tournament too. bunny_hugger scheduled hers for the 29th of December. MJS scheduled his for the 31st. Also the 1st of January, so he could host both the final state tournament of the year and the first. That would be great to attend, and give us a great idea for what to do New Year's Eve, but it would also be his chance to secure his spot from bunny_hugger.
I was able to contribute a name: Silver Balls in the City. This reflected my hard work of thinking there's the Lansing festival Silver Bells in the City that starts off the holiday season. But it's a catchy enough pinball-y, holiday-ish name. From there on bunny_hugger did everything hard. She made a fantastic poster. It drew on an illustration of Rudolph, with his nose recast as the classic pinball promise ``Special When Lit''. (She based it on a kids' Christmas song album, but did all the drawing and coloring herself.) She'd get copies printed up, too, although Staples didn't have them ready for us to go to a tournament in early December in Flint. We were able to send some along later with MWS, who lives in the area.
And we flyered! A bit, anyway. We found spots like the library, the event board at Biggby Coffee, that sort of thing. Mostly it was posted to Facebook groups, though, including at the Capital Area Humane Society. They're involved because bunny_hugger ran this as a charity tournament, with all the entry fees going to the group. Many tournaments, including MJS's, pay out prizes to the winners. But many people like charity tournaments, both because of the sense of doing good for the community and because not having prize payouts on the line takes out a lot of stress and potential for arguments.
bunny_hugger also made trophies, for both the main tournament and a little side tournament. One advantage of a side tournament is it gives people who're between rounds or who've already been eliminated something useful to do while hanging out. Another advantage is that as a tournament it counts for points, and it can be done at the same time as another tournament.
Her vision was to get a couple of Christmas-y tchochkes from Michael's or Meijer's or something, preferably on discount, and put them on wood bases painted silver. The wood bases were easy to get, and she was able to make some nice slick-looking first, second, and third-place medallions to put on the tournament bases. This is partly because she has a laminating machine. I'm not joking about how slick they looked; CST, who'll be running the state finals in February, asked if he could borrow it, we assume for similar trophy work.
Finding pleasantly cheesey stuff to put on the trophies, though ... that was trouble. We stopped in at a Michael's on the way back from the airport, dropping off bunny_hugger's brother and his girlfriend, and the store had nothing really usable. Meijer's was similarly slim pickings. Fortunately we found a couple good pieces, small statues of snowmen and Santa and the like, when we made our trip to Crossroads Village. They always hold a fundraising rummage sale by the carousel, and there was good stuff to be had there.
So the days immediately before the tournament were a slightly mad dash of worrying that the silver paint wasn't drying fast enough on the wood (not helping matters: silver paint, it turns out, stays very soft even when it's dry, so it will take fingerprints moe than it ought), that the glue wasn't drying fast enough to the ornaments to keep them secure, and that we didn't have time to go over and see what shape the pinball machines at the bar were like.
But all the essential pre-tournament work was done, and as well as anyone could hope it would be.
Trivia: The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad began as a broad-gauge railway (to match its links with the New York & Erie). It converted the entire line to standard gauge within 48 hours in 1876. Source: Railroads of New Jersey: Fragments of the Past in the Garden State Landscape, Lorett Treese.
Currently Reading: Marketing The Moon: The Selling Of The Apollo Lunar Program, David Meerman Scott, Richard Jurek.