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Allen County pinball players competing for state championship

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HUNTERTOWN, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) - The owner of a popular arcade in Allen County is set to compete on a statewide level with other top pinball wizards.

Wizard's World in Huntertown is an arcade filled with pinball machines. Roughly eighty are inside. It's a popular place for some really good players. One of them is Mike Burgess who really got into playing a few years back.

State Pinball Championship Competitor, Mike Burgess says, "So if you know some of the secrets going in, you can score higher, and if you know what to go for in certain modes of the pinball machine, you can rack up a lot more points."

It's a hobby, but also something he competes in. He has been in the state tournament the last two years, and enters this year as the number two seed in a field of twenty-four competitors.

"When you play tournament pinball, you don't actually play the other person, you want to play the machine," says Burgess. "So it's important that you know the machine rules. Each machine has a different set of rules."

Another in the field of twenty-four is Travis Hockemeyer, who is also the stepson of Burgess.

"Yeah, it's pretty cool," says Burgess. "We have fun with it at home, especially when he beats me almost every time he plays me."

State Championship Pinball Competitor, Travis Hockemeyer says, "There is definitely techniques win to hit the ball and when just to stop it and catch it on the flipper, and then all the games have different modes and you have to know which modes to go in to get higher points."

He will be in his second state tournament.

"Playing in tournaments here at Wizard's World are more relaxing, but knowing money's on the line at state and being one of the best guys there, playing with everyone else from the best in the state, it gets nervous," says Hockemeyer.

"Anybody in the finals this year can win it, even if you go to Indiana's top 50, anybody in our top 50 could win Indiana's state championship this year," says Burgess. "That's just how deep it's grown."

The state tournament starts at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 18th at The PinVault in Indianapolis.

Jon Wilson

Jon Wilson is the Weekend Meteorologist at Fort Wayne’s NBC. You can catch Jon’s weekend forecasts on Fort Wayne’s NBC at 6 and 11 p.m.

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