Chris Harkins, host of the tournament, takes a shot at the side tournament on Lord of the Rings.

This past Sunday we organized our first charity pinball tournament in Oakland to benefit First Exposures.  The event ended up with 41 players from around the Bay Area including some very high ranking players as well as first time competitive pinballers and players representing six different countries.  The tournament was played on 12 different machines pitting entrants against each other in head-to-head matches as well as a side tournament on Lord of the Rings pinball, directed by Belles and Chimes league founder Echa Schneider.

Below are some photos from the event.  The main tournament winner was Chris Heilig who ran the table and was undefeated besting Hal Erickson on TRON pinball for the win.  In the side tournament, youngster Jake Bondar put up a mind-boggling 94,799,370 points on Stern’s Lord of the Rings pinball in three minutes!  Anyone who has played Lord of the Rings (LOTR) knows what an impressive feat this is.  Bondar noted that he is intimately familiar with the machine and was able to score so highly by carefully planning his strategy to maximize the 180 seconds of play time that he had.

Full tournament results can be found on the IFPA website.  The IFPA (International Flipper Pinball Association’s objective is to elevate the awareness and visibility of pinball across the globe and generate media coverage and corporate backing to bring the sport of competitive pinball back into the spotlight.

Stay tuned to our blog if you are interested in future charity pinball tournaments as we will be hosting more in the future!


Danish player Andreas Haugstrup-Pedersen discusses strategy with Swede Per Schwarzenberger, who created and runs the San Francisco Pinball Department pinball league.


Players socialize and compete during the third round of matches.


Game owner and host Chris Harkins looks into a stuck ball on Congo.


Capital Corridor Pinball League competitor Tom Collins battles it out on Whitewater in the foreground.


Jenn Peavler takes a shot at Star Trek while Dexter Dong plays on Spider-Man pinball.


Chris DeLeón competes in the side tournament while eventual side tournament winner Jake Bondar plays TRON in the background.


Eventual finalist and 2nd place finisher Hal Erickson plays Fathom behind eventual champion Chris Heilig, competing on The Simpsons Pinball Party.


Sweden’s Michael Mattsson plays World Cup Soccer on a day that saw the US and Portugal tie in the actual World Cup in Brazil, while Jenn Peavler, sporting a Belles & Chimes t-shirt, attempts to get to the Vacation Jackpot on Whitewater.


Bally’s Fathom was one of the older machines in the tournament and was the game the organizer was eliminated on.