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Let the Good Times Roll

The Brewskee-ball National Championships Crown a King of the Lane

By Chase Hoffberger, Fri., May 31, 2013

Jon Ciuffreda contemplates his victory surrounded by an adoring entourage.
Jon Ciuffreda contemplates his victory surrounded by an adoring entourage.
Photo by Jana Birchum

The most important component to rolling a successful skeeball, the rollers at the Scoot Inn would have told you this past weekend, is eliminating every variable.

“Lock your arm at your elbow and your wrist,” explained Joey “the Cat” Mucha, a two-time winner of the Brewskee-Ball National Championship. “Once that's in place, you only have three things to remember: release point, your position along the X-axis, and the degree to which you pull your arm back.”

Mucha, a San Francisco startup guy who maintains an Instagram account under the guise of Mr. Skeeball, was one of 64 rollers in Austin this weekend vying for the Beeb, skeeball’s main event, a high-stakes NCAA tournament-style national championship that awards $3,000, a big-ass trophy, and one cream-colored jacket to whoever can roll the filthiest fifty frames. The competition comes at the behest of Brewskee-Ball league Skee-E-O Eric Pavony and his Brooklyn-based Full Circle Bar, a tiny haunt with four skeeball lanes that doubles as Mecca for a league that, in eight years, has grown to include more than 500 teams from six cities: Denver, Austin, San Francisco, and Charlotte and Wilmington, N.C., in addition to New York.

The BBNC is chaos: It lasts two days and mixes up as an amalgamation of bowling, darts, and BASEketball, that movie about the fake sport that got popular. In between rollings, which ran throughout the weekend and saw the city of San Fransisco take home the World Mug, a day-long competition that Pavony considers “skeeball’s world cup,” the Beeb also crowned victors in a city-by-city tug-of-war competition (Brooklyn), the first Texas Piñata Massacre (Wilmington), and more beer chugging competitions (where everyone’s a winner) than you could count on three hands.

Austin’s iteration – our fair city qualified 23 of its estimated 200 Brewskee-Ball rollers, more than one-third of the competition, which selects rollers based on scoring average throughout each season – bowed out in the quarterfinals when Roy “Brewbacca” Hinojosa, a one-seed, fell to a concentrated Brooklynite named Jon “Snakes on a Lane” Ciuffreda, the Beeb’s eventual winner, on a miscalculated scoring technicality that incited a minor riot.

Still, the ATX crew had to be impressed with the show it put on this weekend. Skeeball’s a boardwalk game that awards alcohol-induced concentration and one acutely refined motor skill, but its legions are legit. And in Hinojosa, the local crowd has itself a bonafied stud.

“There are a lot of leagues in Austin, but none of them can crown a champion the way that we can,” he said. “If you think you’re good, and you think you can compete, you join our league. Because the best skeeballers around the country are rolling in our league.”


For more pics from the event check out our photo gallery.

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