Shawnee Dispatch

Pizza West goes full-tilt for pinball

Members of the Kansas City Area Pinball Association participate in a July 21 tournament on the six machines recently installed at Pizza West, 5436 Roberts St. Enlarge photo

July 25, 2012

Pizza West, known for its upside-down lamps, televisions in every booth and gourmet pizza, just got even cooler.

At least, that’s the thought among area pinball enthusiasts.

At 5 p.m. Saturday, the pizzeria at 5436 Roberts St. in western Shawnee hosted its first Kansas City Area Pinball Association tournament on six machines owned by Erik Anderson.

According to Anderson, he and the brothers who own Pizza West, Dave and Cory Knubley, split the revenue from the six machines, which were installed June 6. And on the third Saturday of every month, at least for the foreseeable future, they will host one of two monthly KCAPA tournaments. The other is held on first Saturdays at the 403 Club in Kansas City, Kan., which also hosts tournaments at 9 p.m. every Wednesday.

“In the Kansas City area, if you want to play pinball on more than one or two well-maintained machines, it’s here or the 403 Club,” said Mitch Wilson-Brown, a KCAPA member overseeing the first Pizza West tournament.

Like most other members, Wilson-Brown said he got involved in KCAPA because he loves playing pinball plus working on the machines, which requires maintaining cosmetics, mechanics and electronics.

Wilson-Brown has more than 20 pinball machines at his Lenexa home. And Todd Svec, one of the 28 KCAPA members competing at Pizza West, has more than 70 in the 3,000 square-foot basement of his St. Joseph, Mo., home. In addition, Svec owns Big Daddy Enterprises, a web-based business specializing in pinball-machine parts and repair kits.

According to Svec and Wilson-Brown, pinball machines have become scarce at arcades because their moving parts make them much more difficult and costly to maintain than video games. But Wilson-Brown said pinball is more fun because it’s a nostalgic and physical game.

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