Idaho pinball wizards prepare for State championships

Posted at 6:24 PM, Jan 19, 2018

Aviana Smith may only be 14-year-old, but she's already a pinball wizard. She knows the game better than most, and as the reigning state champ, she has the trophy, and the top scores on many machines, to prove it.

"When the ball is screaming down the middle or when it goes into a direction where it will go down the side, the best players will be able to prevent that somehow some way," said Aviana Smith.

She hopes to compete in the International Flipper Pinball Association National Tournament. But first, she'll have to defend her title to become state champ for the second year in a row. The top 16 players from the Gem State will slug it out with the silver ball on Saturday, March Madness style. The Idaho champ will then compete at the national tournament in Las Vegas. Last year Aviana was knocked out in the first round of the nationals after forcing her opponent to game seven.

"Every tournament we have new players show up, and they're brought right into the fold because it's a universal language that we are speaking," said Sean Hunter the International Flipper Pinball Association State Representative for Idaho. 

Over 120 players tried to make it to the top 16 in Idaho, Aviana who is currently ranked third will compete against number 14 in the first round who just happens to be her mom. But if you think that's "All in the family," her dad is ranked number one.

"She's really completive; my husband is really competitive, I am not that competitive, I really just go to play and have fun cause it's a big social event, said Aviana's mom Debbie Courson Smith.

No matter what happens a family that plays together, wins together. The tournament kicks off Saturday at noon, and it's being played at a private home because organizers say they want it in a  controlled environment. The Smith family has 17 pinball machines at their home.