Local professionals rock out with their balls out
First Posted: 11/12/2014
Eric Knox and Ross Wayman of Wilkes-Barre have been best friends their entire lives. During the day they are both hard at work. Knox is a manager at Price Chopper in Wilkes-Barre and Wayman is a project manager at Green Rhino Builders LLC, also in Wilkes-Barre. When the sun goes down, however, they roll up their sleeves and rock out with their balls out — beer pong balls, that is.
Weekender caught up with the duo that have spinned their reverence for beer pong into profit for a Q&A session.
Weekender: You both look tired.
Wayman: We are. We just got back from the East Coast Beer Pong Championship.
Knox: Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock goes the clock… Pong, pong, pong goes my dong. Dude, we live and breathe pong all night long.
Weekender: What was at stake?
Knox: The winning team won $15,000.
Weekender: Did you guys win?
Weekender: How close did you get?
Wayman: I won my buy-in for the World Series of Beer Pong.
Weekender: World Series of Beer Pong?
Wayman: Yeah, people come from all over the world — Japan, Mexico, Europe — to compete in the World Series of Beer Pong. It’s in Vegas, Jan. 1 to 5. $50,000 prize pool. It’s intense and a lot of fun.
Weekender: Have you been before?
Wayman: I have. Two years ago I placed 12th out of 372 teams.
Weekender: Beer pong is apparently something different for everyone. For some people, it’s just a game at a house party. For the people at the World Series of Beer Pong it’s clearly a sport. What does beer pong mean to you?
Wayman: This may sound crazy, but it’s a lifestyle. You either hate it or you love it.
Knox: There are so many different tournaments you can compete in. Just about every week there are different tournaments somewhere.
Wayman: If you travel and are good enough at beer pong, you could make a living off of it.
Weekender: You guys have day jobs though. How did you turn your love of the game into a side business?
Wayman: We always played beer pong. A few years ago, though, Smokey Bones in Wilkes-Barre started having beer pong tournaments. We showed up every week and would win every week. Then, the manager who ran the pong tournament got a new job and left and I was asked to do it.
Knox: I started a Facebook page called NEPA Pong trying to attract players to come to Smokey Bones. The page blew up and so did pong.
Wayman: We decided to take the game to other places. We wanted to bring people together in the area for something to do.
Weekender: How could you profit from running a beer pong game that has no buy-in fee and rewards the winning team with $100 in cash?
Knox: We are kind of like a DJ. The bar or club will hire us, supply the prize money and for a fee, have us run a [beer pong] tournament.
Weekender: You will be hosting a beer pong tournament at Weekender’s 21st birthday party at Stir Nightclub on Friday, Nov. 21.
Knox: We’re at Stir every Wednesday night hosting tournaments and giving away $100 and yeah, we’ll be at the Weekender’s 21st.
Weekender: How did you celebrate your 21st?
Wayman: I went out with my sister and all of her friends because I was the first one to turn 21 in my group of friends. They all bought a three wisemen shot. I thought we were all going to take it together, but after I took mine, they all handed me theirs and forced me to take it. I was shitfaced. I couldn’t even get it up that night.
Knox: I played beer pong and passed out on the table with my balls in a Red Solo cup.
Weekender: Testicle balls? Or your beer pong balls?
Knox: I’ll let you wonder about that one…