Frank "The Vulture" Bonnin became the 2049 Northwest Regional Champion after defeating 12 challengers in the Division 20 final at RadCon 2C in Pasco, Washington on Feb. 14.
The Vulture not only became the AADA champ, but won the tournament for a second year in a row and became the first "Ace" by earning more than five kills. Bonnin received DRAW kill stickers by the end of the weekend.
Bonnin secured first place in the final with ten points and three kills, followed in second place by Lonnie "Senior Teflon" Foster with five points, one kill, and Ken "Fletcher" Martin in third with three points and one kill. Thirteen finalists faced off in an 18 foot by 18 foot arena titled "Omak Wasteland," which featured four western buildings towards the center of the arena and four columns in the outside corners. Players received 1/24th scale models for representation of their vehicles which were damaged using a hammer, drill, pliers and butane lighter to represent damage throughout game play.
The first players out of the game demonstrated the appeal of using models when they left a spectacular mess as Lara "Nutbuster" Hill and Tamae Overton went head on for a 120 mph collision. Hammer blows destroyed the models showering the arena, players, referees and spectators with plastic debris.
Few models survived the arena as most were destroyed in fast rams, but Edgar "The Guru" Lincoln was able to take his model home primarily intact after being gutted by a pair of anti-tank gun rounds from Martin for the kill.
The finalists represented some of the most experienced players in the state of Washington and saw two players from Idaho, after three preliminary rounds of dueling were finished.
First round of competition was a Division 5 duel held in the "Moscow: Suicide Slide" arena with 13 players on Friday, Feb. 12. The arena is from the Sony Playstation game Twisted Metal 2. An excellent duel between great players finished with Tom Lentz earning first place, Dave "Launchpad" Hill in second, Overton in third and Lincoln in fourth for the first four positions in the final.
Players were eliminated in nearly all forms possible in Car Wars, ranging from a gas tank explosion to pedestrians being run over. Bonnin's driver was killed after Hill turned his car off of a ramp to roll over him before rolling his own car. Two cars confettied as Nutbuster Hill and Philip "Fool" White went head on while trying to run down Bonnin's three gunners who were on foot after his car lost mobility to Guru Lincoln on the upper level.
Round Two was a Division 30 duel with 17 players in Hanford (a 3D Midville) on Saturday, Feb. 13. Car raced down streets and alleys for a round before they were allowed to duel. Once the green light came on, streets were covered with dropped weapons, ramming vehicle debris and pedestrians from dead cars.
Two dead cars left Martin's driver and gunner shooting it out with Fredrick's driver in the middle Index Avenue. Surprise came all around as Andrew Dallman ended the pedestrian shoot-out by killing Martin's driver with shots from a pair of linked variable fire rocket pods a block away.
White caught the crowd's interest after avoiding Overton, after she lost control in a bootlegger, her husband Matthew Overton's immobile vehicle that was still firing from a side street and the pedestrian shoot-out, so he could breech the side of the shopping mall, drive through to lose a pursuing Dallman, blast out the adjacent side just to come back on to the street and lose control, slamming into another building sideways at 60 mph. He was out of the duel by the time he removed his vehicle from the second building, but his driver was able to grab a neat stuffed animal from the toy store he had slid into.
From the 17 contestants, "Nutbuster" Hill earned first place, as well as the attention of a reporter from the Tri-City Herald who wrote about the game and convention. Martin took second, Foster came in third and Dallman in fourth place with all four making the final round.
The final preliminary round was a Division 15 duel on Saturday night, Feb. 13, in "The Dragon," an open arena with an upper level surrounding the lower and bridges to an upper level island in the center with a dragon statue.
White, Paul "Spapmaster" Theis, Norma "Hear me roar!" Lincoln and Fredericks took the final four spots in the final for their efforts in the Dragon. DRAW officials ignored people that had placed in previous preliminary events and took the top four who hadn't yet qualified to seat into the final.
Points-wise, Bonnin earned the most by gathering four kills with use of three linked multi-fire rocket pods and a very thick metal ram plate White had the second highest score in his spinning, spike laying pickup. Third went to Foster and fourth to Theis, who gathered three points by reminding people what a paint sprayer is good for in conjunction with solid dueling.
The regionals tournament ended with 22 people playing all weekend, laughing a lot, enjoying each other's company and having fun. Missing were rules arguments, despite a few mistakes on referees Bill Stevensonís and Phil Bedard's part, who both credit the players for such a successful tournament. Prizes were provided by Steve Jackson Games and DRAW.
"It was the best tournament I've ever been to or involved with," said Bedard. "The players were incredible!"