Smashing Time Wins World Series of Beer Pong

Long Island duo trounces the field in Vegas, laying claim to coveted title

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Mike Orr, of Cranberry Township, Pa., was among some 800 contestants who let the ping pong balls fly in pursuit of the World Series of Beer Pong championship title.

    More than 400 teams flocked to the Vegas Strip to vie for a $50,000 prize and the title of Beer Pong world champion. When the dust, ping pong balls and beer foam had settled, only one team stood triumphant.

    So what separated 25-year-old Long Islanders Ron Hamilton and Michael Popielarski from the rest of the field?

    "The key today was me getting real drunk and my partner not missing, and us coming out and proving we're the best," Hamilton said.

    Hamilton, who claimed to have prepared for Sunday's finals by downing a bottle of Jack Daniels, and Popielarski formed the beer pong team Smashing Time after meeting in a Long Island watering hole three years ago.

    "We've been unstoppable ever since," said Hamilton.

    The game is played with cups of beer lined up like bowling pins on two ends of a 14-foot table. Team members alternate trying to toss a ping pong ball into the cups. The team that lands all the cups wins, the losers drink.

    The tourney made for a pleasant ending to what was another year of controversy and backlash for the sport.

    In July, JV Games was set to release the video game "Beer Pong" for the Nintendo Wii. But outraged parents came together to express concern about the appropriateness of such a game for teenagers, forcing a name change to the flaccid and uninspiring "Pong Toss."

    Last year Dartmouth College -- a school whose love of debauchery inspired the film "Animal House" -- banned the literally watered-down version of the venerable sport for fear of "water intoxication."

    "I know that [water pong] seems like a good balance between the Dartmouth drinking culture and just trying to have fun," Kristin Deal, a Dartmouth community director, wrote with no apparent irony in announcing the prohibition. "However, it can be just as dangerous, if not more so."

    And 2005, saw the game banned in Belmar, N.J., because it subjects defenseless bystanders to "foul language, rowdy and disorderly behavior and to examples of the consumption of alcohol under circumstances that are detrimental." Other Jersey Shore communities soon followed suit.

    The World Series of Beer Pong is the brainchild of entrepreneurs Billy Gaines, Duncan Carroll and Ben "Skinny" Solnik. The trio met as students and beer pong aficionados at Carnegie Mellon University. After graduation they set put to parlay their love of beer pong into a moneymaking venture.

    "I know the media will say this is a chugging contest," he said. "This is about a sport, it's about a competition. They aren't here to drink. Yeah, they're drinking, but that's not why they're here."