Local professionals rock out with their balls out

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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?

Knox: Nah.

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…