Garrison Garza didn't have much interest in pinball when he went to an arcade with a friend about nine years ago.
"When I first started out I was just like everyone, I found a cool game that I liked and I just flipped the ball," said Garza in an interview with WOWT 6 News.
Garza has come a long way since that initial experience. He's the current state champion in Nebraska, his second title in the last three years.
"I wasn't really sure how to play the machine and over time I just learned the machines and how to play slow."
That seems considering the sudden bounce of the pinball requires a quick response. Garza, like other top players has learned to control the ball.
"When you catch a ball, it's called cradling a ball," he explained. "It's just a little technique to make controlled shots at shots that I know are going to give me points. The really good players are able to do that and even pass the ball from flipper to flipper."
Practice can be expensive and Garza is fortunate to have several friends who have pinball machines in their homes. Joe Joe Styles in fact has an arcade in his basement and a Knicely Done feature on Joe's special man cave is also are out WOWT website.
Garza, who plays bass in a wedding band, will be Nebraska's entry in the North American Pinball Championship in Las Vegas.
"I played in the nationals two years ago and won my first match, then lost to the champion from Texas who will be there again this year. They will have machines from all eras so it's a big variety and poses a challenge for the players to take on a bunch of different machines."
The 29-year old looks forward to once again matching skills with some of the best players in the nation.
"It's also a lot luck," said Garza. "Pinball is a very physical game and no matter how good you are sometimes it can come down to the ball and it just doesn't bounce the right way."