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Event is second-largest in the state, drawing 94 participants

By Elida S. Perez

Statesman Journal • December 6, 2010 

The 2010 Pokémon City Championships at Borderlands Games on Sunday drew 94 participants of all ages to battle it out for bragging rights and prizes.

“It’s the second-largest tournament we’ve had in Oregon,” said Richard Walkoski, a premier tournament organizer for Pokémon USA Inc. who works in Salem and lives in Canby.

Only an event in Portland drew more participants this season, Walkoski said.

The crowd at Borderlands Games included 28-year-old Glennis Holcome of northeast Salem.

“It’s really strategic,” Holcome said of the trading card game competition.

Holcome, who has been playing for a few years, said his day at the tournament could have been going a little better.

“I have played two (rounds) so far and have lost both,” he said.

He looked through his “spread” deck during the lunch break and tried to strategize how to proceed through the next four rounds of competition.

“It (the spread deck) removes mine and my opponents cards from the game and causes a lot of damage,” Holcome said.

Linda ZumBrunnen of Corvallis got sucked into Pokémon when her 11-year-old son’s league needed an adult to play.

“They handed me a deck,” said 50-year-old ZumBrunnen.

After playing the initial game, she stuck with it to support her son.

“I was told the kids whose parents play do better,” she said.

She also said knowing the lingo helps her understand what her son is talking about when he enthusiastically tries to have a conversation about the game.

Other parents who were at the tournament said they value what Pokémon has done for their children’s development.

“(My son) learned to vocalize and communicate,” said Mandy Rogers, the Borderlands Games league gym leader.

Rogers’ 9-year-old son has Asperger’s syndrome, a milder form of autism. She said Pokémon has also helped him concentrate and improve his math, reading and logic skills beyond the game itself.

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