As many of you have heard, the latest $10,000 beer pong tournament has come and gone and with it the crowning of veteran player Shane Shepard. At Sam Pines’ AC U.S. Pong Open on November 18-20 Shane Shepard, and his partner Kilder Cardona, navigated their way through a field of 193 teams on their way to a well deserved pay day. It was perhaps the perfect ending to Shepard’s beer pong career. Everyone claims they want to go out on top, but most seldom do. So before we let Shep ride into the sunset we wanted to get a hold of him and ask a few questions.
Pongstars- Obviously we have to start with the rumors. Is Shane Shepard truly retiring and if so, why?
Shane Shepard- I have been playing organized beer pong for 6 years now, and all I ever wanted to do was win a big tournament. Now I know it was not a huge one and it doesn’t constitute as a “major” but it had a major feel to it.
I also started playing in Sam’s tournaments back in 2006 and they were my first ones in organized pong. It makes sense to me that I started playing in his tournaments; I should bow out on top, ending with one of his tournaments.
Also pong has died in MA. There are no satellites or even weekly lean tournaments anymore. PERIOD. I think it gave KC and I a little bit of an advantage that lean tournaments died, because in turn the elbow tournaments rose up and we were able to get some experience with the long shots.
PS- I’m sure a lot of people will be disappointed to hear that. So no Vegas this year? Not even for a good time?
SS- I will not be going to Vegas.
PS- Well your mind seems made up. With beer pong out of the picture I think it’s time to reminisce. What will you miss most about playing?
SS- The community. I have met so many different people from attending all the national tournaments that I can probably say that I could travel to just about any state and know someone through beer pong.
PS- Speaking of the community, it is a fair assumption that in your years you have played against a large portion of it. Other than this past U.S. Open finals, what is one of your most memorable games?
SS- The most memorable game I had was back at the first WPT AC championship. We played Smashing Time in the round of 8 and eventually lost to them, but there were so many people watching the game and cheering and I had all my MABP friends backing me up that the overall experience was something I’ll never forget. There’s a video floating around on YouTube somewhere of the game still.
PS- What was a great memory for you through pong, that wasn’t related to a game? A funny story perhaps?
SS- Philly is pretty far from Boston where I live, so I hooked up with my buddies Chris Baker and Mike Hulse (formerly of Iron Wizard Coalition) and we carpooled with a few other pongers down to Philly. On the way down Hulse was doing about 90 and we got pulled over by a cop.
When the cop came up to our window he asked us where we were headed and Hulse proceeded to tell him that we were headed to the Beast of the East tournament in Philly. Long story short the officer thought it was awesome and was laughing as we told him the structure of the tournament and all the people traveling to it and let us off with a warning.
PS- So let’s get back to your big victory. How did Sam’s new rules affect the game?
SS- At first I was like “WTF I’m going to throw my arm out trying to reach the cups!!!” It was tough to find a groove but once people started getting their shots in line games started to become more interesting.
The best thing about it is that it brought the “fun” factor back to the game, meaning in wsobp rules if you miss both shots in one turn or even a few in a row the other team wasn’t jamming cups down your throat and the game wasn’t over in 5 turns. The new rules made it so that if you shot blanks for 2-3 shots in a row you were still in the game.
PS- How long did it take you to get adjusted…if at all?
SS- At first I tried a new shot that had more arc, but I wasn’t as accurate as with my regular shot. I tried about 3 shots before I was just like forget it im going to use my regular shot and just wing it. Ultimately it was a good decision and after the pre-lims I was comfortable with it.
PS- Obviously it worked out just fine for you. So what do you plan to do with your newly acquired winnings?
SS- I spent some of it on a new TV, but I’m saving up for a new car.
PS- Well congratulations again, but before we let fade into retirement, answer one last question. Which rules do you prefer after experiencing them all? 8ft, 9ft, or 9ft + tapeline?
SS- I prefer the 9ft with the tape line. It was a fun tournament. Plus new teams came out, although it was mostly the same people in the top 16, it was still good to see pong growing to new faces, and I think the new rules had a huge impact on new teams coming out.
Pongstars would like to once again congratulate Shane Shepard and Kilder Cardona on their huge win and being added to the Beer Pong Champions Archive. We would also like to thank Shane for taking time to answer a few of our questions. His retirement, along with the retirement of a few others, signals the coming of a new era in our game. I believe we all hope to leave the game in Shepard’s fashion.