International incident; Taylor team tops rock paper scissors tourney

Photo courtesy of Environics

Photo courtesy of Environics

Tim Conrad of Taylor hoists his trophy from the 2009 Yahoo! Rock Paper Scissors World Championships
Nov. 14 in Toronto.

Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR — What started out as a “nice little vacation” ended in a world title and a $7,000 prize for Tim Conrad.

He went to the Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto for the Nov. 14 Rock Paper Scissors World Championship, sponsored by the World RPS Society and Yahoo! Canada, and faced off against one of his best friends who also was a teammate in the first all-American final in the tournament’s history.

“I’d never been there before,” Conrad said, adding that he’d been invited several times by Brian Morba of Taylor, another teammate and friend. “I finally had time to go.”

Conrad, 22, took down Tom Butkin, also of Taylor, with paper covering rock. While it was Conrad’s first time attending the big event, his team, Elite 47, had been coming for the past four years.

Players must take two out of three throws to win a game and two of three games to win a match. Many of the games lasted six to eight throws because of ties, Conrad said.

The friends started playing rock paper scissors together at John F. Kennedy High School “as a way to decide everything,” he said, often exasperating teachers in the process before he graduated in 2005.

“We’ve been playing forever,” Conrad said, and because of that they didn’t study anything for the tournament.

When the six-member team arrived in Toronto, members started playing in the hotel room to get ready for the tournament, which Rolling Stone magazine refers to as “a high-stakes ‘Star Trek’ convention with binge drinking and better-looking women.”

“I was the hotel champion,” Conrad said.

Then came the night of the tournament, which featured 512 people.

“It was crazy,” he said of the atmosphere. “It was just crazy.”

Conrad’s good luck carried over from the hotel, he said. He watched other players to see what their first “throw” would be.

“If you can go ahead in the first throw, you can throw people off their game,” he said. “I didn’t lose in the first round, and I just kept going through, going through and I wasn’t losing.

To become the World Champion, Conrad threw down against seasoned RPS veterans spanning all parts of Canada and the United States, country champs and competitors from as far away as Australia, New Zealand, France, Mexico and Norway.

“I kept my cool and kept playing and finally got to the final round,” Conrad said.

Because he was wearing a Captain America costume left over from Halloween, the crowd wasn’t too happy, he said. There was no special reason to wear it, he said, it was just something he thought of at the last minute.

Much like participation in the tournament itself.

“It kind of went from having fun to winning seven grand and having a national trophy,” Conrad said.

The team as a whole did well, he points out, as four of the six members were among the top 32 finishers.

Conrad, who works at the Aeropostale store at Southland Center, isn’t sure what comes next, but has enjoyed talking with everyone from newspapers to radio and television stations. Previous winners have appeared on late-night talk shows, RPS Society officials say.

“I’m just going to take the ride for as long as I can go,” Conrad said.

“We applaud the grit and determination showed by all the competitors, and share Tim’s excitement in his victory as the Yahoo! RPS World Champion,” said Dave Soyka, marketing manager at Yahoo! Canada. Each year the championship gets bigger, better and more intense,” says Doug Walker, co-founder of the World RPS Society. “This year we saw not only record-breaking numbers at the event, but also a dramatic final match between two best friends vying for the top prize.”

The World RPS Society is dedicated to the promotion of Rock Paper Scissors as a fun and safe way to resolve disputes. Officials believe that conserving the roots of the game is essential for the growth and development of the game and its players. The society is involved in research studies, workshops, local and international tournaments and book publishing, among other activities.

FINAL MATCH 2009 Yahoo! Rock Paper Scissors World Championships
Tim Conrad vs. Tom Butkin

1st Set: R – R; R – P; R – S; P – R
2nd Set: R – S; P – P; P – P; P – R