New ABC News documentary chronicles an Austin Skee-Baller’s path to glory

It was a sports heartbreaker for the ages. After only five years playing the sport, Austin’s Roy “Brewbacca” Hinojosa had made it to four Skee-Ball tournaments through his Austin Brewskee-Ball League.

The 33-year-old library administrator first started paying the game with his wife in 2009 as a way to meet people in Austin. His nickname comes from his penchant for pounding brewskis while rolling Skees.

Skee-Ball champion Roy “Brewbacca” Hinojosa wearing his cream-colored jacket and kissing his trophy in Austin, Texas. (David Fazekas/ABC News)

At the first tournament he went to, in 2010, he didn’t get far.

In 2011, he lost in the first round.

In 2012, he made it to the Final Four, but didn’t go all the way.

In 2013, at the Brewskee-Ball National Championship (commonly referred to as the “BEEBs”) in Austin, it was down to him and a Skee-Ball roller from New York named Jon “Snakes on a Lane” Ciuffreda. Hinojosa needed about 400 more points to win the trophy and the league’s cream-colored sports jacket. He thought he had what it took. The scoreboard even read in his favor.

But a glitch in the Skee-Ball machine caused Hinojosa’s score to be tallied incorrectly.

“I hear that the lane malfunctioned and scored higher than I actually rolled,” Hinojosa told ABC News. “These machines are old. They’re not in the best condition. I hit it really hard. Sometimes when you do that, it double clutches and the score changes. Instead of registering as a 100, it registers at 150.”

After that 2013 tournament, Hinojosa worked on his Skee-Ball game. He went to the 2014 and 2015 BEEBs but didn’t make it to the finals.

His luck changed in 2016 in North Carolina, where he once again faced off against Jon “Snakes on a Lane” Ciuffreda for the championship. This time, Hinojosa won without question.

“The idea that you’re the best at something, no one can take that away from me.”

“Brewbacca and the Quest for the Cream-Colored Jacket,” a new mini-documentary from ABC News, chronicles Hinojosa’s rise to the top of America’s Skee-Ball scene.

“I tell people that I’m a national champion in Skee-Ball, and they’re like, ‘What..How?'” he jokes in the video.

For now, Hinojosa says he plans to defend his title in Austin’s Brewskee-Ball League. But he told ABC News he’s more thankful for the friends and relationships he’s made through the sport.

“I wouldn’t know what we would have done without Skee-Ball to be honest.”

Watch the full documentary below.


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