By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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7 Cedars Casino on Saturday.
“Looks like I'm headed to Vegas,” McLean exclaimed, thrusting his arms toward the ceiling as he was declared the winner of the “TournEvent of Champions.”
More than 280 people, beginning at 11 a.m., played the one-armed bandits during the event, part of a national slot machine competition.
McLean, a locomotive engineer who said he has “a lot of experience pushing buttons,” won $1,000.
He also will receive a five-day expense-paid trip to Las Vegas, where he will compete against winners from dozens of other casinos across the country in the first-ever national slot machine championship.
The winner at the finals will take home a grand prize of $250,000.
Others who tried their luck in Sequim brought charms with them, including one woman who wore a special white slot glove.
Janet Bruhn of Port Hadlock described the strategy she employed to earn a 40th place finish.
“Slam 'em as fast as you can,” she said.
Entrants earned tickets to Saturday's final by winning tournaments held at 7 Cedars over the past month and a half.
Linda Trinh developed the national contest for Multimedia Games, a supplier of gaming machines to casinos across the country.
“Our hope is that this becomes the World Series of Poker for slots,” Trinh said.
She described the event as “just fun and screaming and coming out to have a good time.”
Trinh and the “TournEvent” entourage, which included “The Money Man” mascot and his “MGirls,” are touring gambling houses in a special bus that will be on the road until September's finale in Sin City.
Saturday's 7 Cedars event was the first of 17 events in Washington, and awarded a total of $2,650 in cash prizes to players.
Placing second, with a $750 prize, was Roy Rogers, followed by Les Moore, third place and $500; Robert Christman, fourth place; and $250; and Charles Hoffman, fifth place and $150.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at email@example.com.