No deer blind. No waiting in silence for hours. But Woodbury resident Clay Conrad has taken down his share of big bucks.
After earning the highest qualifying score in the nation, Conrad is hoping he can finally take home the grand prize in the fifth annual Big Buck World Championship in New York City Nov. 9-10.
Big Buck Hunter is a popular hunting arcade game.
This is Conrad's third championship. The highest ranking he has received is seventh place. In a few weeks Conrad will compete against the top 63 players across the nation for a grand prize of $15,000.
Patch caught up with Conrad about his involvement with the tournaments and world championship.
Patch: How did you get into it the game?
Conrad: I work in a bar at Ray J’s American Grill in Woodbury and after getting off work late at night, having beer and playing the game became routine. I didn’t get into it too intensely from that. I met a buddy of mine, Chris Norbeck, who plays it. When I started playing with him he told me I could win money from the game and then I figured out how the tournaments worked and that’s when I learned I could win serious money playing the game.
Patch: How much money do you make playing this?
Conrad: I win $1,000 a month. There are two tournaments a month through the entire nation called Big Buck Open Season and Big Buck Safari. The grand prize is $500 (for each tournament) and I think I’ve only lost three or four tournaments in the last 19 months.
Patch: Where do you play most often?
Conrad: I play at Riley's Pub. What I like about Riley’s is that it’s pretty quiet and (the game) is tucked back in the corner and I don’t have to worry about people bothering me. I probably go over there twice a week, if not more, but I also have one in my living room. I practice at home and play tournaments at the bar.
Patch: You won several tournaments and you had the highest qualifying score in the country to enter the championship. What do you attribute your skills to?
Conrad: Oh, I don’t know. I’m just an incredibly competitive person. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing—I love the spirit of competition and I love being the best. That sounds cocky, but I do.
Patch: How do you feel about your chances of winning?
Conrad: I feel better than the past two years just because this past year I got more dedicated and had more time to get more acclimated to do what have to do to progress to do better in the world championship format.