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One on One with ROBERT MARES
(PAGE 1) Interview by Greg Smith

How old were you the first time you played foosball?
The first time I played I was 13.

What drew you to it, and were you hooked right away?


Robby at 2001 CO State
photo: graeson lewis

My deal was I was a video arcade junkie, and I used to especially play Defender, Stargate and Robotron � those were my games. I knew what foosball was because I was always at the arcade and they had foos tables, and my older brother in fact played foosball (he�s 4 years older than me). So I was 7th-8th grade, he was 11th-12th grade, and all of the high school kids played foosball and stuff. Well I was in the arcade and they were giving away the old foosball table, piece of crap in the corner because they had just got all new Tornados, so they went around to everyone in the arcade and were taking names for a free raffle, and I threw my name in.

So an hour later I�m still at the same place, same chair playing probably the same game and they go �alright, we�re giving away a table� and they call out a guy�s name, wasn�t there. Says, �we said you gotta be here to win � going once, going twice, alright you�re out. We�re calling another name �

�Robert Mares?�

So I had never played foosball until I had my own table. Really weird man, destiny for sure (laughs).

What made you come up to Colorado?
I used to go to tournaments in El Paso, Texas, which is 300 miles from Tucson. They had a pretty good scene � they would do one good regional tourney every year and we would go up for their $5 grander, 6-7-8-grander, right in there somewhere, you know? That was the first kind of regular circuit I�d hit with all of these little regional tournaments. Well I ended up meeting Vicki in El Paso (that�s where she�s from), and right about that time I started touring around with Terry Moore. So I was going out with Vicki, touring around with Terry, had all of my stuff in storage at my mom�s house, and I had pretty much had already moved away from Tucson even though I hadn�t moved to another city yet � I had moved to Terry�s van.

So I toured for literally ten months. During that ten months, Vicki and me had gotten a lot more serious and we were ready to hook up in the same town and I certainly wasn�t moving to El Paso (laughs). She couldn�t move to Tucson because the place where she was working she couldn�t transfer to Tucson, she could only transfer to where they had offices. One of those places was Denver. And during my 10 months with Terry, Denver was one spot we hung out at a lot because Terry was playing with Todd [Loffredo] back then and they were training a lot. So I really fell in love with Denver because I�m up in the summer � summer�s up here are awesome, especially coming from Tucson, gimme a break! So after the ten months me and Vicki are like �God, we need to get into the same town.� She said well I can get jobs in any of these cities and she named a few off, and one of them was Denver. I said I�d be down with living in Denver, so we both said �let�s do it� and we moved to Denver. The foos scene was so great up here, so it was a perfect fit. Trevino was still playing, Rudnicky, Speer � maybe like Maloney wasn�t playing anymore, but Lucas was playing, all the guys that you remember hearing about when it was really in it�s heyday was still doing it.

When did you decide to become a high-level player?
(laughs) When I put all of my stuff in storage and said �I�m going to be gone for a while, mom.� My lease ended, me and my roommate parted ways, put all of my stuff in storage and some of my stuff in my mom�s house.

What level of game did you have back then?
I was a pro, and I hadn�t won anything. I had never won a semi-pro, novice or � well I won a real small amateur tournament, but as far as going to be a big tournament or winning, when I turned pro I didn�t have any wins and I was really bummed about that. I had no jackets or anything � I was like �I�m a pro and I haven�t won anything.� Fortunately I won my first jacket 2 months after I turned pro, a limited in Oklahoma at Starbucks.


Robby warming up for the finals at the
2001 Colorado Rapids Challenge

Looking back on your time playing, now that you�re number one, what would you say that your favorite level of the game has been?
I�d say it�s kind of a mix. I probably had the most fun when I was touring with Terry because you�re living and breathing foosball � I mean it�s just seething from your pores, man. Every weekend we�re playing a tourney. We had weekends off, but that�s what it was, a weekend off. We played in San Francisco one weekend, tournament ends Sunday night late as can be (it�s really Monday morning), and the next Friday we were signed up at the Atlanta, Georgia World�s Warm-up tourney. There were no boundaries on it; it was foosball all the way.

Right after that, I moved to Denver and four months later I won my first major. And that was a fun time for me, when I really started competing for the titles, not just getting in there to try and do good. That was �94, and I�ve won at least one major every year since. Those 7 years right there have been awesome for me because not only have I been able to make a run at the title but I�ve been able to snag one up, like I said, at least one a year. And that�s what you dream about, man, it�s winning the tournaments. I�d have to say the early times were good but I�ve really enjoyed the whole ride and I�m still enjoying it.

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