The History of the White Rose Gameroom Show &
Marlin Barshinger & Eric Selak Say Goodbye as Show Promoters
In 1996 four guys sitting around a table talking about pinball machines and pinball shows, we all thought that York, South Central Pennsylvania was a good location to hold the event. So, the four of us decided to host a show. The Pinball Wizards Convention at the time was held in October in Allentown Pennsylvania. Brain Hein was the promoter and after speaking with Brain about our plans to host a spring 1997 show, he asked if we would do a fall show and he would move the Pinball Wizards Convention to May. This was the birth of the White Rose Pinball Classic. The first show was September 26, 27 & 28, 1997 held at Springetts Fire Hall, York, PA.
The four guys were Bill Doll, John Patterson, Eric Selak, and I, Marlin Barshinger. The price for admission was $6.00 for adults and $3.00 for kids 6 to 12 years old. We had over 60 pinball machines on free play and held 4 pinball tournaments. NBC TV Channel 8 News Team was there to film the show as being the first pinball show ever to be held in South Central PA. You can still see some of the vendors that were set up at the first show, at this year’s past show. We had good attendance and inquiries from other vendors that the second show was going to be held at the York Fair Grounds & Expo Center and is still being held annually on the second weekend in October.
John Patterson helped do three shows, but he liked attending the shows, not necessarily working them. Bill Doll worked the show till 2002 and that was his last show as a promoter, he still attends the show. Eric Selak and I were still hosting the show till 2012, and was our last show as the promoters. Over the years Eric and I turned the show into a big success. The name was changed to the White Rose Gameroom Show to include Gameroom items like antique Slot Machines, Juke Boxes, Video Games, Pinball Machines, and all coin-op collectibles. Over the years we did television commercials, live Radio broadcasts, Radio Ads, Newspaper ads and Trade Magazine ads. The best change Eric and I did was when we went to a two day show, Friday & Saturday.
Marlin Barshinger My Final Thoughts
Over the years I met and made a lot of new friends, some of which I can say it has been an honor to meet and get to know over the years. Some people have become like a second family and I look forward to see them, talking, spend time on what’s new. Some have passed away and will always be missed at shows. There is a group of people who come to the York Show year after year and they always bring games in on free play or get vending space. I call these people the backbone of the White Rose Gameroom Show. If you read this you know who you are. There are no words to express my gratitude. I know you have heard me say this before but without your support there would be no show. I hope you continue to support the show. I know I will. Over the years I have seen a lot of adults and kids having fun doing the same thing; playing pinball. My goal was to host a show where a family could attend, spend the day together having fun without breaking the family budget.
It’s time for me to pass the torch on to the next generation. I wish to see the show to continue to go on for generations to enjoy. You will still see my wife and me at the shows. I plan to bring games and help support the show. I need more personal time for my other interest: antique cars. Over the years Eric and I work together well and both know how to host a large event. I wish him well with any endeavor he may take on in the future. So to all you people and vendors that support the show I say, farewell as the show promoter.
THANK YOU, see you at the show.
Eric Selak My Final Thoughts
It's time to hand over the torch. It was a very difficult decision for me to even think of leaving the show. There are a lot of small reasons for leaving, and I won't bore you with the details.
I personally want to thank everyone that made the show a great success; from the people that haul and drag their games to York each year and fill the hall, to the vendors that line the walls, to the outside flea market vendors who had to deal with snow a year or two, and to the volunteers that put their time in to help Marlin and I. Without everyone involved, the show would not exist. Everyone should welcome the new promoters, and continue to support the show like you have in the past. I've met a lot of people over the years, and look forward to seeing them year after year. It’s an honor to have met and known all of you after all of these years. I consider all of you part of a big family. And it's like having a family reunion during each year’s show.
Leaving the show will be with my head held high, knowing that Marlin and I were able to keep the show going strong for years. It's a very dignified accomplishment.
I wish Marlin well on any endeavors he wants to pursue. I've known Marlin for over 20 years, we have been through a lot in that time, and I will always take pride in knowing that we worked well together without killing each other.
Now I can pursue those other interests and challenge myself, now that I have more free time. It's a lot of weight off my shoulders. I'm still interested in pinball machines and other games too. Those passions will never die.
I'm still going to attend the show. Now, I will have time to buy items from vendors, walk around in the flea market, and talk to everyone that makes the show possible. I can finally see myself enjoying the show as a spectator, instead of a promoter.
See you at other shows and the York Show in 2013.