StarCityGames.com Opens in Atlanta and I go way back. In fact, I was at the very first one here all the way back in May of 2010. Technically, there was one in 2009... but it preceded the Open Series nomenclature. It was a very special event for me because that was where I interviewed for a position with SCG.
Spoiler: I got the job.
Since then, I’ve been back five times: twice as a stage admin, twice as a Floor Judge, and the last time as Legacy Open Head Judge in April of this year. That event was a lot of fun. It was part of my “farewell to the East Coast” tour—I now live in Portland, Oregon—so I decided to ham it up for the crowd. I asked staff photographer Rob Johnson to assist me with a D-Generation-X style intro (minus the crotch chop). I also got to use a nice “Is there fear in this dojo” reference.
It’s from Karate Kid.
No, not that one. Sheez. Kids these days.
Atlanta has played host to two southeastern Invitationals, Head Judged by L4 Jurgen Baert and L3 John Alderfer. Both of those men are renowned for extremely long consecutive Grand Prix attendance streaks, so it’s nice that we were able to find a gap in their schedules to accommodate them. We’ve also had a couple of European judges visit us in Atlanta; Jurgen is from Belgium and we’ve also had Niko Glik (L3) from Spain as a Standard Head Judge. Other past Standard Open HJs include John Carter (He comes for the Chik-fil-a–really), John Shannon, Mitchell Waldbauer, and Aaron Hamer.
This weekend, we’ve got Bryan Prillaman (L3) and Francisco Iramain (L2) at the helm of the Standard and Legacy Opens respectively. You might not be that familiar with Bryan’s face—he doesn’t venture out of Florida very often—but I’ll bet you know his voice. He is one of the current hosts of Judgecast, which is just what it sounds like: a podcast about judging. Bryan hosts it with Georgia native CJ Shrader, who is Floor Judging this weekend, and Jess Dunks, who lives in California and strangely declined to show up this weekend. Bryan has HJed a Legacy Open in Florida but this will be his first time as Standard Open HJ since being promoted to L3 at the historic GP Las Vegas.
Francisco, or Frank to his friends, is from Puerto Rico. He and I go way back; we first judged together in 2008. He joins Casey Hogan, CJ Shrader and Tasha Jamison among the ranks of Atlanta Legacy Open HJs. He previously captained a Legacy Open in Buffalo, New York.
We’ve got 665 players for the Standard Open; that’s already a new record for Atlanta. Until the earth-shattering events of the Invitational in New Jersey, Atlanta also had the distinction of holding the record for Legacy Open attendance at 351. Let’s hope this bodes well for tomorrow!