Versapong was born out of my obsession / ability / fascination / talent / passion for the game of Beer Pong and all that comes with it. Back in 2001, (my first big game) I found myself not only intrigued by Beer Pong itself, but by the custom tables it was played on. You’ve seen them. Many customized tables represent the school you go to, your favorite sports team, Greek life, or just about anything else.
Years later, with my newfound appreciation for the sport (that’s right, sport), and my freshman year at the University of Rhode Island quickly approaching, I began constructing my first table. What better theme I thought, than URI itself. Because there was very limited space in my small freshman apartment, I knew I’d need to get creative. After a lot of back and forth, I landed on the idea of a table that could be stored easily out of the way, and be ready to play when we were. I was going to build a table that suspended from the ceiling, and retracted back up. Through the use of a complicated pulley system and an electric winch, I was able to design a table that allowed us to play without taking up all of our valuable space. Remote activated, the table would draw back up to the ceiling post-game, and act as a fully functional ceiling light.
Can I Get a Re-rack?
After a great year at URI, my friends and I moved into a whole new house with a whole lot of space and a whole new plan for our next table. Since the Red Sox were fresh off a historic 2004 World Series victory, what better reason to design my next table after my favorite team. With the extra space and added experience, this time around I made a “crossfire” table which allowed two games to be played at the same time.
Because my landlord wasn’t exactly a fan of us drinking in the house I needed to keep it covert. Although the retracting table did a pretty good job of keeping the boozing under wraps, this time I had to incorporate a different way to hide the table during surprise landlord visits. I opted for a design with traditional dining room table legs, and a dummy table top.
But why stop there? We put the “icing on the cake” with a hidden kegerator that poured ice cold beer from the middle spout of our water dispenser. Your move landlords.
The next year, after getting to know the landlord and letting him in on our obsession with building the perfect pong table, he gave us the go-ahead to design a table we wouldn’t have to hide. With a few years of Beer Pong under my belt and a desire to create the best pong table in the country, I got creative. If it was going to be the best it needed to represent URI, my school and the place I’d grown up. We pulled out all the stops. We threw in two 20” TV’s, a refrigerated tap system, custom logos, surround sound and a high powered stereo. Not only did the table turn heads, but it was quickly ranked #1 in the country; and it didn’t stop there.
As our wins racked up on the URI table, people would jokingly suggest ridiculous ideas for future designs. All these ideas were possible but completely unrealistic due to the fact that I was, indeed, a broke college student. Fortunately a close friend who wasn’t shy with his cash offered to sponsor my next table. Pandora’s box was opened. I was able to keep the same basic table design while adding tons of new features.
We stepped up the TV’s to 26 inch LCD Flat screens, countersunk them into the table and protected them with a ¼ piece of safety glass. Since this table was going into a much larger house we installed a new receiver and a high powered amplifier supplying sound to two booming speakers. Not only was the table’s audio amped up, but hooked the house’s surround sound, and the video projected onto additional screens in the house. I upgraded the taps, the beer, the kegerator, and (to make changing kegs easier when the party was in full swing) the beer was stored in the basement instead of under the table. We pumped hot water through the table to flow through the “ball washers.” We even installed blowers on either side of the taps perfectly calibrated to let the balls float in midair. The traditional cup hole cut-outs even lifted right out of the table for an easier clean.
All of these changes were a product of years of fine tuning. But it needed something more. The last major addition that really set this table apart was the electronic scoreboard. Sensors under the cup holes had wires running to the scoreboard, where red LED’s indicated how many cups were left in each game. Essentially, every time you pulled a cup the corresponding light went out on the score board. It was genius. This allowed us all to know the progression of games being played without even being able to see the table. I glossed out the finish and applied Red Sox decals honoring our 2007 World Series Champs.
A dream was built.
Owning the Table
Once we’d unleashed the table to the world, everyone who saw it was convinced that I needed to build and sell these tables to people around the country. Although it seemed like a great idea, the cost to make such a large table was less than affordable, let alone shipping it to someone. In order to sell my tables nationwide I had to make some drastic changes.
That’s when the magic happened. I eliminated the boundaries of a “table” and kept only what was necessary; the racks that hold the beer. I upgraded the design so people could make them their own with custom graphics and logos. Using tri-pods to support the racks I created a beer pong haven that was functional, visually appealing and compact enough for the smallest of dorm rooms. Thanks to years of hard work and the efforts of many dedicated friends and family members, my dream is now a reality.