For some reason Shaen Sommerlot's floating Beer Pong table isn't mentioned.
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Thwock, Gulp, Kaching!
Beer Pong Inspires Inventors College Drinking Game Spurs Cottage Industry
CHICAGO -- Sick of cleaning sticky floors after bouts of beer pong, a popular campus drinking game, recent Northwestern University graduates Andy Wright and Mike Johnson put their engineering degrees to use. They devised a triangular rubber mat that helps keep plastic cups of beer from toppling over.
These guys aren't exactly Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. But Messrs. Wright and Johnson, both 22 years old, are part of a new wave of young people trying to make money tapping into their peers' devotion to beer pong, a cross between ping-pong and beer chugging. As beer-pong season hits a peak with the start of the school year, these beer-pong entrepreneurs are running tournaments and peddling customized beer-pong tables, balls and apparel.
In 2005, brewing giant Anheuser-Busch Cos. sponsored tournaments across the country in a promotion called Bud Pong. But the company abandoned the game after media reports suggested it promoted binge drinking.
Stepping into the breach were Billy Gaines and Duncan Carroll, Carnegie Mellon University grads who in 2004 developed Web site bpong.com and a multiplayer online beer-pong game. Last year they played host to the first World Series of Beer Pong. "Those who dislike parties, pong, music, girls, trash-talking, and gambling need not apply," the tournament's official Web site says. The tournament this year attracted nearly 500 pongers to Mesquite, Nev., for a four-day tournament and $20,000 in prize money raised by charging $550 entry fees. Mr. Gaines, a 26-year-old Chicago lawyer, says he and Mr. Carroll, a 26-year-old graphic designer, haven't taken profits from the tournament yet. For now, they say they are building their brand by buying tables, balls and cups and reselling them emblazoned with their tournament logo.