Parked at the bar Monday at The Pour House, Steve Keppy, a red-bearded regular, sipped on a bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon during the stop on his way home from work. Next to him sat a trophy he won about this time last year at the pub on the corner of W. Locust and Washington streets, Davenport.
The award he captured did not test his trivia knowledge or beanbag-tossing skills, but rather his mental toughness, decision making and luck. The mechanic for the city of Davenport registered for the second-annual rock-paper-scissors tournament on a whim — just five minutes before the action began — and eventually claimed the crown.
“I just stood there and stared in people’s eyes,” said Keppy, who towers over many opponents at 6 feet, 3 inches. “It might have thrown them off a bit.”
The reigning champ, whose bulky hands were still dirtied from work, recalled throwing rock more than paper or scissors during his road to the title, which he plans to defend this weekend.
Nancy and Mark Barton, who opened the establishment in 1995, are hosting their third-annual rock-paper-scissors tournament on Saturday. Participants, who must pay $2 to enter the double-elimination contest, will stand as they square off in a series of best two-out-of-three matchups. Additionally, competitors will be given mood rings to wear during play.
“It’s unlike any other tournament,” said Nancy, who is celebrating her 58th birthday on Sunday. “It goes so quickly and there are no hard feelings.”
As a reminder, here are the basic rules for the classic hand game:
• Rock wins against scissors
• Scissors wins against paper
• Paper wins against rock
This year’s winner will take home a trophy and receive 50 percent of the proceeds. The runner-up will collect 30 percent of the winnings and the third-place finisher will receive 20 percent.
Heading into the competition, Keppy does not have high hopes of walking away victorious this year.
“Odds are, I’m going to lose in the first round, right off the bat,” he said. “It’s all just by chance.”
A piece of paper taped to the window of the bar promoted the upcoming gathering, advertising complementary fare and drink specials. On Monday, a slow cooker full of steaming jalapeño-infused chili welcomed patrons, a weekly service the owners provide during football season.
They hope at least 50 people turn out for the event, which Mark Barton initially thought was "goofy," before later adopting the quirky tradition.
“My family makes a lot of really important decisions with rock, paper, scissors, but doesn’t everybody?" said Nancy, a mother of three, who also works at the Davenport Public Library. "If everything else is equal, let the universe decide."