Monticello boy qualifies for elite world championships
Shane Kittelson-Burke, 10, of Monticello, proved he is one of the nation’s most skilled Pokémon players by placing seventh one month ago in the 2012 Pokémon Trading Card Game national finals in Indianapolis, earning him an invite (which the family has had to decline) to the World Championships taking place Aug. 10-12 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village – Hawaii.
“It feels really good to have gotten the invitation to worlds,” Shane said. His family had to turn down the invite this year for financial reasons. Travel expenses are being covered to Hawaii from the mainland for the first through fourth-place winners, but not the others.
Shane’s father, Justin Kittelson-Burke, first considered booking the trip for himself, for Shane and for Shane’s older brother, Tyler, 13. The family at home also includes wife and mother, Kristi, and Shane and Tyler’s four younger siblings.
To raise $6,000 for covering airfare, hotel and other expenses, Tyler set up a blog, pokemonbooster.blogspot.com. The boys also sought help from their friends and the community.
“(We were) hoping to raise enough money so Shane (could go),” said Tyler. “We’ll apply the money raised towards travel expenses for future competitions.”
Tyler and Shane have been playing Pokémon for more than five years. Tyler learned first and taught Shane how to play as soon as he was old enough to understand the game.
“Shane is in a younger division than me and always blows through the competition,” said Tyler.
“Having an older brother who plays has definitely been beneficial for Shane,” said the boys’ father.
The game of Pokémon begins with a handshake and a deck of 60 cards for each player. First, each deck is shuffled, then seven cards from the top of each deck are put facedown and six additional cards are drawn. These are “prize” cards. The rest of the deck is put aside.
Next, the person who is going first will have to search their cards for a Basic Pokémon. If they have one, they will put it down and the game begins. If not, they must reshuffle the deck and start over.
More information about the game can be found at wikihow.com/Play-With-Pokemon-Cards or inside any game card package.
“We are very proud of Shane that he got seventh overall in the nationals. Now the onus is on us to get him there and I hope we can do it,” said Justin.
The top world Pokémon player in each division receives a $10,000 college scholarship.
By Rachel M. Anderson