Friday | July 01, 2016
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Teams battle it out at Call of Duty tournament

Eight teams battled Saturday at the Script in Kailua-Kona for a $1,000 grand prize and a chance to be named champion of Stick it Hawaii’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II tournament.

“I have been a gamer all my life and always play online or with my friends,” Stick it Hawaii founder Justin Kaaihue said. “We came up with the idea to have these events to bring people in the gaming community together and have people interact.”

The gaming tournament was the first of its kind in Kona.

A tournament with the same format premiered in Hilo earlier this year and drew 13 teams.

The event brought people from all walks of life together to compete.

“Video games are a great source for me to release stress, and when I have downtime away from the kids it’s what I do to escape,” Aura Kanehailua, a mother of three, said.

Kanehailua has not always been a fan of video games though.

“My boyfriend used to play a lot and we fought almost to the point of breaking up about it,” Kanehailua said. “I picked it up and started playing a lot and now he’s the one telling me to get off the games.”

When asked if she was the best gamer in her household, Kanehailua quickly nodded yes.

The event was no minor operation.

An announcer called the games as the spectators watched the action on a projector in the center of the room.

The teams of four were split on opposite sides of the room with each competitor playing on individual monitors and barking directions to each other via headset.

“Anyone can set up 50 chairs and a few TVs,” Kaaihue said. “I’ve been inspired from stuff I saw growing up at my church. We wanted to do it big.”

The eight teams battled in a variety of classic Call of Duty game types from 11 a.m. till 9 p.m.

The results of the tournament were not available at press time.

Stick it Hawaii hopes to host tournaments more often and are constantly learning through experience.

“Everyone has told us it has been great fun, but we like hearing the bad feedback too so we can improve these events,” Kaaihue said. “We don’t do this for the money, we just like to see people come out and support the gaming community.”

Stick it Hawaii was founded by Kaaihue in 2010 and aims to bring a series of family-oriented events to the island that have not been available before.

In April the company hosted an alcohol- and drug-free bingo event in Hilo that drew more than 300 patrons.

The next Stick it Hawaii event is slated to be an EA Sports Madden NFL 25 tournament in Hilo in October.