EAGLE - Last year, a group of local gamers decided to form the Treasure Valley Pinball Club with hopes of sending someone to the national tournament next month.

The winner of the inaugural state championship pinball tournament came as a surprise to some of the die-hard pinball players who have spent decades honing their skills.

15-year-old Aviana Smith was crowned champion with a dominating performance.

For more than five hours on a recent Saturday, Aviana played the silver ball, and beat everyone.

"She beat me, she beat me bad," said runner-up Chris Hebert. "I won on one machine and she won on four machines."

Aviana explains the one-sided win by saying simply: "I was on fire."

But there was more than just dumb luck involved in her potent pinball performance. Aviana and her family spend several hours a couple times a week at Grinkers Grand Palace, where the competition was held.

And Aviana spends even more time playing at home, where the Smiths have squeezed almost an entire arcade - 11 games - into two rooms and a garage.

It's a passion that was passed down from father to daughter. Aviana's dad, Dwayne, fell in love with the lights and sounds as a kid, and began collecting the machines as an adult.

"Three years ago, I realized that these things are for sale, they still exist," he said.

Aviana can be found most days after school, and sometimes even before, playing pinball.

"There have been mornings that I'm laying in bed and it's 6 a.m. and I hear 'ding, ding, ding' and I'm like 'it's kind of early,'" said her mom, Debbie Courson Smith. "She got really good pretty darn fast."

Only competing for the last couple years, she finally beat her dad for the first time last year.

"I like how random it is," she said. "Generally a good strategy is aim for the flashing lights, and things should work out."

Aviana and her family will head to Dallas for the IFPA National Pinball Championship, which gets underway on March 16.

The Treasure Valley Pinball Club holds monthly tournaments across the valley for all ages and all abilities. To learn more, check out the group's Facebook page.