Thousands Attend This Year’s GigaZone Gaming Championship and TechXpo in Bemidji
Over 4,000 video gamers and tech enthusiasts gathered at Bemidji’s Sanford Center on Saturday for this year’s GigaZone Gaming Championship and TechXpo, hosted by Paul Bunyan Communications.
“This is our event that we’ve put on since 2016, the gaming event started then, and has been growing exponentially each year,” said Paul Bunyan Communications Marketing Supervisor Brian Bissonette.
“There’s a lot of games going on for everybody for different age groups so that’s pretty cool to see,” said Tyler Maas, a competitor in this year’s “Rocket League” tournament.
In addition to the annual gaming championship and free-to-play arcade games, this year saw the addition of the TechXpo, which showcased over 30 exhibitors from colleges, local companies, and independent tech startups. The goal of having the exhibitors was to connect up-and-comers with professionals in the industry.
“This is kind of a vision of mine and a lot of other people who are involved in this, is to kinda see Bemidji kinda grow in the area of technology and, you know, innovation and things like that,” said Simmuk Studios Programmer Gabe Anderson.
“It’s great, there’s been a lot of interest,” said Northwest Technical College Plumbing and HVAC Instructor Julian Dreher.
While the day’s events were certainly a big draw on their own, by far the biggest attraction was an on-stage discussion with tech pioneer and Apple co-founder Steve “Woz” Wozniak.
“I love to especially meet younger people or people who are starting up companies. I love to mentor them, give them advice and whatever. I wanted people to find their life passion that way, and I still do that to this day,” said Wozniak. “And to see so many people, there’s interest. There’s interest in what tech has meant to us and what it does.”
The Gaming Championship’s main tournament saw a Duluth resident take home $500 as a grand prize, with the second place contestant from Grand Forks take home $400.
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