Pinball for All!

In South Roxana, there is a place you can be transported to the heyday of the 1970’s, with dad rock on repeat and denim as far as the eye can see. That place can be none other than CP Pinball, the most excellent Pinball Arcade and Museum run by collector Chuck Sanderson.

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Chuck Sanderson standing next to a pinball machine opened up.

Chuck Sanderson standing next to a pinball machine opened up.

Walking into the building, you are immediately greeted by rows of pinball machines — lights flashing chaotically and different theme songs playing over each other. I was instantly hooked, trying out one machine after another, and realizing Space Cadet 3D Pinball was not nearly as cool as the real thing. After getting sucked into several intense games, I finally pried myself away long enough to talk to Sanderson more about his passion for pinball.

“Basically we’re dedicated to the preservation of Pinball,” Sanderson said. “We take a machine, put our heart and soul into fixing it up, and once it’s looking like new you can come in and play on it.”

With nearly 100 pinball machines to play, and completely filling the three buildings on the property, Sanderson is clearly dedicated to his craft. Inspired by broken machines at bars and restaurants — zero maintenance, broken mechanisms and lights not working — Chuck knows about the inner workings of all his machines to ensure they are properly cared for.

“All of these machines I have here are in perfect working condition,” Sanderson said. “If there’s something wrong with one of my machines I kinda take it personally, and work to make sure I can get it up and running again.”  

Recently, CP Pinball hosted a benefit for Partners for Pets Humane Society, bringing in pinball lovers and dog lovers alike. Local magician Michael Knor showed up for the event to support the cause and play some groovy games.

“My dog is a rescue and my best friend, so I love what they’re doing here,” Knor said. “I’ve never even been here before, but now that I have, I can definitely see myself coming back with some friends.”

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All proceeds from the event went to the Partners for Pets Human Society. Sanderson says to expect more events like this in the future.

CP Pinball is open every Saturday from noon until midnight, charging $5 per hour, or $20 to play all day. Outside food and drink is permitted and machines are set to free play —  no quarters needed.

*For artists or anyone interested, look up Jeremy Packer or “Zombie Yeti” for some EXCELLENT art and illustrations used on modern pinball machines.

Written and photographed by Bryan Bethel