The Punslingers portion of the 2010 O. Henry Pun-Off consisted of 32 contestants competing head-to-head. Contestants take the stage in pairs, and are given a topic selected randomly from a list of traditional topics. In turn, each player has five seconds to deliver, or begin delivering solid puns. This goes back and forth until one of the two either exceeds the given five seconds or accumulates three non-qualifying attempts.
The loser is eliminated, and the winner proceeds to the next round. Rounds continue until only one Punslinger is left standing.
While I was not able to stay for this part of the competition, Gary Hallock reports:
Winnowing down the 32 contestants in this event found us battling at warp speed in the vinyl heat on the topic of “CRIMES.” This battle featured a face off between two repeat offenders. Last year’s silver medalist, Ben Ziek of Glendale CA. eventually bested former Austinite, Jason Epstein.
Third place PunSlinging honors were shared by returning 2009 champ, Matt Pollock of Austin and neophyte, Jack White who appears to be a local but obviously competes in an altered state.