Thursday, March 20, 2003

Entrepreneur has got game

Born in the basement, Spot-A-Shot's moving upstairs

By Jenny Callison
Enquirer contributor

[photo] Michael Montgomery dreamed he was playing a basketball board game with his father. Soon, the game became reality.
(Joseph A. Fuqua II photo)
| ZOOM |
Some people dream of entrepreneurial ventures. Michael Montgomery's dream provided specific instructions.

Montgomery, inventor of a basketball board game, Spot-A-Shot, remembers the revelation in detail.

"In November of 1996, my father passed away. Two weeks later, at 2 a.m., I awoke from a dream in which my father and I were playing a game of Spot-A-Shot. In my mind, I already knew the rules, what the dice looked like, and the name of the game."

That day, Montgomery created his prototype and spent 18 hours trying it with a friend. Soon after, he initiated the patent application process. He also crafted an oversized model for himself, featuring the University of Louisville's red-and-black color scheme. Then the game was benched for several years while its inventor worked for an out-of-state business.

Recently, Montgomery began turning out a few game boards for friends. Others saw the Spot-A-Shot game and requested more. Montgomery decided to pick up the pace as orders dribbled in through word of mouth.

Spot-A-Shot is available through Michael Montgomery for $25 plus $8 shipping and handling.
Montgomery is developing a companion game, "Spot-A-Shot One-on-One." With the release of his second product, Montgomery plans to unveil a Web site. For now, though, he takes orders over the phone.
Information: (812) 574-1037.
Spot-A-Shot's inventor works in his Madison, Ind., basement, which is lined with white pine planks. He cuts these boards into 10-by-18-inch rectangles that form the game court. He adds posts and paints the board to look like a basketball floor. These days, he's building up to 30 mini-courts a day and has sold several hundred.

"The game is hand-made of real wood with graphics depicting the colors of your favorite college or pro team and, for a limited time, numbered in the order of their production," Montgomery said.

Because he has not yet secured team-licensing rights, Montgomery can't reproduce logos, so he settles for team colors.

A player takes one of two dice. Players take turns rolling the dice, which determine how each team's five ball markers move through a number sequence to score. To win, a player must get all five balls around the court from "home" into the score rack.

With basketball fever spiking this month, Montgomery is focusing on promotional efforts. He has been in touch with the region's basketball coaches.

Garry Donna, publisher of Hoosier Basketball magazine in Indianapolis, had fun with the game.

"It is an exciting and competitive game for basketball fans of all ages," he said. "Its appearance initially grabs your attention, but beyond that, the fun of actually playing Spot-A-Shot is what ultimately stands out.

"It's a little bit habit-forming. If you lose, you want to play again; if you win, the other person wants to play again. It's simple, so kids can play as well as adults."


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