PITTSBURG — Like many 11-year-olds, Brock Gambill loves Pokémon.

It all began a few years ago when Brock came across an animated show called Pokémon.

From there, he began accumulating Pokémon plushies, figures, games, T-shirts, cards and more.

Pokémon was launched in the 1990s in Japan. The company created an animated series about creatures being caught and trained by Pokémon trainers. The Pokémon company also created a card game and other forms of entertainment, including figures, stuffed Pokémon and clothing.

With the help of his parents, he researched where to find tournaments, ultimately learning about the Pokémon World Championship in Nashville, Tennessee.

From then, Brock had only one goal — to go to the Pokémon World Championship as a tournament player.

“Playing Pokémon is extremely hard,” he said. “You have to go against 200-300 of the best players in the world.”

It wasn’t as easy as just showing up for the game, he had to have a certain amount of points from regional tournaments.

Brock practiced with groups of friends he met at gaming locations in Independence, Missouri, and Lenexa. Brock said he hasn’t found too many other Pokémon tournaments around the Pittsburg area and he hopes to find other children to play Pokémon with.

At his first tournament, Brock wasn’t too sure how to play, however, his opponents kindly taught him, he said.

During a Pokémon card game each player has a deck of cards deck filled with Pokémon types, such as Pikachu which is an electric type, Charizard is a fire type or Squirtle which is a water type.

Over the past two decades Pokémon creators came up with various generations, many of which Brock can list. Out of the many hundreds of Pokémon characters, Mega Charizard X, Mimikyu and Umbreon are at the top of his favorite list.

This past year, Brock took his cards to the regional Pokémon tournaments and competed as a junior contestant.

During the tournament he accumulated enough points to be invited to the Pokémon World Championship.

“I was ecstatic,” Brock said.

Near the end of August, Brock traveled with his parents to Nashville and was blown away by the venue. Brock said when he walked into the building there were huge Pikachu balloons and drapes with Pokémon hung from the ceiling.

At the event Brock met people from around the world, he even had matches with people who spoke different languages.

Brock was unfortunately out in the first round, however, he said, his goal wasn’t to win.

“It was my goal to make it to Worlds,” he said.

Although his part in the tournament was over he was able to go to the open tournaments, which allowed visitors to challenge one another.

Brock now has a new goal in mind, he said. He hopes to go back, except this time play in the Pokkén Tournament DX which is played through a video game rather than cards.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. To nominate someone for Patrick's People send an email to patrickspeople@morningsun.net