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$2,500 Awarded for Costumes Depicting Popular Characters in Video Games

SALT RIVER PIMA-MARICOPA INDIAN COMMUNITY, Ariz. (Dec. 14, 2017) Cosplayers were center stage in the Showroom at Talking Stick Resort as the property continued its eSports series last month. As part of the event, a new component was added, a Cosplay costume contest. The E/AZ Cosplay Contest on Nov. 18 offered a prize pool of $2,500 and counted among its winners some of the most popular video games and animation.

“Delving into the world of Cosplay has been truly eye opening,” said Ramon Martinez, director of public relations for Talking Stick Resort. “The costumes were not only spectacular, but the amount of skill and artistry that goes into each is awe-inspiring. The participants that we saw were so talented, I have no doubt the judges struggled with their final decision.”

Among the 16 contestants, six of them took home cash prizes. First place went to Kristin Stump for her costume, Mystic Kingdoms Arthas, from the video game Heroes of the Storm. Beyond its incredible detail, Stump’s costume was all the more special because it was originally a male character that she feminized. As the top prizewinner, Stump won a gift card for $1,250.

Second place went to a husband and wife duo, Colter and Ryann Gissel, who appropriately dressed as Xayah and Rakan, married characters from League of Legends. A professional costume designer, but fairly new to Cosplay, Gissel took home a $750 gift card despite being initially nervous when entering Talking Stick Resort’s contest.

“A girl I really admire was there, and I thought ‘Oh no, there are pros here.’ I think of myself as a good professional, but it was intimidating seeing big names,” said Gissel. “I have costume skills, but I’m new to Cosplay.” It was her husband, however who reassured her. “He said ‘Oh no you got this’ and he was right.”

The third place prize, a gift card for $350 went to Amber Skies, a professional costume and prop fabricator. Her costume TeKa, the volcanic antagonist from the wildly popular Disney movie “Moana” was a judge and fan favorite. A true artistic piece, Skies’ mountainous dress featured glowing lava and a mask.

Costumes were evaluated on their overall aesthetic and craftsmanship. Judges spent nearly 15 minutes with each Cosplayer closely examining and gaining a true understanding of the design. Ultimately, they looked for those that were not only the most creative, but also those with the greatest level of difficulty and accuracy to the character. Beyond the top three spots, judges awarded three participants with a “Judges’ Favorite” prize of $50.

Talking Stick Resort will host its third eSport competition on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018. To register visit,


Shanna Wolfe, RIESTER,, (602) 462-2246

Talking Stick Resort

Talking Stick Resort (TSR) is an AAA Four Diamond Rated Resort and a central landmark within the emerging Talking Stick Cultural and Entertainment Destination (TSCED). Located in Scottsdale, Ariz., just east of the Loop 101 on Talking Stick Way, TSR is locally owned and caringly operated by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. The property offers culturally rich experiences and luxury accommodations throughout its 496 deluxe rooms, 240,000 sq. ft. property, 11 restaurants and lounges, world-class spa, 650-seat showroom, 25,000 sq. ft. grand ballroom, thriving cultural center and more than 100,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor meeting space.

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