2011 BEF Junior Nationals 9-Ball Championship Underway

Over 100 students traveled from 26 states, all eyeing the title that will stay with the winner for a lifetime. Many participants were familiar with the venue since this was the second year in a row the Junior Nationals were held at Northern Illinois University's Huskies Den.

Registration was Wednesday evening, July 6th, and once registered, players could enjoy an evening of entertainment by the World famous Jeanette “The Black Widow” Lee.  Ms. Lee took on challengers and spent most of the evening signing Black Widow cue balls and posters that she generously donated to every player in the event.  To top off the evening, an adult/child tournament run by volunteers Tammy and Mel Leonard far exceeded the team participation from last year, and jumped from 32 teams to 63 teams!

The player meeting was at 9am on Thursday and Alicia Osborne of NIU did a beautiful job singing the National Anthem. Immediately following, tournament play began and those who did not have matches could enjoy more of the Black Widows demonstration and challenge matches throughout the afternoon.

Tournament play suspended at 6pm for the banquet. Over 240 guests enjoyed an evening of good food and entertainment.  BEF Executive Director Laura Smith opened by recognizing special guests in the audience that included Ivan Lee of Simonis Cloth, Christian Riddle of NIU, Tom ”Dr. Cue” & Marty Rossman and BEF board member Roy Pastor.  A full course meal was followed by speaker “The Black Widow” sharing her personal struggles with scoliosis throughout her life and career, to teach the kids the importance of perseverance in gaining what you want in life. Next up was the wonderful performance of a local youth theater group, “The Dreamers”. They sang and danced their way through a shortened version of the Cat in the Hats “Horton Hears a Who”.  Following this, the “Academic All American” awards were presented to an impressive 39 Junior National participants who were honored for achieving at least a 3.5 grade point average in the previous school year.  Random prizes were given throughout the evening and the banquet came to an end with the viewing of a video presentation.  Several top WPBA pros sent encouraging messages to the participants and photos from the previous year played to music. Thanks go out to Kyle Smith for putting this video together.

As soon as the banquet finished, everyone went downstairs to the Huskies Den to watch Dr. Cue dazzle the onlookers in a trick shot show that repeat viewers are never tired of watching.  “The Black Widow” finished up her visit by signing more autographs before saying goodbye

Junior National tournament play continues on Friday as well as Dr. Cue's Trick Shot event where players can try their hand at winning the title of “Junior National Artistic Pool Champion.”  Play will continue through Sunday.

To view the brackets, go to billiardeducation.org and click on the bracket  you want to see on the home page.