2nd Annual SW Championship a success in Phoenix

The 2nd Annual Southwest Pocket Billiard Championship held Nov. 4th-7th at Bull Shooters in Phoenix, AZ proved to be successful and worthy of consecutive events.  Entrants came from as far as the Chicagoland area, Las Vegas, and many different areas in Arizona on a beautiful weekend for the four day event. The host site was well prepared; the food was good with different specials offered each day with fast and friendly service throughout.  All play was on the 7 foot bar boxes that were in great condition.
Eight –time World Champion, Nick Varner, offered an Instructional Clinic to those who desired to improve their pool playing skills. He also instructed a clinic prior to the event.  Thanks to Robert of 43rd Avenue Tavern for hosting on Tuesday.

 Nick graciously made his world class presence available each day to meet and greet the players and the public. On Saturday Nick displayed several of his talents proving why he is one of the most prolific players in the history of the game with a “Skills and Trick Shot” show.  Nick explained each of the skills needed to perform each shot as he proceeded to make each one. Afterwards Nick mingled with the crowd providing autographs and participating in challenge matches.  To have played with a real World Champion was a privilege and an honor as we all aspire to become so great! Our most special thank you to Nick Varner.  Video footage of trick shots may be viewed at gmpaonline.info.
The 2nd Annual Southwest consisted of a series of consecutive events from small to mid-size tournaments that were scheduled over the four day period.  New divisions were Seniors 8-ball and 9-ball. The two day 8-ball tournament was split into three divisions, Platinum, Gold, and Silver for the purpose of placing players by skill levels. In the Open tournaments Platinum players had to play one extra game per match.
Thursday opened with 9-ball Seniors. A field of thirteen participated. This inaugural event was well worth the money as one hundred percent of the entry plus added money made for a nice prize fund. Fourth place went to Milton Strack from Monticello, Illinois eliminated at the hands of sharp shooting Ed Scott. Placing Ed in third was Charley Huen who went on to face the rocking chair winner, Fred Boggs of Las Vegas. Having never experiencing a losing match in this event Fred was not about to be denied as he prevailed with a 6-1 victory capturing the first place prize.
A qualifier was played in the Women 9-ball division. The results had Barb Allen tied with Leandrea Gaff at the finish. However, based on head-to-head play Barb was declared the winner placing Leandrea second with a 5-2 match play win.
The Open 9-ball division had 24 entries with some great play within. Platinum players had to race one ahead of open players. Fifth/Sixth places went to John Nauman, barely missing a chance to advance and Mike Strudas . Fourth had Jimmy Moore who was defeated by the red hot play of Ben Sutherland who also ran over Ronnie Allen. This earned him a spot to play Fred Boggs in the championship round. After witnessing Ben's display of skill Fred turned it up a notch for a convincing 6-0 shutout and the glory.
Friday started with the Seniors 8-ball division. Twelve players (11 male & 1 female) were all in stroke to begin the match. The hottest player there had to be Dale Teague, master cue builder and local favorite, as he eliminated one opponent after another. Dale had to play Fred Boggs twice, winning when it counted, placing Fred in fourth 5-3. Dale then placed Milton Strack in third by a score of 5-3 before finally facing off with speedster Jimmy Moore of Las Vegas. Moore took the honors with a narrow margin of victory,  6-4 to again secure a title for Nevada.
The new Platinum division could have had an even dozen players but only four braved it out for a tough fought qualifier. The top two played a race to five for first and second. Richie Daniels, Prescott Valley, who lost in the qualifier, 5-4 to Larry Eans, returned the favor on the hill victory to secure the title.
The Women Silver division qualifier came down to the wire. All had a chance to win depending on the last round scores. The final two were Sara Sorg and Vilene Stutsman that made a dash for the cash, taking the title with a 5-3 win.
The Gold division consisted of open players only. Mike Strudas, Burns Harbor, Indiana, placed Todd Dilley in fourth. Still smarting from the last match, Vic Tyynismaa, Lake Havasu, put Mike in third. Chris Akey was well rested and waiting for Vic. Chris gained another title for Las Vegas with a resounding 4-1 win over Vic.
Saturday evening introduced another new tournament, the 2+2 Sudden Death 8-ball/9-ball. This is a series of a race to two of 9-ball then 8-ball with the same opponent. In case of a tie a flip of a coin determined by the winner of the call, breaks the game of choice in a sudden-death tiebreaker. The championship was played by Troy Ridder and Jimmy Moore. Moore coming out of the one loss side won two matches securing another victory for Las Vegas. Brian Poore placed third.  Super exciting is how it was described by many.
With only three tournaments left Scotch Doubles began in the evening. Thirty-four players (17 teams) were ready for action. The proof of this were fifty percent of the matches tied until the last game. Platinum teams of Larry Eans/Sophia Marquecho and Marney Teague/Cecil Messer raced ahead of open teams' two games and one game over teams with one Platinum player. Those teams raced one ahead of open division teams. This made for a very equal field of play. Fighting their way undefeated to the rocking chair was the team of Tyson Cole/Beverly Cook. They arrived there with a bye, Rd 2 win over Donna/Charles, Rd 3 win over MaryHelen Mondragon/Richard Haynes, Rd 4 over Larry/Sophia, and Rd 5 MaryBeth Johnson/Joe Nicita. On the one loss side Sophia/Larry defeated Veronica Poore/Carlos Avalos placing them fourth. The next match was quite the nail biter as the winner would play for the championship with Tyson/Beverly. Marybeth/Joe came away with a hill win placing Larry/Sophia in third place. Noteworthy is that Marybeth/Joe are open players. They gave the very skilled team of Cole/Cook all they could handle. Without a doubt the Beverly/Tyson team was  prepared to play as they won the well deserved first place honor in the finals.
Sunday was the wrap up with the Lucasi Tour Stop 8-ball tournaments. Thirty players were divided into two divisions, open bar box (22) and open women (8). Each had added money as did all events throughout the four days. As always the women players showed their intense competition level in the qualifier as the 7th round of play held the results. Congratulations to the players that made this so exciting Lee White, Patience West, 2009 winner, Ann Burgess, Marney Teague, platinum player spotting one game, MaryHelen Mondragon, 2009 runner-up, and Lynda Niichel that placed third. The final was played between Pearl Napa and Leandrea Gaff with Gaff prevailing to take the crown 4-1.
The Mens' Open had 22 players dominated by one-third of the field that were platinum players. They raced one ahead, however; that did not deter the efforts of quiet Chris McCreary, Las Vegas. He proceeded to run off racks against Jimmy Moore on the way to a fifth place finish. Joining him in fifth was his friend, Fred Boggs. Chris almost went up one more rung on the ladder if not for the crafty play of Ronnie Allen, who came in fourth. By way of a split, Greg Kuhl, Las Vegas, and another local favorite Larry Eans were to face off for the rocking chair. Greg had just won over Chris Akey. Larry Eans was the winner with Greg Kuhl second and Chris Akey third. A total of 650.00 was added into the two divisions, 525.00 men and 125.00 women. Eans and Gaff also earned a paid entry into the 2011 National ACS Singles Championships at the Tropicana in Las Vegas May7th-14th.
In the past two years the Southwest Championships have tried many different tournaments within the event. With this history, we now have a feel for the Players over-all desired discipline for future events.

A big thank you to MaryHelen Mondragon for creating and keeping current the very informative gmpaonline.info website. Our thanks to the experienced league operators that supported and ensured the success of the event. Special thanks to Jerry Stuckart for his insight, Larry Eans, for all his hard work in promotion, Lee White and her loyal players, and the help of the various media outlets. The Greater Midwest Poolplayers Association is proud to announce that the event will be back at Bull Shooters next year. It is tentatively scheduled for October so that it does not overlap with the Tap Nationals. A new division called the Bronze Division will be in place as a walk up entry type. This will be geared toward the average and novice skill player.  Allowing everyone to have a chance at winning the cash.
With this support, the various divisions, and the great playing arena we look forward to big numbers next year.