9th Annual Western BCA 9-Ball Regional Tournament – Touch of Class

A sunny day, mild breeze, the surf rolling onto the shore, waves breaking on the rocks, a blue sky, salt in the air, seagulls hovering overhead. Sound like a dream vacation or a picture hanging on your living room wall? It was the location of the best regional pool tournament in the country, Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City, Oregon, October 25-29, 2006.

The 2006 Western BCA Regional 9-Ball Tournament hosted 595 player-members, with over 1027 entries in 9 events and approximately $52,000 in total prize money. $19,845 was added to the prize money, including $5,000 from Chinook Winds Casino Resort and $1,000 from the national BCA Pool League. The balance of $13,845 came from the Western BCA.

Chinook Winds made us feel welcome beyond just the added money. They are very committed to having the Western BCA use their facility for this and future events. Along with the activities offered at Chinook Winds and Lincoln City, there were vendors, giveaways, raffles, second-chance tournaments, mini-tournaments and ring games. When people weren't playing pool or gambling, they were playing on the beach and visiting the local community.

The Western BCA Board led by President Bill Henderson is responsible for this very successful event. Vice-president Sam Rabito coordinated the event set up. A tournament of this scope would not be possible were it not for the vision and dedication of the officers and board members of the Western BCA

The new design was the buzz. The table layout relieved much of the congestion of the former middle aisle. The new design was pleasing to look at and everyone loved it. Tom Moss put the careful measurements into play. The other buzz was the splitting of the men's open into A and B divisions. That helped create more balanced competition. Many pre-tournament predictions became surprises. Many favorites dropped like flies early, making room for some new winners to rise to the top.

Gary Benson and High Country Promotions provided 64 Valley tables for the main events. Gary and his staff kept things running smoothly. After a serious bottleneck in the brackets, Gary's expertise got a difficult situation back on a smooth track. Gary is the most experienced Tournament Director in the country and having Benson and his staff is a great asset to Western BCA.

On The Wire produced the large, full color tournament program. The professional program is considered the best one yet. The hall of fame portion of the program shows the proud tradition of Western BCA. The program gives the tournament participants vital information about the event as well as a lasting momento of a week well spent.

Venders were: On the Wire, Billiards911.com (formerly Beads and Billiards), Palace Billiards and Dave Lauer Cue Repair. The Chinook Winds food court and beverage bar were greatly appreciated by all.

The new event logo design was popular and many took home a shirt or a hat. Vanessa Schwab, the person behind the “dynamite” shirt design, once again came up with a design you would want to wear. Joyce Gumm zipped out the payout checks, putting in endless hours so that members could collect their hard earned winnings without waiting a long time. Cindy Rosenthal, Stacy Sherman and Andrew Monstis did a marathon of work on the podium, volunteering many hours over several days so that the tournament would run efficiently and people would enjoy the event.

Western BCA members are proud to be united with the BCA Pool League. A huge thanks to goes to Mark Griffin's National Team for the support given here and nationally. The BCAPL is the finest pool organization in the country, putting forth what the players want to see, an improved pool environment available to all regardless of age, gender or skill level and well-run events on the best equipment.

The tournament led off with scotch doubles. The Masters Scotch Doubles was a nail biter. Glenn Atwell (grand master) and Andrea Saenz-Maes (master) prevailed over Liz Cole (master) and Darrel Schulden (open A) in the finals of the traditional event. The Open Scotch double team of Sean Lewis and Crystal Opoka, Seattle Sno-king league members formerly from Portland, took home the bacon, defeating Ernie Omori and Vickie Knutson (Sno-king). 21-year-old Crystal Opoka showed quite a lot of promise and will be a force to reckon with in years to come.

The singles events got underway Thursday morning. Mens Master Todd Speakman of Vancouver played like a man on a mission climbing to the top to become the WESTERN BCA 2006 9-Ball masters champion. He went through a tough field, beating some great players handily. Todd Marsh of Seattle put up a fight as a classy competitor. Womens Master Carissa Biggs of the Northwest Players League won over defending champ, Kris Robbins of Emerald Valley, in a classic battle.

Cedric Sloan from Beaverton (NPL) took the Open A division. He played steadily and didn't let anyone down who predicted his eventual win. He played from the loser's side and beat a worthy opponent, Mike Stephens from Seattle. Welcome to the masters. New player Micah O'Malley won the Men's Open B, playing like a champ, running through everyone undefeated. He's from Seattle's Sno-king League.

Steady Northwest Players League's Wendy Sedlacek, whipping through a hard-hitting field, won the Women's Open. She played Julie Valdez from Seattle in the final.

The team event began Saturday morning with a packed house. The Master Women's team event saw newcomer Cathy Duenas playing like a demon to help her teammates Carissa Biggs and Ann Brandt of the Billiard and Barstools Babes team from Northwest Players League, Oregon City, triumph over “The Other Team,” Sno-King, Seattle's Margie Avlon, Sherrie Griffin and Angela Jensen

The Men's Team Division was a very competitive event. Many predicable teams were nowhere to be found. “Lights Out” from Vancouver, Washington (NPL) players Todd Speakman, Steve Meyers and Herb Johnson ran out of fairy dust as “Classic Billiards”, Portland (Cascade Pool League) with Glenn Atwell, John Lewis, Don Iverson and Scott “the shot” Simpson put out the lights on the Vancouver team.

What a remarkable tournament! There were many upsets and many players reasserting their positions -- a very competitive event. Considerable congratulations are in order for all the players who have demonstrated the talent to reach into the upper divisions.

The popular ring game was just that -- once again, the excitement of the Ten-Ball Ring Game was a real crowd pleaser. The $100.00 per person entry, winner-take-all format had twelve entries (eleven men and one woman): Todd Gooch, Bob Zack, Chad Bisconner, Ernie Omori, Don Wirtaman, Jeff Jerome, Mike Stevens, Pat Schumacher, Mat Bryan, Shad Pantle, Ken Dodd, and Liz Cole. Liz, the only woman to enter, played strong and led for several rounds. After about three hours we were left with two players, Bob Zack and Mat Bryan. Matt Bryan and Bob Zack put on a show as the final two combatants played eleven more games, fighting back and forth until midnight. Matt had $1,120.00 and Bob had $80.00. We talked them into calling it a night and Matt gave Bob $200.00 “to just go away.” If you have played in ring games, you understand that the games depend on the rolls and your ability to concentrate when you get a shot. You must take advantage of opportunities when you get them. That's what makes it so exciting and fun to watch. We are working on another Ring Game for the March 8-Ball Regional.

We started our Mini's on Wednesday night, with the formats ranging from Open B Singles to Master Scotch. We finished the Mini's off on Friday night. We had a grand total of 39 happy mini-tourneys. Our Second Chance Open Singles tournament started Friday at 10:30 am. We had 48 entries, 47 men and 1 woman (Vanessa Schwab). It was $20 entry, race to 5, Single Elimination. We started at 10:30 am Friday morning and finished around 5 pm. Western BCA added $400 to the pot, giving $350 to our winner, Bill Ermatinger.

Our Second Chance Master Singles tournament had 8 entries, $20 entry, race to 6, single elimination. Western BCA added $100 to the pot, giving our winner, Robert Neimeyer, $200.

Our Second Chance Team tournament was Sunday morning at 10 am, with 12 entries, 10 men's teams and 2 women's. The men's teams graciously agreed to give the women' teams a 3-game spot. The winners were Killer B's. The format was race to 11, single elimination, $60 entry per team with $210 added by Western BCA.

The many door prizes were a great success, with lucky players going home with some great prizes. Kudos to Sam Rabito and Andrew Monstis for gathering the items.

As this tournament came to a close, it was very gratifying to hear the many positive comments made by players and spectators. “I have attended many of Western BCA's regional tournaments, and this is the best 9-ball ever held,” said Samantha Simatos of Spokane's Inland BCA. Countless others echoed these sentiments.

From Western BCA President, Bill Henderson: “I have been to all the Western BCA Regional tournaments and this one stands out for several reasons. The quality of pool has risen dramatically over the years and this tournament was a showcase for some of the best pool I have ever seen at the tournaments. The referees were a seasoned crew and also the best we have ever had. Probably the biggest change was the layout of the tables and everyone seemed to be happy with the change. By putting the brackets in the hallway a lot of the congestion was eliminated and it made it so much easier to get around the room. And although I am not a great fan of a dress code, I have to admit that it did make the room look a lot classier. I hope we can always have tournaments where the class, style and skill of the players are the talk of the tournament. And let's not forget the weather, except for one rainy morning the days at the beach were sunny, warm and wonderful. Congratulations to the winners, and to the non-winners like me, just keep practicing because our day will come. I would like to thank everyone that came and played or watched and I hope we can make the next Western BCA Regional tournament even more memorable.”

Western BCA Pool Players Association is expanding. We welcome all players in the region. If you are interested in becoming a Western BCA Pool member or league operator, please contact the Western BCA via our website at www.westernbca.org Results or more information about this tournament, Western BCA, and our member leagues can be found here.

We want to hear your comments both positive and more positive. Suggestions for improvement are always welcome. Without our members and their driving desire to compete, these tournaments would not be possible. Next on the agenda is preparation for the 12th Annual Regional 8-Ball Tournament to be held March 6-ll, 2007.

Stay tuned; it's going to be a dandy.