Compton, Gray, White and Shuff win events at first annual James Barnett “Ironman” Memorial

He was known as Ironman3844 in the chat rooms. Texas' James Barnett was a lover of bar box 9-ball, one-pocket, and ladies pool, and in honor of his passing last December, Ray "Big Truck" Hansen was asked by his family to produce the first memorial event in his honor.  Held over four days from June 30 to July 3, at Bogie's Billiards in Houston, TX, the first annual James Barnett  "Ironman" Memorial featured a $500-added, warm-up, mini bar box 9-ball tournament on Thursday night, and spread out over the next three days, a $4,000-added 9-ball event, a $2,500-added One-Pocket event, and a $1,500-added Ladies event.

The main 9-ball event drew 51 entrants, while the One-Pocket tournament drew 29. Thursday night's warm-up, the mini bar box 9-ball tournament, drew 32, while 13 ladies competed against each other in the first of the three main tournaments.

Chip Compton went undefeated to take the main 9-ball event, besting Tommy Tokoph in both the hot seat match and finals. Joey Gray went undefeated, as well, taking first place in the One-Pocket event, defeating Jeremy Jones, twice; once, among the winners' side final four and again, in the only set of what would have been a true double elimination final.

It was Kim White who took home the ladies' prize, coming from the one-loss side to win three straight, double hill matches. The first of these was a semifinal victory over Terry Petrosino, who'd sent her west from among the winners' side final four. The next and final two were both sets of a true double elimination final against hot seat occupant Ming Ng. Brandon Shuff was the winner of the mini bar box 9-ball event, besting David Escovedo in the finals. The three main event winners, in addition to their prize money, were awarded a custom James Barnett "Ironman" Memorial Jerry Olivier cue.  

In the 9-ball event, from among the winners' side final four, Compton got into the hot seat match with a 7-2 victory over Brian Rosenbaum. Tokoph joined him with a 7-4 win over Mike Alonzo. Compton and Tokoph battled back and forth to double hill, before Compton prevailed and Tokoph moved over to the semifinals.

Alonzo moved to the one-loss side, where he picked up Jeremy Jones, who'd reached him with two straight double hill victories over James Davis, Jr. and Tommy Milburn.  Rosenbaum drew Brandon Shuff, who'd gotten by Mickey Woinicki 7-4 and dominated in a match against Ernesto Bayaua 7-1. Rosenbaum put up more of a fight in the match that followed, but it was Shuff moving on to the quarterfinals with a 7-5 victory. Alonzo joined him after defeating Jones 7-5.

Alonzo downed Shuff in the quarterfinals 7-5, but couldn't stop Tokoph, who rode a 7-4 victory in the semifinals into a rematch versus Compton. Compton took an early 5-1 lead in the opening set of the true double elimination finals, and though Tokoph fought back to pull within one at 5-4, Compton won the last two to capture the first place prize.

In the One-Pocket event, Gray advanced to the hot seat, following a 3-1 victory over Jones, and then a double hill win over David Henson, who'd sent Jerry Prado west double hill. Prado moved over and got  by James Davis, Jr. 3-1. He was joined in the quarterfinals by Jones, who'd survived a double hill battle versus David Young. Jones then proceeded to win two straight, 3-0 matches against Prado and then, Henson in the semifinals, for a second chance against Gray.

They went back and forth, one game at a time to a 2-2 tie, and in the final game of the opening set, started by going backwards into minus territory. Gray, though, started picking them off, and ended up leaving Jones in a -1 hole, when he sunk his final ball to capture the first one-pocket title in the James Barnett "Ironman" Memorial.

Kudos for tour directors Ray Hansen, Yvette Reyes and Brandon Shuff, with a special tip of the hat to Hansen and his "Big Truck" production that broadcast many of the tournament matchups throughout the weekend.

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