Durbin wins 2nd Annual “Big Muddy Freeroll”

Shane McMinn, Roger Alford (Manager) and Eric Durbin

Durbin wins 2nd Annual "Big Muddy Freeroll"


It's known as the "Big Muddy Freeroll," in part, because of its proximity to the Mississippi River. The host room, The Billiard Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, is literally, a stone's throw away from that 'mighty Mississip.' It's about 115 miles southeast of Saint Louis, and just under 200 miles northwest of Nashville, TN, on the west bank of a sharp, western curve in the river's meandering path. The arguably more important consideration for entrants, though, is the "Freeroll" part, which means no entry fees. On the weekend of March 8-10, in the handicapped, $2,500-added, 2nd Annual Big Muddy Freeroll, held under the auspices, though not strictly a stop on the Midwest 9-Ball Tour, Eric Durbin went undefeated through a field of 92 entrants, including Shane McMinn twice, to capture the title. 

They met first among the winners' side final four, in a straight-up race to 14, with Durbin sending McMinn west 14-11 (players raced to their individual handicap number). Durbin was joined in the hot seat match by Steve Boucher, who sent Conrad Higgerson over 12-5 (Higgerson racing to 9). Durbin gained the hot seat 14-11 and waited on the return of McMinn.

First up for McMinn on his three-match march back to the finals was Drake Niepoetter, who'd eliminated Rusty Tanner 7-1 and then, defeated his 'dear old Dad,' Dale Niepoetter 7-4 (Dad racing to 9). Higgerson drew Schuyler Woodward, who'd gotten by Rich Sager14-4 and Chuck Raulston 14-8. McMinn and Woodward advanced to the quarterfinals; McMinn 14-5 over Drake Niepoetter and Woodward 14-2 over Higgerson.

In the straight-up, quarterfinal race to 14, McMinn knocked Woodward out 14-10, and then completed his loss-side run with a 14-6 victory over Boucher in the semifinals. In the potentially two-set final, Durbin took the opening set 14-11 to claim the 2nd Annual Big Muddy Freeroll title.