Gorst, Tkach, Garcia and Geronimo win events at 7th Annual Junior Norris Memorial Shootout

Fedor Gorst and Kristina Tkach

Tkach and Gorst share All-Around Player Award, Saez wins Sportsmanship Award

What started out as a Texas-style family barbecue held to honor two birthdays, eventually developed into an annual barbecue/multiple pool tournament event –  The Junior Norris Annual Memorial Shootout, named after one of the two people celebrating a birthday. The other birthday celebrant was Junor Norris’ Mom, Sadie. Junior’s birthday was June 30. Sadie’s was on July 4th, so the family found ways to split the date difference and hold a “little party,” 

In 2014, in preparation for Junior Norris’ 89th birthday (Sadie had passed in 1966), they thought they’d try something a little different.

“We thought, instead of a barbecue,” recalled Junior’s daughter, Sherrie Glenn, “what about we do the barbecue at the pool hall and do a tournament?”

This past (long) weekend, eight years later, from Wednesday, July 7 to Sunday, July 11, at the 7th Annual Junior Norris Memorial Shootout (the 7th event was initially cancelled last year due to COVID restrictions), the family played host to five separate events, with a total of $7,000-added that drew over 200 entrants (some cross-event duplications) to the Maskat Shrine Ballroom in Wichita Falls, TX.

And then fed them.

“I feed all my players for free,” said Sherrie Glenn of the paid players, VIP guests and event support staff that chowed down on Texas barbecue over the weekend.

They also played a lot of pool. From a single 9-ball event that was won in 2015 (when they started to keep records) by Las Vegas, NV’s Walter Glass, this year’s Junior Norris Memorial Shootout’s featured four events that were won by Fedor Gorst (10-Ball Ring Game), Edgie Geronimo with Justin Espinosa as runner-up (Open 9-Ball), Roland Garcia with Carlo Biado as runner-up (Open 10-Ball) and Russia’s Kristina Tkach with Minnesota’s April Larson as runner-up (Women’s 9-Ball Open). As a result of their efforts, Tkach and Fedor Gorst shared, and for the cameras, wrestled over the Memorial’s All-Around Player Award. 

Defending champs ‘in the house,’ included Efren Reyes, who is on his Farewell Tour throughout the US, and who won the Open 9-Ball event in 2019. He finished in 4th place this year, just after winning a double-hill battle versus Kristina Tkach. He was eliminated by Tkach’s fellow Russian, Fedor Gorst in the quarterfinals. Tara Williams also won in 2019 and she, too, finished in 4th place this year, ousted by April Larson 7-4 in the quarterfinals. Also competing again this year was Robb Saez, who won the 9-Ball Open in 2018. Listing the number of total returning competitors would take far too long, as would a list of notable players who’ve competed over the years since 2015, so instead, we’ll start at the beginning. 

Things got under way on Wednesday night, July 7, with a “VIP” night that included reserved seats for the 10-Ball Ring Game with dinner. The $500-added Ring Game followed and was won by Fedor Gorst, who pocketed $1,700. Carlo Biado was the runner-up ($1,275), with Shane McMinn ($850) and Roland Garcia ($425) finishing third and fourth.

Thursday and Friday featured the Open 10-Ball event that drew 53 entrants. Representing the Philippines, Roland Garcia went undefeated to claim the title. Local favorite Rick Stanley battled for the hot seat and then, in the semifinals, lost to another Filipino, Carlo Biado, who won seven on the loss side, including the semifinals versus Stanley, to face Garcia in the finals. Fedor Gorst finished fourth.

The largest event of the long weekend was the 104-entrant 9-Ball Open, which began on Friday. Edgie Geronimo defeated Justin Espinosa twice, in the hot seat and finals, to complete an undefeated run. Espinosa fought a double hill battle in the semifinals, versus Fedor Gorst, who finished third. Gorst had earlier eliminated Warren Kiamco, and in the quarterfinals, had defeated Efren Reyes, who finished fourth.

Some of the brightest and youngest female stars in the pool ‘sky’ were on hand, and fittingly, had to eliminate the Ladies 9-Ball event’s defending champion, Tara Williams, to claim the title. Russia’s Kristina Tkach did not end up competing against Williams, but did claim the title, going undefeated through the 36-entrant field that had gotten underway on Saturday. Tkach had to get by WPBA competitor and former BEF Junior National Champion, April Larson twice to claim the title; once, in a winners’ side semifinal and later, in the finals. Tkach downed Midwest veteran, Brittany Maynard in the hot seat match. On the loss side, Larson, who’d defeated Williams in a winners’ side quarterfinal, drew a re-match against Williams, who was in the midst of a three-match, loss-side winning streak that had eliminated two of the younger competitors – Aryana Lynch and Chris Fields. Larson defeated Williams a second time, dropping her into 4th place 7-5 and then downed Maynard in the semifinals. Tkach completed her undefeated run 7-5 over Larson in the finals to claim the event title.

Saturday’s events included a 96th Birthday BBQ Celebration for the late Junior Norris. 

Event organizer and promoter, Sherrie Glenn thanked the ownership and staff at the Maskat Shrine Ballroom, as well as sponsors Fort Worth Billiards Superstore, OB Cues, GoPlayPool, David Norris Equipment Co., Players Lounge, Jerry Olivier Cues (and Jerry Olivier, who was on hand throughout the weekend with cue repairs), JB Cases, Outsville, Sullyvisiontv.com (which broadcast a live stream throughout the weekend), High Country Promotions (for the 7’ ft. Valley Tables), Club Billiards, Broad St. Billiards, Gem Cues and Wichita Raceway Park.