Heads up, Alabama!

You're about to host a series of mini-qualifiers and a main event, offering as a top prize to players, not only free entry to the 2012 US Open 9-Ball Championships, but seven-day hotel accommodations, and a to-be-determined amount of travel cash to get you there and back. The main event - The Bumper's Billiards of Huntsville, AL's US Open 9-Ball Championship Qualifier - is scheduled for August 3-5 at the titled venue, and according to event coordinator, Richard Andrews, it's about time.

"I've been wanting to have something like this for years, to promote 'big table' pool in the state," he said. "I approached Robert Hall (a well-respected amateur player in his own right, and one of the co-owners of Bumper's Billiards in Huntsville), and he's been supportive right from the start."

The top three finishers of the main event, based on a full field of 64 players, will each receive the 'package' prize of the US Open entry fee, hotel, and (some) travel expenses. Other finishers will take home standard payout prizes. Andrews, who competed in the US Open for the first time last year, has obtained the blessing and support of the US Open's Barry Behrmann and his daughter, Shannon, for use of the US Open logo and the paid slots into the event.
Andrews has been looking to expand Alabama's profile in what he called 'big table pool' for a while now, and with the support of Behrmann, Hall and hopefully, a full field of players, this event will become the 1st annual of many to come.

"Most of the time," said Andrews, "the (major) tours that are available are just too far away, and I'm trying to correct that."

"What's different about this event," he added, "is that we're having a bunch of mini-qualifying events (three), the winners of which will win free entry into the main event."

These $20-entry mini-tournaments will be held on successive weeks in July (6-8, 13-15 and 20-22) and for the winners, will offset the $150 entry fee to the main event. Andrews is hoping that these mini-qualifiers and the main event will jump-start a process of bringing more of this type of pool to his state.

"I've been thinking of different things to do," he said of this effort, a week prior to heading to the metro-Birmingham area to compete in the Alabama State 9-Ball Championships; an event, he said, "that he's going to win, too."

For further information about The Bumper's Billiards of Huntsville, AL's US Open 9-Ball Championship Qualifier and its mini-qualifiers, check out the facebook page, call Bumper's Billiards at 256-721-1495, or Andrews himself (bearing in mind that as a working man, he might have to call you back) at 256-656-1152.