Helmer Trumps Gomez Challenge in Denver

Thursday, October 2 began the first day of the National Gomez Challenge (which the infamous Davey Gomez titled after himself). It was initially planned for four days and open to anyone. However, day jobs and perhaps the $250 entry kept many away. The event was held at the sizeable Table Steaks South, which recently hosted the 2008 Burt Kellerman Memorial event.

The $1,000 added, bar table 9-ball, race-to-15, winner-break format did attract several big names and made a great show for the railbirds. Though some of the players had difficulty adjusting to the freshly recovered Valley coin-op tables with new rails, there were very few missed shots throughout the day.

In the end, Mike Helmer from Fort Collins, Colorado came out on top. Neither “Cheyenne Pete” Trujillo nor Danny Medina in his walking cast from a recent car accident could stop him. The single-set finals match against the Helmer and Oklahoma State Champ, Shane McMinn went 15-8. Tables were almost turned when McMinn had Helmer down 7-1 in the match for the winner's side. Both players also had to get through Steve Rector who showed up from Wichita, Kansas. Rector gave McMinn a run for his money, but an unfortunate scratch on the 7 ball left the score 15-13.