Jay Swanson Memorial Underway

Ronnie Alcano


A full field of 192 turned out at 10 am on Saturday morning at Hard Times Billiards in Bellflower, CA for this year's Jay Swanson Memorial 9 ball event.

Some of the front runners in the field are as follows:

Alex Pagulayan -  2011 & 2012 winner
Jose Parica  - 2010 winner
John Morra
Dennis Orcullo
Darren Appleton
Stevie  Moore
Santos Sambajon 2004 winner
Ernesto Dominguez.-2003 winner
Dave Hemmah  1996 - First Winner

The Jay Swanson Memorial started in 1996 following the untimely death of Jay Swanson, a legendary road player of the 70's, 80's & 90's. Jay was also a great tournament player, having won the $25,000  Last Call For 9 Ball held at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas and many other big events.

Jay's home room was College Billiards in San Diego, CA, which celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year. Jay, who passed away at the age of 53, was a legendary gambler who had the reputation that he could out drink you, out eat you and out play you. One of Jays road partners was Johnny Archer, and the story goes that the week after Jay died Johnny won a big tournament, and upon making the 9 Ball on the break in the final game, he shouted "This ones for you Swanee".

Johnny also recalls looking in Jays very old and battered note book when on one of their road trips, only to see his name with $200 against it. Yes, Jay had recorded another one of his victims.

Because of Jay's passion for body surfing, after his wake, thirty of the mourners drove to the beach at Torrey Pines, where his High School friend Amundo Gomez swam out 50 yards and spread his ashes into the ocean.

Jay Swanson will always be remembered as the gentle giant that was liked by everyone he ever met!!!

By the end of Saturdays play, pretty well all of the notable players were still in the tournament, so Sunday will be moving day as the top pros battle it out in their quest for the Jay Swanson Memorial Trophy.

Read about Sundays play in tomorrows story.