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Draper goes undefeated to hot seat, splits with Francis to claim first Q City 9-Ball win

Jesse Draper

A funny thing happened to Jesse Draper on his way to what would become his first recorded cash finish anywhere and his first regional tour win. This past weekend (June 25-26), he ran into two opponents – Joey Fox and Brian Francis – who, though they’d recorded cash finishes on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour before, were also looking for their first tour victory. Draper met Francis in a winners’ side quarterfinal, Fox in the hot seat match and though slated to face Francis a second time in the finals, they opted out of playing the match. Draper got his tour win, albeit with its ‘no final’ asterisk, Fox recorded his highest recorded finish on the tour, ever, and Francis had to settle for his third runner-up finish on the tour. The $500-added event drew 45 entrants to the Rock House in Gastonia, NC.

Once Draper sent Francis to the loss side in their winners’ side quarterfinal, he advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Dustin Coe. Fox faced Aaron McClure in the other one. 

Draper downed Coe 5-3, as Fox was sending McClure over 7-3. Draper claimed his first hot seat 5-2 over Fox and waited to negotiate with Francis over the final that wasn’t going to happen.

On the loss side, Francis began with a 6-1 victory over Adam Pendley and followed that with a shutout over John Abernathy, to draw McClure. Coe drew Billy Fowler, who’d defeated Jimmy Tanner 10-3 and Dalton Messer, double hill, to reach him.

Francis advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-4 victory over McClure, while Coe survived a double hill fight (7-9) versus Fowler to join him. Francis eliminated Coe 6-3 and in what would prove to be the final match of the event, defeated Fox in the semifinals 6-5 (Fox racing to 7).

Negotiations for the two-way split got underway and while Draper and Francis, each in their own way, had to settle for the just-shy-of-completely-satisfactory results of their weekend, Draper did earn himself his first event title. Both earned more than the four other players who went home with cash and significantly more than the other 39 entrants who’d competed.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Rock House for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour and significantly, Parker, will be taking a Fourth of July vacation this weekend. The next stop on the tour, scheduled for July 9-10, will be hosted by Overtime Billiards in Columbia, SC.

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Davis, Jr. and Atencio split top two prizes on Player Madness Tour

Mike Davis and Jesus Atencio

With the winner and runner-up of the inaugural Player Madness Tournament series of events in the house, BJ Ussery and Mike Davis, Jr. might have been expected to repeat their dash to the hot seat and finals, but for the second event of the Player Madness Tournaments, held this past weekend (March 5-6), it didn’t turn out that way. Davis did his part, advancing through the field of 71 to go undefeated to the hot seat and finals, but Ussery spent some time on the loss side of the bracket and didn’t make it past the 7/8 matches.  Jesus Atencio, who finished 5th/6th in the inaugural event, was to have faced Davis twice in this one, but they opted out of a final match and split the top two prizes. This second event of the series, called “Tha (sic) Iron Masters Matches” (the first was called “The Invasion of the Triangle”) was a $2,000-added event, hosted by Rockhouse Tavern and Billiards in Gastonia, NC.

Davis advanced through the field to face Atencio the first time in a winners’ side semifinal, as BJ Hucks and Jacob Brooks squared off in the other one.

Davis advanced to the hot seat match 7-5 over Atencio and faced Hucks, who’d sent Brooks to the left bracket 7-4. Davis claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Hucks and for all intents and purposes, his night was over.

On the loss side, Atencio picked up Kevin Hall, who’d recently defeated Kelly Farrar 7-4 and knocked Ussery out 7-3. Brooks drew Brian Francis, who’d eliminated Brian White, double hill and Jimmy Tanner 7-5 to reach him.

Atencio stopped Hall’s loss-side streak 7-3 and in the quarterfinals, faced Francis, who’d sent Brooks home 7-5. Atencio then dropped Francis 7-5 in those quarterfinals and in what proved to be the event’s last match, the semifinals, defeated Hucks 7-3. Davis and Atencio agreed on the split and joined the rest of the homeward bound.

Tour director Xzavia Boykin thanked the ownership and staff at the Rockhouse for their hospitality, as well as sponsor Classic Billiards. The dates for the next stop on the Player Madness Tournaments series, the NC State 8-Ball Championships, have not been officially set. Visit the Player Madness Tournaments Facebook page for further information.

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Lucas and Francis split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Matt Lucas

Brian Francis was looking for his first major win on a regional tour. Matt Lucas was looking for his first win on the tour since before the time that the tour began reporting results to AZBilliards, approximately nine years ago. They both found what they were looking for. Sort of.

This past weekend (Nov. 13-14), they both signed on to compete at a stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour and both were to appear in a final match. They opted out, leaving Lucas, the undefeated hot seat occupant at the time, as the event’s official winner, while Francis settled for his second shared-win since he did so with Mackie Lowery, a little over three years ago at a stop in Hickory, NC. This past weekend’s $500-added event drew 51 entrants to Breaktime Billiards in Winston-Salem, NC.

Their first meetup, battling for the hot seat, followed Lucas’ double hill victory over Mike Tutt and Francis’ 6-4 win over Don Lilly. In what would prove to be the deciding match between them, Lucas claimed the hot seat 5-3.

On the loss side, Tutt drew David Strum, who’d defeated Orlando Marcus and Thomas Sansone, both 6-4, to reach him. Lilly picked up Montez Lloyd, who’d recently eliminated Jason Rogers 6-5 (Rogers racing to 8) and Dale Lloyd 6-2.

Lilly got by Montez Lloyd 7-3. He was joined in the quarterfinals by Strum, who’d defeated Tutt 6-1. Lilly and Strum then battled to double hill in those quarterfinals, before Lilly ended it.

Even without the handicap, which gave Brian Francis a single ‘bead on the wire’ at the start of his semifinal race-to-7 match against Lilly, Francis would have won. That 6-2 win over Lilly gave Francis a second shot against Lucas in the hot seat, which, by mutual agreement, he did not take.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Breaktime Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Nov. 20-21), will be hosted by Gate City Billiards in Greensboro, NC. 

Powell and Harrell split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Hank Powell

Since Hank Powell began competing regularly on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour in 2019, he has won four times, been runner-up five times, 3rd and 4th once each, 5th four times and 7th twice. This year has proved to be his best earnings year to date and though he split this past weekend’s (Saturday, September 18) stop on the tour with Matt Harrell, as undefeated occupant of the hot seat, Powell claimed his second 2021 tour victory. He opened his 2021 campaign with a January victory at Sonny’s Billiards in Princeton, WV. The $500-added event this past weekend drew 40 entrants to Breaktime Sports Bar & Billiards in Winston-Salem, NC. 

Powell and Harrell allowed their first and only meeting, in a winners’ side semifinal, to stand as the deciding match. As those two squared off, Brian Francis and Jason Rogers met up in the other winners’ side semifinal. 

Powell sent Harrell to the loss side 8-2 and advanced to the hot seat match, where he was joined by Francis, who downed Rogers 6-1. In a double hill battle, Powell claimed the hot seat over Francis.

On the loss side, Harrell picked up Mike Hagood, who, to reach him, had eliminated Jesse Cortner in a shutout and an up-and-coming junior player, Cole Lewis 7-3. Rogers drew Orlando Marcus, who’d recently defeated David Strum, double hill and Travis Guerra 6-3.

Harrell advanced to the quarterfinals 7-5 over Hagood. He was joined by Marcus, who’d defeated Rogers 6-6 (Rogers racing to 8). Harrell gave up only a single rack to Marcus in those quarterfinals and then defeated Francis in the semifinals 7-5.

It was in the early morning hours of Sunday, September 19, when Powell and Harrell negotiated a split of the top two prizes, making Powell the official winner.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Breaktime Billiards and Sports Bar for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Diamond Brat, Federal Savings Bank’s Mortgage Division and AZBilliards. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for Sept. 25-26, will be a $500-added event, to be hosted by Sonny’s Billiards in Princeton, WV.

Duncan and Cooper split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop

Justin Duncan

Though Justin Duncan has four Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball titles on his resume, which date back to 2016, the only one in which the title was earned by competing and winning a final match was last June’s Scotch Doubles event. Duncan and Billy Fowler were in the hot seat when they lost the opening set of a true double elimination final, but came back to win the second set and claim that title. Duncan’s other three titles were earned when he went undefeated to the hot seat and by mutual agreement with his final opponent, split the top two prizes. Duncan did that twice with the same opponent (Greg Burke), once in September 2016, where they met in a winners’ side semifinal, won by Duncan, and again, in April 2017, when they met in the hot seat match, claimed by Duncan in what has been his best earnings year at the tables, to date.

This past Saturday, August 14, Duncan claimed his fourth official Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball title, allowing his victory over Bryant Cooper in the battle for the hot seat to stand as the definitive victory match. The $500-added event drew 45 entrants to Rockhouse Billiards in Gastonia, NC.

Duncan advanced through the field to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match against Cole Lewis, as Cooper squared off against Jeff Underwood in the other one. Combined, Duncan and Cooper gave up only a single rack to earn their spot in the hot seat match (Cooper allowed Underwood that single rack in a 5-1 victory). Duncan then sent Cooper off to the semifinals 6-3 and in, effect, claimed the event title.

On the loss side, Lewis and Underwood walked right into the first money round and their second straight loss. Lewis met Hank Powell, who’d defeated Amber Jackson 8-1 and Bruce Campbell 8-4, before downing Lewis 8-5 and moving into the quarterfinals. Underwood drew Brian Francis, who’d eliminated Brian Pyle 6-4 and Ray Mullinax 6-1 before also eliminating Underwood 6-5 (Underwood racing to 7) and joining Powell in the quarterfinals.

Powell took the quarterfinal match 8-3 and in what proved to be the last match of the event, was eliminated by Cooper 5-6 in the semifinals. Duncan and Cooper agreed to the split, with Duncan entering the official record books as the official winner.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the new ownership and staff of the newly-renovated Rockhouse Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Diamond Brat, Federal Savings Bank’s Mortgage Division and AZBilliards. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for August 21-22, will be a $250-added event to be hosted by Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC.

White takes two of three vs. Harrison to win Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour Championships

Hunter White

With his third victory on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour on the weekend of October 26-27, Hunter White made 2019 his best earnings year, to date. That best year had been 2016, when he also won three events on the tour, to go along with five other appearances in which he cashed that year. He’s exceeded those earnings this year with the three wins and cash finishes in three other events. White picked the tour’s 2019 Tour Championships (on 9-foot tables; a separate Bar Box Tour Championship will be held next month) to chalk up his third win of the year and had to come from the loss side to do it. The $1,000-added event drew 56 entrants to Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.
 
White advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Chad Harrison, as Jason Evans and Jeff Abernathy squared off in the other one. Harrison downed White, double hill (6-7), as Evans was sending Abernathy over 10-7 (Abernathy racing to 9). Harrison claimed the hot seat 6-7 and waited on the return of White.
 
White and Abernathy picked up a pair of “Matts” on the loss side. White drew Matt Lucas, who’d recently defeated Edwin Delacueva, double hill (5-6) and junior player Landon Hollinsworth 5-3. Abernathy picked up Matt Harrell, who’d eliminated Brian Francis 6-2 and Kris Brower 6-3.
 
The “Matts” went down, so to speak. White defeated Lucas 8-3 and was joined in the subsequent quarterfinals by Abernathy, who put the second “Matt” (Harrell) down 9-1. White then defeated Abernathy 8-6 and in the semifinal, Jason Evans 8-5.
 
White didn’t want a repeat of his double hill loss in the winners’ side semifinal and was taking no chances in the true double elimination final rematch. He took the opening set 8-2 and then did it again, winning the second set 8-2 to claim the 2019 Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour Championships.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Nov. 2-3), will be hosted by Shore Thing Billiards in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Frank and McGrady split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop in Tennessee

Trey Frank

Scheduling tournaments can be tricky at times, because while most tour directors (TDs) look into whether there are going to be conflicting tournaments near a potential venue at a given point in time and attempt to schedule accordingly, they can’t predict what they don’t see at the time they solidify their own schedule. What can and often does happen is that after a schedule has been set and confirmed, sometimes months later, someone organizes a nearby conflicting tournament, or the TD who made the initial schedule realizes that there’s a tournament nearby that he/she didn’t know about when preparing their own schedule.
 
So it was that tour directors Herman and Angela Parker reckoned without an American Poolplayers Association regional league tournament that did, on the weekend of May 18-19, conflict with their made-months-ago-plans for a Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop at Janet Atwell’s room, Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN. The event drew a relatively small field of 25, who completed their competition at the conclusion of the first day when the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, Trey Frank, and his potential opponent in the finals, Sean McGrady, agreed to a split of the top two prizes.
 
They met first in the hot seat match after Frank had shut out Robert Ingold in one of the winners’ side semifinals and McGrady had sent Brian James to the loss side 5-5 (James racing to 7) in the other one. In what proved to be the deciding match, Frank claimed the hot seat 6-2.
 
On the loss side, James and Ingold were able to get right back on track. James drew Jackson Hurst, a junior player, who’d defeated 15-year Pro competitor and room owner, Janet Atwell 4-1 and Scott Howard 4-4 (Howard racing to 7). Ingold picked up Brady Brazell, who’d eliminated Dalton Messer 7-3 and Brian Francis 7-4.
 
James and Ingold advanced to the quarterfinals; James, 7-3 over Hurst and Ingold 5-5 over Brazell, who was racing to 7. James then ended up handing Ingold his second defeat by shutout in those quarterfinals.
 
The last match of the day went double hill, as James and McGrady battled to see who’d be splitting the top two prizes with Frank in the hot seat. McGrady prevailed 5-6, he and Frank opted out of the final, and everybody went home.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this Memorial Day weekend (May 25-26) will be the $1,000-added, 5th Annual North Carolina State 9-Ball Open at Brown’s Billiards in Raleigh, NC, where defending champion Reymart Lim is expected to compete.

Tickle and Potts split prizes on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

(l to r): David Tickle & Jason Potts

Though Tickle and Potts may sound like characters in a Disney movie, they are, in fact, two veterans of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. David Tickle, who was runner-up to Jason Evans at a stop in February, has been away from the tables for a while; his best recorded earnings year being 2015, when he won two stops on the tour and finished 4th and 5th in two others. While still looking for his first win on the tour, Jason Potts did finish 4th in the 2018 Tour Championships and was runner-up to Taz Holliday in the tour’s 2017 Bar Box Championships.
 
Though scheduled to meet twice, they met only once during the May 4-5 stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, which drew 40 entrants to Gate City Billiards Club in Greensboro, NC. They both advanced to the winners’ side semifinals, where Tickle met and defeated Michael Wyatt 9-2, and Potts sent Alex Valencia to the loss side 7-3. In what proved to be the one and only match between the two, Tickle claimed the hot seat 9-4.
 
On the loss side, Wyatt and Valencia landed in the first money round of the event. Valencia picked up Brian Overman, who’d defeated Daniel Jones 7-3 and Brian Francis 7-5 to reach him. Of particular interest to Tickle watching from the hot seat was Wyatt’s first opponent on the loss side, Jeff Abernathy, who’d been sent to the loss side by Tickle in the third round and was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak. He’d most recently defeated Tim Nelson 9-2 and Jason Evans 9-7.
 
 Abernathy leap-frogged into the quarterfinals when Wyatt was unable to show up for his Sunday match. He was joined by Valencia, who’d eliminated Overman 6-3.
 
Abernathy gave up only a single rack to Valencia in those quarterfinals and was a single match away from a re-match against Tickle in the hot seat. With Abernathy racing to 9, though, Potts put up a fight and won the semifinal match 7-7. Potts and Tickle opted out of the final, leaving Tickle, as hot seat occupant, the official winner.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Gate City Billiards Club, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (May 11-12), will be a $1,000-added event, hosted by Steakhorse Restaurant & Billiards in Spartanburg, SC. 

Ussery wins the 1st Chris Walsh Memorial on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

BJ Ussery

It’s been a long time since BJ Ussery sported a pool resume that could be contained on a single page. Available records indicate that it’s been 19 years now, and while there have been some lean years (2017, for example, when his only reported cash prize came with a 5th place finish at that year’s NC State 10-Ball Open), there have been some really good ones, like 2005 and 2011, his first and second-best earnings year, to date. His 2005 reported earnings were $5 better than his 2011 earnings. On the weekend of February 23-24, Ussery added an undefeated run on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour to his multi-page resume. It was his first win on the tour since August of last year. The event, the first Chris Walsh Memorial Tournament, held to commemorate the loss of a member of the tour who passed away recently, drew 67 entrants to Walsh’s home room, Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC. The event raised $600 for the Walsh family.
 
Ussery faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals. After an 11-3 victory over Matt Harrell in a winners’ side semifinal, Ussery squared off against Stevie McClinton, who had just defeated teenager Casey Cork 7-1. Ussery claimed the hot seat 11-4 over McClinton and waited on the return of Filippino competitor Francisco Felicilda.
 
On the loss side, Felicilda worked his way closer to his eventual matchup against Ussery by downing Dalton Messer 11-3 and Matt Lucas, double hill (11-4 with Lucas racing to 5). This set Felicilda up to face Harrell. Cork, in the meantime, met up with Brian Francis, who’d defeated Marcio Smith 6-2 and another Filippino competitor, Raymund Faraon 6-1 (Faraon racing to 12).
 
Felicilda eliminated Harrell 11-2 and was joined in the quarterfinals by Francis, who’d downed Cork 6-1. After giving up only four racks over his last three matches, Francis had the tables turned on him by Felicilda, who shut him out to advance to the semifinals.
 
Felicilda completed a fairly impressive run over five loss-side matches with an 11-2 victory over McClinton in the semifinals. He entered the finals against Ussery having won 85% of his games (64-11) over the past six matches. He proved to be no match for Ussery, however, who completed his undefeated run with an 11-5 win; his first of 2019.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Randolph Billiards for hosting the 1st Chris Walsh Memorial, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (March 2-3), will be hosted by The Clubhouse in Lynchburg, VA.

West and Ussery split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Richard West

Next up – a $2K-added event in Spartanburg with $48K Shaw/Bergman matchup in the wings
 
Richard West and BJ Ussery are among of group of Southern-state pool veterans who’ve been competing for over a decade on a variety of Southern-based pool tours. Though they’ve been more or less absent over the past few years, they, and others like Keith Bennett and Phillip “Skibo” Britt have begun to re-emerge and compete on the clockwork-regular, Southern-state- based Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. On the weekend of February 2-3, at a $500-added event, hosted by Speak Eazy Billiards in Sanford, NC, they, along with Anthony Mabe, who won a stop on the tour in January, were the last five of 31 entrants standing; West in the hot seat, with “Skibo” facing Mabe, and Ussery preparing to battle Bennett in the first money round.
 
West would end up with the official event title, when he and Ussery, following the opening set of a true double elimination final, decided against a second set and chose to split the top two prizes. James McColl (aka Shaft) would finish in third place, “Skibo” in fourth and Mabe and Bennett finishing in the tie for fifth place.
 
Moving into the winners’ side semifinal of this one, it was McColl (Shaft) against Mabe and West against Ussery (in their first of two). Shaft downed Mabe 7-3 and in the hot seat match, faced West, who defeated Ussery 6-5 (Ussery racing to 11). West claimed the hot seat over Shaft 6-4.
 
Mabe and Ussery were automatically ‘in the money’ as they moved to the loss side. Mabe drew “Skibo” Britt, who’d defeated Tanya Parsley 9-2 and Brian Francis 9-3 to reach him. Ussery drew long-time adversary Keith Bennett, who’d eliminated Billie Spatafora 11-1 and Kelly Farrar 11-3.
 
“Skibo” and Mabe battled to double hill before “Skibo” closed it out 9-6 and advanced to the quarterfinals. The two Southern-state-tour veterans, Ussery and Bennett, in a match that could have featured 21 games in a straight-up race to 11, went 16, with Ussery advancing 11-5 to the quarterfinals.
 
Then it was Ussery and “Skibo”s turn; “Skibo” starting with ‘two on the wire’ in a race to 11. Ussery eliminated him 11-3 and turned to face Shaft (McColl) in the semifinals. Ussery gave up just a single rack to Shaft and advanced to his rematch against West in the finals.
 
Ussery commanded the opening set of the true double elimination final 11-1. At that point, he and West, tied 1-1 in matches, opted out of a second set and split the top two prizes.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Speak Eazy Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball.
 
The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour will be a $2,000-added event, hosted by Steakhorse Restaurant & Billiards in Spartanburg, SC, this weekend (February 9-10). The Parkers have limited the field to 128 (“no exceptions”), which, under normal circumstances, wouldn’t happen. Normally, there’d be no need to enforce a 128-player field.
 
For further information about the Viking Cues’ Q-City 9-Ball Tour’s $2K-added event, call Tour Directors Herman and Angela Parker at 336-686-5360.