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

BJ Ussery

Since he began 2020 with a 5th/6th place finish (tied with John Gabriel) behind Sky Woodward, Dennis Orcollo, Jeffrey DeLuna and Josh Roberts at the Music City Classic’s Open event in January, BJ Ussery has been on a roll, albeit one that’s stumbled a bit thanks to the pandemic. Though he would finish as runner-up in a Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball event in early February, winning the opening set of a true double elimination final to Billy Walker, but dropping the title-winning second set, Ussery went on to win his next three; the VA State 10-Ball Championships, and two stops on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, including last week’s (June 13-14) 1st Annual Brian James Memorial. He made it four in a row with a second straight ‘asterisk’ victory this past weekend (June 20-21). Ussery and Mike Bumgarner (who’d won the June 6-7 stop on the tour at the same location) opted out of a final match and split the top two prizes. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, Ussery claimed the official win. The event drew 39 entrants to Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC.

Their first and only encounter, battling for the hot seat, followed a 7-1 victory for Bumgarner over Sammy Manley and a 12-5 win for Ussery versus Graham Swinson. Ussery took what proved to be the title match 12-2 over Bumgarner and sat in the hot seat.

On the loss side, Manley picked up Matt Harrell, who’d defeated Matt Lucas 7-2 and Stevie McClinton 7-4 to reach him. Swinson drew Hunter Zayas, who’d recently eliminated Cameron Hollingsworth (elder half-brother to junior player Landon Hollingsworth) 5-2.

In the first money round, battling for 5th/6th, Manley and Swinson got right back to work and advanced to the quarterfinals; Manley, with a double hill win (5-6) over Harrell and Swinson 7-3 over Zayas. Swinson then downed Manley 7-2 in those quarterfinals.

In what was the final match of the day on Sunday (an Open event, which was scheduled for Sunday, did not materialize), Bumgarner foiled Swinson’s hope for a  rematch against Ussery with a 7-5 victory in the semifinals. Ussery and Bumgarner negotiated their split of the top two prizes, with Ussery claiming the official event title.

Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Randolph Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZBilliards, and Tickler Pool Ball Washing Machine, Skyline Construction, Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division and Dirty South Grind Apparel Co. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (June 27-28) will be hosted by Pal’s Billiards in Piedmont, SC.

Ussery, Manley split top prizes at 1st Annual Brian James Memorial Tournament in Bristol, TN

(l to r): Brian James and TD Herman Parker

If and when the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour holds its annual Tour Championship in September, it will once again honor one of its tour members with a Sportsmanship Award. The award will go to a player chosen by members of the tour. This year and in the years to come, that award will bear the name and honor the memory of Brian James of Rosedale, West Virginia, a long-time member of the tour, who passed away on June 3, following a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer. James, a close friend of tour directors Herman and Angela Parker, had fulfilled a long-time dream earlier this year, when he competed at the annual Derby City Classic in January, finishing in a four-way tie for 5th place in the 9-Ball Mini Tournament. James was to have competed on the Q City 9-Ball Tour this past April, but the tour was halted due to the pandemic well ahead of his scheduled participation. By the time the tour was able to get back to the work of pool competition, James was no longer able to compete.

On the weekend of January 11-12 at Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN (where James enjoyed playing the most), the tour held a fundraising tournament, attended by James, to help defray the costs of his ongoing health care. Through the raffling of cues, balls and an assortment of other products from keychains to clothing, the event raised $3,300. Six months later, this past weekend (June 13-14), the tour went back to Borderline Billiards and drew 74 entrants to a celebration of life tournament. BJ Ussery and Sammy Manley ended up splitting the top two prizes of the commemorative event that drew 74 entrants.

“Brian’s daughters, Nina and Jesse, came to the tournament,” said Herman Parker, “and had a very emotional meeting with the players, thanking everybody.”

“He was the most genuine person,” said Parker of his friend. “There was just never any drama with him, which is why the Sportsmanship Award will be named in his honor. He was a good family man and always courteous when it came to the game. He was one of those guys; a 100% gentleman.”

And, as he most assuredly would have wanted, the tournament began.

The winner and runner-up at this event never competed. Though Ussery would go undefeated to the hot seat, Sammy Manley, who defeated Jeff Abernathy in the opening round of play, but lost to Scott Roberts in the second round, won nine matches on the loss side for the right to face Ussery in the final match that didn’t happen.

Ussery advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against junior player Landon Hollingsworth. Jordan Gray, in the meantime, squared off against Daniel “Papa John” Adams in the other one.

Ussery earned his spot in the hot seat match with a 12-3 win over Hollingsworth (racing to 6). Gray downed Adams 6-4. In what would prove to be his final victory, Ussery claimed the hot seat 12-3; like Hollingsworth, Gray was racing to 6.

With four wins of his nine on the loss side behind him, Manley defeated Travis Guerra 5-1 and Jody Musselman 5-4 (Musselman racing to 6) to draw “Papa John” coming over from his loss in the winners’ side semifinal. Hollingsworth drew Hank Powell, who’d defeated Josh Miller 7-1 and Dalton Messer 7-4 to reach him.

Manley downed “Papa John” 5-2 and was joined in the quarterfinals by Powell, who eliminated Hollingsworth 7-3. Manley then sent Powell to the figurative showers 5-3 in those quarterfinals.

In his 9th victory on the loss side and 10th, overall, Manley defeated Jordan Gray 5-2 in the semifinals. He and Ussery agreed to split the event’s top two cash prizes and the 1st Annual Brian James Memorial Tournament at Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN was in the books. According to the Parkers, future events in James’ name will be held around the time of his passing each year.

The Parkers thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZBilliards, Tickler Pool Ball Washing Machine, Skyline Construction, Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division and Dirty South Grind Apparel Co. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (June 20-21), will be hosted by Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC and feature two separate events. On Saturday, June 20th, the tour will mount its normal handicap event, which will, dependent on the number of entrants, conclude on Saturday night. On Sunday, June 21, the tour will hold an Open event (no handicaps), featuring races to 6.

Frank & Ailstock split top prizes at Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Brian James Benefit

Brian James and TD Herman Parker

The Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, through its tour directors Herman and Angela Parker turned their recent tour stop on the weekend of January 11-12 into a benefit event for Brian James, a tour competitor battling fatal pancreatic cancer. Through the raffling of cues, balls and an assortment of other products from keychains to clothing, the tour was able to raise $3,300 to help defray some of the costs of his ongoing health care. James was on hand for the tour stop that followed, which drew 63 entrants to Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN. Trey Frank went undefeated to the hot seat match, where he sent Jonathan Ailstock to the semifinals. The win would stand as the definitive final match between the two, as Ailstock returned from those semifinals to negotiate a split with Frank of the event’s top two prizes.

Their first meeting followed their victories in the winners’ side semifinals. They each gave up only a single rack in advancing to the hot seat match. Frank had defeated Michael Chapman 7-1, as Ailstock was sending Steve Dye to the loss side 6-1. Their hot seat match, appropriately enough, was a double hill affair, eventually won by Frank.

On the loss side, Chapman and Dye walked right into their second straight loss. Chapman picked up Chris Stump, who’d been defeated by Frank in the 4th round, and was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the semifinals. He’d recently eliminated Doug Schulz 5-1 and Charles Hartung 5-2 and then eliminated Chapman 5-3. Dye drew Hershel Rife, who’d defeated Dalton Messer 5-4 (Messer racing to 6) and Anthony Mabe 5-3.

Chapman and Dye fell to Stump and Rife by the same 5-3 score. Stump then downed Rife 5-2 in the quarterfinals that followed.

In what proved to be the last match of the night, Ailstock ended Stump’s loss-side streak 6-2 in the semifinals. Ailstock agreed to the split, and as the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, Frank claimed the event title.

Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff for their hospitality and all of those who donated to and/or participated in the raffle that was able to donate $3,300 to Brian James and his family. The Parkers also thanked title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the tour, scheduled for January 18-19, will be hosted by Mickey Milligans in New Bern, NC.

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.

Kidwell double dips Roberts to win Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop

Brandon Kidwell

About a month short of two years ago (February 25-26, 2017), pro player Jeffrey DeLuna from the Phillipines signed on to a 65-entrant stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, being held at Janet Atwell’s room, Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN. As a professional, DeLuna had to win 13 games per match before most of his opponents chalked up eight or nine. Not surprisingly, DeLuna went undefeated through the field, but not before he was challenged twice by Brandon Kidwell, who called then and continues to call Borderline Billiards his home room. The hot seat match was something of a blowout. With Kidwell racing to 8, he managed to chalk up only three against the seasoned pro’s 13. The finals were a different story. Though DeLuna went on to defeat Kidwell a second time, it was not before Kidwell had brought him to the double-hill brink of defeat at 12-7. Had he won the match, in the double elimination format of the final, Kidwell would have had to do it again; a point rendered moot when DeLuna broke the double-hill tie and claimed the event title.
 
On the weekend of January 26-27, Kidwell, with two victories on the tour in his past (both prior to his meetup with DeLuna), returned to the ‘scene of the crime’, as it were, came back from a hot seat loss and defeated Scott Roberts twice to claim his first Q City 9-Ball title in a little over two years. The event drew 50 entrants to Borderline Billiards, which, thanks to Atwell, filled in an empty slot on the tour schedule just four days before it began.
 
Kidwell (still racing to 8, throughout) advanced through the field to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against 17-year-old Hunter White. Scott Roberts, in the meantime, squared off against Brandon Stiltner. Kidwell downed White 8-2 and was joined in the hot seat match by Roberts, who’d survived a double hill battle (8-5) against Stiltner. Roberts took possession of the hot seat 8-4 and waited on Kidwell’s return from the semifinals.
 
Over on the loss side, Stiltner ran into Brian James, who’d defeated Richard Kearsey 6-2 and June Bug (aka James Miracle) 6-3 to reach him. White picked up Mike Clevinger, who’d most recently shut out Trevor Stanley and defeated Steve Guy 6-4. James advanced 6-2 over Stiltner. White joined him in the quarterfinals after shutting Clevinger out 9-0.
 
James Took the quarterfinal match over White 6-3 and then locked up in a double hill battle with Kidwell in the semifinals. Kidwell dropped the 9-ball in the deciding match and turned his attention to a rematch against Roberts in a double elimination final.
 
In a straight-up race to 8, the first set ended with the same score as the hot seat match, although it was Kidwell who chalked up the 8 and Roberts with the 4. Roberts came back in the second set, but not by nearly enough. Kidwell claimed the title with a second-set 8-5 win.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her staff at Borderline Billiards, not only for hosting the event, but for agreeing to do so, four days ahead of the scheduled start. They also thanked 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 (Feb. 2-3), will be a $500-added event, hosted by Speak Eazy Billiards in Sanford, NC.

Shabib comes back from first-set loss to win Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour Championships

Raed Shabib

It is, for those keeping score, the exact same headline (with a name changed to reflect the difference) that was used to describe Raed Shabib’s last win on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour in September, 2017. On the weekend of December 15-16 in 2018, Shabib, once again, navigated his way through a field of entrants to get into the hot seat, was defeated in the first set of a double elimination final, and came back to win the second set to claim the event title. The occasion this time was the annual Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Invitational Tour Championships. The $1,000-added event drew 87 entrants to Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.
 
This victory took a little longer, given the 3-times-plus-a-little number of entrants that were on hand at Borderline Billiards. In the time it took Shabib to get about halfway through this one, he’d already won the 2017 event. Shabib worked his way through the field to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Brian James. Lee O’Neal, in the meantime, met up with Brandon Stiltner.
 
Shabib downed James 8-3, as O’Neal was sending Stiltner west 5-4 (Stiltner racing to 6). Shabib then claimed the hot seat 8-4 over O’Neal and waited on his return.
 
On the loss side, Stiltner picked up Jason Potts, who’d recently defeated Matt Shaw 7-3 and Stevie Thomas 7-1. James drew Tyler Mayfield, who’d eliminated Stevie McClinton, double hill and Mike Clevinger 6-4. Potts defeated Stiltner 7-4 and in the quarterfinals, faced James, who’d sent Mayfield home 6-4.
 
James advanced another step, defeating Potts 6-4 in those quarterfinals, before O’Neal downed him in the semifinals 5-4 (James racing to 6). With Shabib racing to 8, O’Neal took the opening set of the true double elimination final 5-4. Shabib came back in the second set and allowed O’Neal only a single rack to claim the event title.
 
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 first stop on the 2019 Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour will precede the New Year by nine days. Scheduled for this weekend, December 22-23, the $500-added event ($1,000, with 50 or more entrants) will be hosted by The Steakhorse Restaurant & Billiards in Spartanburg, SC.

Hawley comes back from hot seat loss to double dip Miller on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

KC Hawley

KC Hawley and Shawn Miller fought three times to claim victory at the May 19-20 stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. Miller took the hot seat opener of the series, but Hawley returned from the semifinals to take the next two in a double elimination final. The event drew 32 entrants to Rooster’s 21 Pool Room in Sissonville, WV.
 
To get to their three-match opener battling for the hot seat, Hawley sent Mike Gulley to the loss side 7-2 in one winners’ side semifinal, whiLe Miller downed Brian James 7-5 in the other one. Miller claimed the hot seat, double hill, and waited in it for Hawley to come back.
 
On the loss side, Gulley picked up Lee O’Neal, who’d defeated Billy Walker 6-5 and Taz Holliday 6-4 to reach him. James drew Jonathan Ailstock, who’d eliminaTed Dean Buckhammer 6-5 and Dustin Booth 6-4. James and O’Neal advanced to the quarterfinals with identical 6-2 victories over Ailstock and Gulley.
 
James downed O’Neal 6-4 in those quarterfinals, before having his brief trek on the loss side ended by Hawley 7-5 in the semifinals. Hawley and Miller fought back and forth to double hill in the opening set of the true double elimination final. Hawley kept the second set out of double-hill territory with a 7-5 win that earned him the event title.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Rooster’s 21 Pool Room, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Delta 13 Racks, AZBilliards and Professor Q Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this Memorial Day weekend, will be hosted by BreakTime Billiards in Cary, NC.