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The Bar Box Classic is in the Books

Robert Frost and Roberto Gomez

Dwaine Bowman’s Leisure Time Billiards & Sports Bar in East Moline, IL hosted its 2nd Annual Bar Box Classic over the past several days.  Featuring three divisions – Eight Ball, One Pocket and Ten Ball – a total of $16,000 was added by local sponsors. They included Jacoby Cues, Behnke Trailers, Bull Carbon, Diveney Cues, Andy Billiard Cloth, Comfort Inn, PoolActionTV.com and Anytime Billiards of Clive, IA.

Plenty of recognizable faces and names roamed the building! They included BCA and One Pocket Hall of Famer Alex Pagulayan, current International Open One Pocket champ Roberto Gomez, current US Open 10 Ball champ Fedor Gorst, current Big Tyme Classic One Pocket champ Robert Frost, current Midwest Billiards Nine Ball champ Kristina Tkach, Wisconsin Billiards Hall of Famers Jeff Carter and Gene Albrecht and former speed pool champ Bobby McGrath. Jesse Bowman, Warren Kiamco, Brian Groce, Ricky Evans, Chris Lawson, Houston Rodriguez, Whitey Walker, Benny Conway Jr as well as young guns Joey Tate and Kash Keaton were among the other players.

The $4,000 added Eight Ball division began on Wednesday evening with a players auction followed by players meeting and the draw. Forty eight players paid a $300 entry – the format was double elimination, winner breaks and races to nine.

Last year’s third place finisher, Jesse Bowman, shot straight out of the chute after drawing a bye and sent Benny Conway Jr, Gordy Vanderveer Fedor Gorst and Alex Pagulayan to the one loss side before arriving at the hot seat match.

Brian Groce also went undefeated in his march to the hot seat. After drawing a first round bye, his victims included Will Thomsen, Gene Albrecht and Blake Baker before he went  to the wire with Corey Deuel. After surviving that match, Brian beat Jesse Bowman and locked up his berth in the finals. Jesse headed west to await an opponent.

Roberto Gomez won his first two matches over Tony Ehlers and Chris Lawson before being felled by compadre Alex Pagulayan. Once on the one loss side, he defeated Marty Heldenbrand, Ray Skendore, Blake Baker, Brandon Heldenbrand and exacted his revenge on Alex 9-8. He then defeated Gene Albrecht to finally play Jesse Bowman for the remaining spot in the finals. 

It was a battle but Roberto eked out a win – 9-8. Jesse, again, finished in third place.

As this was true double elimination, Gomez had to defeat Groce twice to claim the title. In dead punch after winning seven matches in a row to arrive at the finals, Roberto won the first set 9-6 and then the second 9-3. Congratulations, Roberto for a hard fought win! Good tournament, Brian!

The $2,000 added One Pocket Division began on Thursday evening after the players auction, meeting & draw. Played on nine footers, twelve players paid a $500 entry fee into this single elimination, race to four, winner break event.

With his one pocket game on the improve, Fedor Gorst arrived at the finals after defeating Randy Jordan, Robert Frost and Alex Pagulayan. His opponent, Jesse Bowman drew a first round bye and then beat Roberto Gomez and Corey Deuel. Due to time constraints, Jesse and Fedor decided to split the purse. Congratulations to both players!

The $10,000 added Ten Ball Division began on Friday night. Ninety six players paid a $150 entry fee into this double elimination event. Racing to nine with alternate breaks, there were no jump cues allowed. This old schooler really enjoyed watching the safety battles!

Following the players auction, meeting and draw, the matches began.

 Houston Rodriguez began his journey to the final four on the winner’s side with victories over Bob Smith, Donny Thompson, Ricky Evans, Alex Pagulayan and Gene Albrecht.

Roberto Gomez caught a bye and then worked his way past Jeff Berger, David Kelly, Warren Kiamco and Benny Conway Jr. He then defeated Rodriguez and advanced to the hot seat match.

In the lower portion of the bracket, Robert Frost defeated Kash Keaton, Greg Pitts, Tom Tan, Bobby McGrath and Mike Banks Jr to arrive in the final four.

Home court hero Jesse Bowman also drew a first round bye and then sent Joey Dyer, Adam Thomas, Ryan Ponton and Jimmy Nosavan west before he was defeated by Frost who moved into the other spot in the hot seat match. 

Frost was then defeated by Gomez 9-6 and was sent to the one loss side while Gomez cooled his heels awaiting an opponent for the final match.

After losing his third round match to Ryan Ponton, Fedor Gorst clawed his way past Josh Ray, Kristina Tkach, Warren Kiamco, Kash Keaton, Mike Banks Jr, Randy Jordan, Houston Rodriguez and Jesse Bowman before encountering Robert Frost. 

Fighting for the remaining seat in the finals, the match was neck and neck until Robert pulled away at the end. Final score 9-6. Fedor finished in third place.

Moving into the finals, Frost had to defeat  Gomez twice to claim the title. An early miss by Frost resulted in Gomez claiming an early four game lead – score 5-1. They traded games with Robert closing the gap – now 6-4. Roberto dug in and reached the hill – 8-5. He made a ball on the break and ran out for the win! 

Congratulations to Roberto for not only snapping off this one but also the Eight Ball! Good tournament, Robert!

PoolActionTV.com would like to thank Dwaine Bowman and his fantastic staff for taking such good care of all the players and fans. We’d also like to thank Tournament Director Eric Gardner for doing a great job. 

We’d like to thank Larry Schwartz, Corey Deuel, Alex Pagulayan, Mary Kenniston, Jerry Johnson and Ray Hansen for their topnotch commentary.

And, last not but least, we’d like to thank our sponsors and fans. Our sponsors include JB Cases, Diveney Cues, Aramith, Hanshew Jump Cues, EnviroAssessments, Lomax Custom Cues, Simonis, Durbin Custom Cues, Diamond Billiard Products, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore and CR’s Sports Bar of Minneapolis, MN.

Our next stop is Big Dog Billiards in Des Moines, IA for the 7th Annual $18,000 added Midwest Billiards & Cue Expo. The dates are July 13th-17th – hope to see you there!

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Wisconsin Billiards Hall of Fame Welcomes Classes of 2020 and 2021

Class of 2020 – Craig Powers, Gene Albrecht Sr. Pamela Kelly and Claudio Parrone Sr.

After a year off due to Covid, the Wisconsin Billiards Hall of Fame was back with a spectacular weekend of events in Oshkosh, Wisconsin Oct 1st-3rd.

Friday evening’s induction ceremony and banquet featured recognition of the Class of 2020 (Gene Albrecht, Pamela Kelly, Claudio Parrone Sr and Craig Powers). Also inducted were the Class of 2021 (Jim Fitzpatrick, James McDermott, Larry Nevel and Mark Wilson).

Speeches were genuine, tearful, and filled with stories highlighting the talents and dedication these individuals have made over decades to the sport of billiards.

Friday evening through Sunday featured member-only tournaments with over 120 players competing in banks, one-pocket, three-cushion and 10-ball. WIBHOF weekend is an opportunity to form relationships and friendships outside of the competitive arena.

Class of 2021 – Jim Fitzpatrick, Jesse McDermott (Son of James), Larry Nevel, Phyllis McDermott (daughter of James) and Mark Wilson

To date, WIBHOF has donated over $8,000 back to players in need for medical care and travel to junior competitions. Wisconsin is proud to offer such a prestigious event to preserve history and honor pool players to have made a profound impact on the sport we all love!

Thorpe double dips McMinn to take third stop on Taom Tips Tour

Dave Coles (owner of the Carom Room) , Shane McMinn, Tony Chohan, Billy Thorpe and Larry Schwartz

Billy Thorpe's having a good year at the tables. Though it started slow, with a 45th place finish at Derby City's 9-Ball event in January, and a 13th place finish at the Super Billiards Expo Players' Championship a few months later, he climbed the 'finish ladder' into the top 10 of 11 events this year, including a win at the 2nd Annual Great Dismal Swamp Classic (October) at which he defeated Shane Van Boening twice. Thorpe chalked up a win on the Taom Tips Tour's third stop on the weekend of December 18-19 to put his cash-winning events at 12. He came back from an opening-round loss to win eight on the loss side, then challenge and twice defeat hot seat occupant, Shane McMinn, in the finals. The $5,000-added event drew 33 entrants to the Carom Room in Beloit, WI.
 
The Taom Tip's Tour continues to host a variety of the country's better known Midwest guns, along with a few representatives from other regions in the country. Case in point: Dennis Hatch and Larry Nevel in one of the winners' side semifinals in this one, with McMinn and Sean Mitchell squaring off in the other one. Hatch sent Nevel to the loss side 8-4, while McMinn downed Mitchell 8-2. McMinn claimed the hot seat over Hatch with that same score, and waited for Thorpe to complete his eight-match, loss-side winning streak.
 
It was Mitchell who caught Thorpe, five matches into that streak. Thorpe had most recently (wins #4 & #5) defeated Jason Klatt, double hill, and Gene Albrecht 8-6. Nevel drew Demetrius Jelatis, who'd gotten by Anthony Shea 8-6 and Zach Marquardt 8-4. Thorpe shut Mitchell out, and in the quarterfinals, faced Jelatis, who'd eliminated Nevel, though not without a double hill fight.
 
Thorpe then took out Jelatis 8-5, and in the semifinals, by the same score, denied Hatch a second shot and third shot at McMinn. Thorpe advanced to do so, taking both sets 8-4 to claim the event title.
 
Tour director Tony Chohan thanked Dave Coles and his staff at the Carom Room, as well title sponsor Taom Tips, Outsvilles Billiards Products, Diamond Billiard Products, PoolActiontv.com, Gametight Apparel, Andy cloth, and Diveney Cues. Stop #4 on the Taom Tips Tour, scheduled for January 6-8, will be a $5,000-added event, hosted by KK Billiards in Green Bay, WI
 

Winters/Frost come to Big Dog Billiards’ One Pocket/9-Ball tourney in Des Moines

Scott Frost (File photo courtesy of Rick Schmitz)

While daytime temperatures in Des Moines, Iowa were still in the 80s, with overnight lows dipping into the upper 50s, Scott Frost and Shane Winters came to town. On the weekend of September 10-13, the two of them, separately, won Big Dog Billiards' $2,000-added 9-Ball Open and the $5,000-added One Pocket Championships. They both went undefeated; Winters, through a 9-ball field of 150 and Frost, through a One Pocket, 'pro' mine field of 11 entrants.
 
Almost, but not quite, trumping Winters' undefeated run through the 9-ball tournament, was Bobby McGrath, who lost his opening match, and proceeded to win 14 on the loss side before meeting up with Winters in the finals. Winters advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Steve Boutcher. Jody McLaughlin faced Bob Andrews in the other. Winters and McLaughlin chalked up 7-3 wins over Boutcher and Andrews, before Winters chalked up a third 7-3 score to claim the hot seat over McLaughlin.
 
With nine loss-side wins to his credit already, Bobby McGrath got by Ron Govafenski 7-2 and Randy Hanson 7-4 to meet Boutcher. Andrews drew Chris Siefkan, who'd eliminated Mike Bennett and Mitch Ellerman, both 7-5. Among the 144 already vanquished at this stage of the game were Mike Massey, Lee Brett, Gene Albrecht, and a not-seen-lately, presumably-out-of-retirement Sarah Rousey. McGrath chalked up win #12, 7-3, over Boutcher. Andrews defeated Siefkan 7-4. And then there were four.
 
McGrath defeated Andrews 7-3 in the quarterfinals, McLaughlin 7-4 in the semifinals, and it was down to two. The final match was Winters' eighth. It was McGrath's 15th. Winters took advantage of a 'gas tank' that had to be running on fumes, and completed his undefeated run 7-2 to claim the 9-ball title.
 
The short field of 11 that signed up for the One Pocket Championships included all of the usual suspects, headlined by Alex Pagulayan, Corey Deuel, Frost, Josh Roberts, and Jeremy Jones. The other six were Danny Smith, Jesse Bowman, Justin Hall, Tony Chohan, Chris Bartram and Jason Chance.  
 
Frost and Roberts squared off in one of the winners' side semifinals, while Jones and Bowman met up in the other. Frost ended up getting by Roberts twice; the first time, double hill. Bowman defeated Jones 5-2. Frost claimed the hot seat 5-3 over Bowman.
 
On the loss side, Chance, Hall, Chohan, Smith and Bartram were gone by the time Jones picked up Deuel, who'd eliminated Chance and Smith, both 5-2. Roberts picked up Pagalayun, who'd eliminated Bartram 5-2. Deuel and Roberts got by Jones and Pagalayun 5-2, as well, and met up in the quarterfinals.
 
Roberts defeated Deuel 5-3, and then, downed Bowman 5-2 for a second shot at Frost, now in the hot seat. Based on their earlier, double-hill meeting, spectators and commentators on PoolActionTV's live stream (Jeremy Jones, among them) were expecting a similar struggle in the finals. Frost was not. He got out in front and stayed there to claim the One Pocket title 5-2.

Rivas, 15, goes undefeated to capture Cole’s Carom Room 10-Ball Spring Classic

Gary Lutman, Dave Cole (Coles’ Carom Room owner), Sergio Rivas (Photo courtesy of Ricky Bryant)

You'd have thought the game assignments would be reversed. As the 'big boys' were duking it out  playing 8-ball, though,  twice as many lower-tier players were battling in 10-ball at the Coles' Carom Room Spring Classic on the weekend of April 24-26.  Sergio Rivas, presumably a sophomore in high school, went undefeated through a field of 32, on-hand for the $1,000-added 10-Ball event at Coles' Carom Room in Beloit, WI.
 
Rivas and Gary Lutman met twice to decide it, and both times, played to double hill. Lutman had sent Gene Albrecht to the losers' side in one winners' side semifinal, while Rivas sent Kyle Boers over in the other.  Rivas took the first of two against Lutman 11-10, and sat in the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Albrecht picked up Chad Elston, who'd defeated Gil Hernandez and Duncan Kaufman. Boers drew Scott Cohen, recent winner over Adam Behnke and Jamie Welch. Albrecht and Boers got right back to work, handing Elston and Cohen their second losses, and facing each other in the quarterfinals.
 
Boers advanced over Albrecht and then had his two-game, loss-side effort halted by Lutman in the semifinals. It could have gone two, but it went only one. Rivas and Lutman battled to a second double hill match, before Rivas won it to claim the title.

What’s Hot at 41st Annual Texas Open 9-Ball Championship

What does a pistol dream? To be Smoking HOT! I know some pool players that are looking for their chance to prove how hot they can be at this year’s Texas Open 9-ball championship. It is going to be fun and there are some changes this year I think I am going to like.
 
 
I am heading out to Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock to watch my friends in great 9-ball pool action Saturday August 30th  thru Monday September the 1st, 128 elite players from around the US and Texas will be competing for over $10,000 in Open Division prizes at the longest running 9-ball tournament in US history. This year, they have added a $25 9-ball race-to-three tournament on Thursday 8PM that is open to anyone. Saturday night, the ladies’ 9-ball event begins. Expanded to a 48-player field for the first time this year so more hot players likeAmanda Lampert and Jennifer Kraber will compete against other marquee ladies. More on that later.
 
 
Returning 2013 finals match players are champion Warren Kiamco(Phillipines) and runner-up Charlie “Hillbilly” Bryant  (Houston, TX). Kiamco had knocked Bryant to the one-loss side. Bryant defeated Chip Compton in an elimination match to get his re-match as the crowd goes wild. Compton had to come-from behind facing Sylver Ochoa in their elimination match to face Bryant, but Ochoa lost ball-in-hand and the match after Chip broke and got a successful safe on a fortunate 9-ball kiss after a tough 3-ball kick shot in the hill-hill game.
 
 
In 2012, some of the most exciting moments included 80 year old Bob Vanover (8-time winner of Texas Open) thrilled the crowd with terrific ball control to put his opponent Gerald Jimenez in the loser’s bracket. Vanover played some astounding safety’s which induced about 6 Ball-in-Hand run-outs to win 9-7.
 
 
And I will never forget when 59-year old Gene Albrecht playing with broken ribs came up to me after winning his big day-2 2012 match against Chris Sharier 9-1 to make the final-32 players. Re-cap: Gene breaks up 8-1.  GA makes the 1 on the break and has no shot on the 2 on the other side of the table. He pushes out by kissing the 9 ball closer to the corner pocket as he is looking for the 3-9 combo later. CS makes him shoot the push-out shot and he plays a successful safety on the 2, gets ball-in-hand and makes the 3-9 combo to win and be part of the final 32 players. I was the only one who applauded and Gene came by and looks at me and right out of the “Color of Money” movie, he says “I’m Back!” Yes, you were Gene, he got tied for 9th.
 
 
The format is double-elimination, winner-breaks and every seat is a great seat. SkinnyBob says the secret is to sit on the top of the bleachers so that you can watch both sides and place bar orders easily.  I like being up-close and personal to the early round action on the Gold-Crown III 9’ tables with new blue Simonis 860 HR tournament cloth.
 
 
IMHO, the Texas Open is a better bargain than X-games, Formula1, and ACL fest for the thrill of being up-close to the extreme action and I don’t want to miss any of it. They have a new web-site this year that will allow keep track of the scheduled matches.
 
 
People from all over the Texas come to get out of the heat. Bob installs extra cooling, stadium seats inside for spectators and hire extra wait staff. Don’t forget the snack bar.  AZBilliards publishes the tournament brackets during play and has daily news about the world billiards scene. AZ also has columns by professional writers and publishes their own world rankings and money list.
 
 
The Open players’ meeting is Friday night. The ladies player’s meeting is planned for 6PM Saturday evening. This year, they are planning to do the draw early Friday night and announce the 9am and 10:30am Saturday matches so that players who have those 1st set of matches don’t have to hang around until 1am to find out their match is just a few hours away. Another great change for this year is a Friday 3PM $100 9-ball Ring-game, a game with lots of fast action.
 
 
I will take my wooden cue-stick shafts in to be conditioned by Ron Geyer of The Custom Cue Connection. It is always nice to play with a like-new shaft and Ron is known for his craft of using a lathe to hone the shaft perfectly smooth; There is usually a long line at his booth in the back.
 
 
The Skinny Bob’s Open T-shirt looks great this year and comes in 4 colors in Men’s and Women’s sizes with all the Open winner’s names on the back. They ran out last year so I will be getting mine early this year.
 
 
Again this year they are providing players with the Magic Ball Rackwhich is a diamond-shaped, thin vinyl template that has holes where you place the Aramith Belgium tournament billiard balls and get a perfect rack every time. The table has 2 spots marked on the felt where you align the top and the bottom hole, then just place the ball on a hole, and it self-centers itself to perfect spot. In 2010, they used a metal triangle rack called the Delta-13. Players have always complained about the racking process – it takes too much time and players can tilt the rack for an advantage. On TV, they have a surrogate racking specialist, but here the loser racks for the winner. It is important to have the head ball (one) touching the two balls directly behind it to get a good solid break. It is required to drive 4 balls to a rail on the break, else it is a foul.  We always play Texas Express Rules where the winner breaks, so I had to do a lot of racking. No more splinters.
 
There is a strategy to racking the balls called the 2-ball strategy. You want to place the 2-ball on the opposite side of the diamond from where the player breaks to increase the probability that the 2 will be far from the 1 after the break and make it harder for a run out. My daddy always told me, “Son, never run out of balls to shoot at too early”. But I think that only applies to 8-ball.
 
Bob is raffling a handmade “41st Annual Texas Open Championship” cue from James Hanshew of Hanshew Custom Cues. The lucky winner will be announced during the weekend. This cue will be part of the Open history, so I will buy my share of the raffle tickets this year. I have my lucky rock in my pocket, it could bring me luck this year. I wish I had one of those Hanshew jump-cues, they are sweet!
 
 
Trivia question: Who made the Texas Open famous by breaking and running out 11 racks in a row in the championship bracket without missing a shot? The Texas Open trophy is named after him: The Bob Vanover trophy. It would be fun to see if he can win a record 9th time!
 
The 2013 Women’s Classic finals was a re-match of the 2012 finals; Vivian “Texas Tornado” Villareal (San Antonio, TX), WPBA Touring Professional for over 10-years (19+ career titles) versus veteran WPBA Touring Professional Melissa “The Viper” Little (Westminister, Co). Watching Little come back from the one-loss side last year in the 1st final’s match looked like she was going to over-take 2012 champion Villareal, but it is so hard to beat “The Texas Tornado”  two times in a row with both players making masterful shots was amazing. I can see why Villareal got her nickname, she was shooting so fast I could hardly keep up. San Antonio is hot right now, just look at their pro-basketball team.
 
 
Kraber has been hot lately  – She is ranked 1st in the ladies OBCUEs Pool Tour rankings and won the Legends tour stop June 24th in League City over Lambert in a hill-hill match.  
 
 
In 2007, I bought Professional pool player and blogger Melinda Bailey“Mel” in the Calcutta and she won 3rd place in the ladies division.  That was fun winning on her. Bailey is the director of the Omega Billards Tour in D/FW area.
 
 
Local ladies Nicole McDaniel and Julia Rapp may see action against top players Bailey, Little, Villarreal, Belinda Calhoun, Veronica "Pistol" Perez, Emma Stewart, Kim Sanders, Amanda Lampert, Helen Hayes and Kim Pierce.
 
 
For Info :
 
Call/text/email Tournament Directors :
 
 James “Strop” Davis Sr 512-797-8947 Slowdeath53@yahoo.com
 
John Palmore 512-971-1889 John.palmore@gmail.com  
 
 Veronica “Pistol” Perez 512-721-8229 V7Perez74@yahoo.com
 
or call
 
 Skinny Bob’s 512-733-1111 Http://skinnybobs.com/texas-open/
 
Live Streaming provided by Http://PoolActionTV.com

King double dips Gilbert to claim first Nick Varner Amateur Classic

Jim Calderon, Nick Varner, Adam King, Marc and Kimberly Griffiths

Adam King effectively wound his way through a field of 128 entrants to capture the first Nick Varner Amateur Classic title, taking two out of three matches against Perry Gilbert. $8,000-added event drew 128 entrants to Felt Billiards in Englewood, CO on the weekend of March 21-23
 
King and Gilbert met first in the battle for the hot seat. King had defeated Gene Albrecht and Lou Valdez to reach the winners' side final. Gilbert had sent Chris Onesky and Kiko Ibarra to the losers' bracket to face King. Gilbert took the first (and only) of his three against King and waited in the hot seat for him to get back.
 
On the loss side, Adam Sisneros, who'd defeated Chris Onesky and Jason Evans, was waiting for Valdez. Ibarra picked up Joey Ryan, who'd gotten by Bill Skinner and Albrecht. Valdez and Ibarra went right back to work on the loss side, defeating Sisneros and Ryan, to meet each other in the quarterfinals.
 
Valdez took the quarterfinal match against Ibarra, but was stopped by King in the semifinals. King and Gilbert fought to double hill in both sets of the true double elimination final, with King prevailing in both to claim the first Nick Varner Amateur Classic title.