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Cooke goes undefeated to win first major regional on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Thomas Cooke

Thomas Cooke dodged a few major ‘bullets’ and came back from a hot-seat loss to double dip a junior player in the finals of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop at Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC on the weekend of Sept. 28-29. It was, at least as far as our records indicate, not only Cooke’s first victory on the tour, but his first cash payout at any major event anywhere. The $500-added event drew 20 entrants to Mickey Milligan’s.
Among the ‘bullets’ he dodged (did not play) were tour regulars BJ Ussery, Barry Mashburn and Anthony Mabe. Junior competitor and runner-up Josh Shultz was unable to dodge two ‘bullets,’  but fired back and on the winners’ side of the bracket, defeated both Ussery and JT Ringgold (the tour’s most prolific event winner), who, together on the loss side of the bracket, advanced to a marquee matchup in the quarterfinals. Ringgold had his six-match, loss-side streak ended by Cooke in the semifinals.
With the tour’s ‘heavy hitters’ already at work on the loss side, Cooke and Shultz advanced to the winners’ side semifinals; Cooke facing Jack Whitfield and Shultz meeting David Givens. Cooke battled Whitfield to a deciding 11th game in their double hill match, before advancing to the hot seat match. Shultz downed Givens 6-2. Shultz took the first of his three versus Cooke 6-3 and waited in the hot seat for him to return.
Over on the loss side, Ussery and Ringgold were waiting for Whitfield and Givens, respectively. Ringgold had most recently defeated Reene Driskill and Barry Mashburn, both 11-3, to draw Givens. Ussery had shut out Anthony Mabe and defeated Gerry Shepherd 12-2 to face Whitfield.
Ussery and Ringgold advanced to the marquee quarterfinals; Ringgold 11-4 over Givens and Ussery, 12-4 over Whitfield. Ussery was a little ‘off,’ apparently, and when they returned the following day to play that quarterfinal match, Ringgold won it 11-4.
Ringgold was apparently not at the top of his game, either, as, racing to 11, he fell 5-5 to Cooke in the semifinals. With Shultz racing to 6 in the finals, Cooke took the opening set 5-4 and won the second set 5-3 to claim the event title.
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Mickey Milligan’s 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 (October 5-6), will be a $1,000-added event, hosted by The Clubhouse in Lynchburg, VA.
The Tour is heading into a busy part of its schedule, with a number of high profile events between now and Christmas, beginning with its (9-ft table) Tour Championships on October 26 at Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC. The bar table Tour Championships will be held December 19 at Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC.
The month of November will be particularly busy with the tour’s first One Pocket invitational tournament, which has already been sold out. Scheduled for November 16-17, the event will be hosted by Speakeazy Billiards in Sandford, NC. A week later, at the same location, the tour will host the NC State 10-Ball Open, sponsored in part by Doug Beasley Custom Cues. A Scotch Doubles Tournament, scheduled for Thanksgiving Day weekend (Nov. 30-Dec.1) will be hosted by Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC. Tour patrons should monitor the tour’s Facebook pages for further information about these and upcoming tournaments.

Lucky 13 – Ringgold double dips Faulk to win 13th Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball title

JT Ringgold

JT Ringgold lost an opening round match on the most recent Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop, won seven on the loss side and then, double-dipped hot seat occupant, Larry Faulk to claim his 13th overall title on the tour. Racing to 10 in all of the matches, his loss-side run involved 90 games, and he lost only 16 of them. The next time he competes, said tour director Herman Parker, he’ll be racing to 11. The $250-added event, held on Saturday, Oct. 20, drew 18 entrants to Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC.
With Ringgold at work on the loss side, Faulk advanced to a winners’ side semifinal matchup against Mickey Milligan’s owner, Gerry Shepherd. Robert Perez and Graham Swinson battled in the other winners’ side semifinal. Faulk shut out Shepherd 7-0, as Perez and Swinson locked up in a double hill fight that eventually advanced Perez to the hot seat match against Faulk. Faulk claimed the hot seat, and as it turned out, his final match victory with a 7-4 win over Perez.
Ringgold, in the meantime, was slicing through the loss side field, and after chalking up wins #3 and #4 against Paul Swinson (father to Graham; 10-3) and Scotty Johnson 10-1, he drew Shepherd. The younger Swinson picked up Jack Whitfield, who’d defeated Jeff Matthews 7-4 and Wayne Miller 7-3 to reach him.
Ringgold added win #5 against Shepherd 10-2 and in the quarterfinals, faced Whitfield, who’d eliminated Swinson 7-5. According to TD Parker, Ringgold, in spite of the event’s alternate break format, didn’t miss a ball in his shutout over Whitfield in the quarterfinals. He gave up three racks to Perez in his 10-3 semifinal win.
With Faulk racing to 7, Ringgold had to beat him twice to claim the title, and did so, easily. He gave up only three racks in 23 games (10-2, 10-1) to claim this 13th Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball title.
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Gerry Shepherd and his Mickey Milligan’s 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 (Oct. 27-28) will be a $500-added event (with a full field of 48 entrants) hosted by Randolph Billiards in Hickory, NC.

Tracy Callaghan Wins 2017 Eastern Carolina Cup Ladies 9-Ball Championship

Crystal Gent, Debbie Teichert, Tracy Callaghan and Miranda Werner

What a great event!  Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC was the host site for the 2017 ECC, the weekend of July 15-16.  Gerry Shepherd, owner, welcomed the Ladies of the WPBA Tiger SMART Tour with open arms and wants to have us back twice in 2018! March and July will find TigerSMART at Mickey Milligan’s and we can’t wait.
Nine new members for the 2017 season added to the excitement of the event.  In the first round, last event’s winner, Ashely Rice was bested 7-1 by new member Cathy Perry; Debbie Teichert defeated Lisa Cossette 7-2; Heather Lakatos lost a nail biter 7-6 to Tracy Callaghan; Melissa Ipock took Holly Feher 7-5; Miranda Werner beat Christy Miller 7-2; and Marianne Merrill squeaked out a victory, hill-hill, over Erica He.
Second round saw Cathy Perry best Maria Finnegan 7-1; Tracy Callaghan defeating Debbie Teichert 7-1; Miranda Werner over Holly Feher 7-3; Marianne Merrill winning over Crystal Gent 7-3; Lisa Cossette over Heather Lakatos 7-5; and Melissa Ipock over Christy Miller 7-2.
Final four on the winner’s side were Tracy Callaghan in a very exciting hill-hill match over Cathy Perry and Miranda Werner besting Marianne Merrill 7-3.  On the one loss side, Crystal Gent beat Lisa Cossette 7-5and Debbie Teichert defeated Erica He 7-3 leaving Lisa and Erica tied for 7th-8th.  Gent over Perry 7-5 and Teichert over Merrill 7-3 leaving Perry and Merrill in 5th-6th.  
That left the final four to return on Sunday to shoot it out.  In the one loss bracket Gent got off to a 6-4 lead. Teichert was able to fight back and take the last three games for a 7-6 victory. The winner’s bracket final saw Tracy Callaghan defeat Miranda Werner 7-3 to take the hot seat.  In the semi-final match, Teichert’s run would come to a close with a 4-7 loss to Miranda Werner.
This set up a doozy of a finals match between Tracy Callaghan and Miranda Werner. Werner was ahead almost the entire one set, race to 9, match.  Callaghan would eventually tie the match at 8 and go on to become the Eastern North Carolina 9-Ball Champion.  Too, exciting!
Tiger SMART would like to thank its Title sponsor, Tiger Products, Inc. and also other sponsors who help in the success of the tour: Simonis Cloth, Aramith Balls, Ozone Billiards, and Quick-Clean.  The next event will be the Georgia State 9-Ball Championship at Rack&Grill II in Augusta, GA, on September 16-17.

Father and son battle it out on the Q City 9-Ball Tour

Terry and J.T. Ringgold, father and son respectively, battled twice to claim the title at a Q City 9-Ball Tour on the weekend of June 25-26. The son won both matches at the $250-added event that drew 18 entrants to Mickey Milligan's in New Bern, NC.
They met first in the hot seat match. Terry had defeated Danny Farren 4-5 (Farren racing to 7) as J.T. sent Randy Hodges to the loss side 9-4. J.T. showed no mercy in the subsequent battle for the hot seat. He shut his father out, and waited on his return.
On the loss side, Danny Farren picked up Frank Owens, who'd defeated Montez Lloyd and Brad Burton, both 5-3, to reach him. Hodges drew Josh Heeter, who'd eliminated Zach Cortright 7-3 and Jack Whitfield, 7-4. Heeter and Owens advanced to the quarterfinals, handing Hodges and Farren their second straight defeat; Heeter 7-4 over Hodges and Owens 5-3 over Farren.
Heeter took the quarterfinal match over Owens 7-3, but had his loss-side streak ended by the elder Ringgold 4-3 in the semifinals. The father put up a bit of fight in the second match against his son, chalking up two racks. J.T. chalked up his nine to claim the title.
Tour director Herman Parker thanked Gerry Shepherd and his staff at Mickey Milligans for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Viking Cues, and Delta-13 racks. The next stop on the Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of July 2-3, will be hosted by Chandley's Chalk and Cue in Statesville, NC. 

Carroll gets by Lloyd twice to take Q City 9-Ball stop

Billy Carroll and Montez Lloyd locked up twice to determine who'd walk away with the Q City 9-Ball Tour win on Saturday, October 24. Carroll took both matches to claim the title, in the event that drew 28 entrants to Anytime Billiards in Jacksonville, NC.
They met first in the hot seat match. Carroll had sent Gerry Shepherd (owner of Mickey Milligan's in New Bern, NC) to the loss side 6-4, while Lloyd was doing likewise to Robert Perez 7-1. Carroll took the first of the two versus Lloyd 6-2 and waited in the hot seat for the second.
On the loss side, Calvin Harper was doing what he could to prevent Lloyd from getting that second chance. Defeated in the opening round by Raymond McGinn, Harper went on a seven-match, loss-side run that would earn him the right to face Lloyd in the semifinals. Harper got by Solomon Pope 5-5 (Pope racing to 7) and Leon Williams 5-3 (victories #4 & # 5) to draw Shepherd. Perez picked up Justin Himes, who'd defeated  Al Boone and Kim Stakley, both 6-2.
It was Harper and Himes advancing to the quarterfinals; Harper, 5-3 over Shepherd, and Himes, 6-3 over Perez. Harper and Himes fought a double hill quarterfinal, eventually won by Harper, whose loss-side run then came to an end at the hands of Lloyd, 7-2, in the semifinals. Carroll then defeated Lloyd a second time, by the same 6-2 score to claim the event title.

Second room owner, Marty Opyd, wins stop on GSBT

Shannon Daulton, Marty Opyd and Bruce Luttrell

Two months ago (July 26), Gerry Shepherd, owner of Mickey Milligan's in New Bern, NC, became the first room owner to ever win a stop on the Great Southern Billiard Tour. On the weekend of Sept 26-27, Marty Opyd, owner of Legends Billiards in Inman, SC became the second. He went undefeated in the $1,000-added event that drew 47 to his establishment.
Opyd was challenged by separate opponents in the hot seat match and potential double elimination final. He'd defeated James Moore 6-2 to get into the hot seat match, where he was met by Mike Wood, who'd sent Mike Langley to the loss side 4-2. Opyd claimed the hot seat 6-2 over Wood and waited on what turned out to be the return of Bruce Lutrell
Lutrell was already on the loss side, working on a winning streak that would take him to the finals. Following victories over Dayne Miller 7-2 and Cary Burton 7-3, he drew Moore. Langley picked up Marcus Ovalle, who'd gotten by Matt Collins 4-3 (Collins racing to 6), and Michael Vinesett 4-2.
With Ovalle racing to 4, Mike Langley prevailed 3-2 to advance to the quarterfinals. He was met by Lutrell, who'd defeated Moore 7-3. Lutrell gave up only a single rack in the quarterfinal versus Langley, and gave up only two to chalk up the semifinal against Wood. Opyd stopped Lutrell's streak with a 6-5 win in the opening set of the true double elimination final to claim the event title.

Shepherd becomes first room owner to win a stop on the Great Southern Billiard Tour

Shannon Daulton, Gerry Shepherd and Brian Pate

It's been said (reportedly, by Albert Einstein, but nobody seems to know for sure) that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. In addition to it being, reportedly, the most overused cliche of all time (Salon, August 6, 2013), it's obvious that Einstein didn't play a lot of pool.
After somewhere between 30 and 40 attempts to win a Great Southern Billiard Tour stop in his own room, Mickey Milligan's in New Bern, NC, Gerry Shepherd became the first owner, ever, to win a stop on that tour. He went undefeated through a field of 40 to win the $1,000-added event that drew 40 to his place on the weekend of July 25-26.
"That was awesome," said Shepherd, moments after collecting the trophy and dough. "Surprised a lot of people. Surprised me, too."
In fairness to the insanity definition, Shepherd wasn't exactly doing the same thing over and over. In fact, he was doing things quite differently. He'd had some health issues arise in his family, and was looking ahead to some back surgery. He'd come to the realization, in the face of those issues, that "pool isn't all there is about life."
"And that," he said, "is when I started shooting better."
With players racing to their rating, Shepherd played as a "3" in this event, against a field with a few "7"s and "8"s. He faced one of those "8"s – J.T. Ringold – in a winners' side semifinal, while Robert Ash (a "4") got into it with Russell Sasser (a "7"). Shepherd defeated Ringold 3-6, and in the hot seat match, faced Ash, who'd sent Sasser to the loss side 4-5. Shepherd claimed the hot seat 3-2 and waited on what turned out to be the return of Brian Pate.
Pate had advanced through to a winners' side quarterfinal before chalking up his first loss; to Sasser. He moved to the loss side, defeating Wayne Miller and Al Booner, both 6-2, to meet up with Ringold. Sasser had drawn Scott Crain, 5-1 winner over Mike Gaskins, and double hill survivor versus Greg Smith.
Crain spoiled any re-match hopes that Pate may have been entertaining, by defeating Sasser 5-3. Pate joined Crain in the quarterfinals with a double hill win over Ringold. Pate took the quarterfinal 6-2 over Crain, and then fought tooth and nail to a double hill win over Ash in the semifinals.
Pate needed six games to claim the title. Shepherd needed three. They both got three, and Shepherd became the GSBT's first tour stop winning owner.
The next stop on the Great Southern Billiard Tour, scheduled for the weekend of August 1-2, will be hosted by Shore Thing Billiards in Myrtle Beach, SC.