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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, 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! 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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March Billiards Buzz Released

AzBilliards has released the March issue of the Billards Buzz online publication. 
February news includes coverage of the NAPT Division II Championship, The Empire State 9-Ball Championship, Eurotour Leende Open and Jay Swanson Memorial. Also check out the regular contingent of columnists as Jerry Briesath has an aiming tip for amatuers, The Sports Doc explains the difference between playing to win and playing to avoid losing, Anthony Beeler talks about dealing with a slump and Melinda Bailey interviews Gordy Vanderveer,  
This issue, as well as every other issue, can be found online at

Dupuis Wins First Ever American Rotation National Championship

The American Billiard Club Association is off the ground and looking good, especially good for the 8 players that qualified for what undoubtedly could be a special piece of pocket billiard history – the first ever American Rotation National Championship.
64 players across the country laid the groundwork by playing 7 matches at their own local billiard rooms over a 7 week period. Week 8 of this national event was a 1 day regional event where players in each region attempted to earn a spot in their National Championship. All players who qualified were guaranteed a minimum of $1,000 each upon arrival, which ensured they would not lose money while traveling to their National Championship.
This first championship was hosted by Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA and had players from:
Oklahoma – Gordy Vanderveer, Jamaica Joe’s, Midwest City.
North Carolina – Scott Johnson, Gate City Billiards, Greensboro.
New England region – Joe Dupuis, Snookers Billiards, RI & Joe Tucker, Amazin Billiards, MA.
Florida – Adam Wheeler, Cue Phoria, Winter Park & James Roberts, Stroker’s, Palm Harbor.
Alabama – Robert Hall, Bumpers, Huntsville & David Rowell, Bumpers, Hoover.
The 8 player championship called for two groups of 4 players competing in a round robin format. The top 2 players from each group were then seeded into single elimination brackets where matches would be increased from 125 points to 150 points. The final 4 turned out to be a New England vs Florida battle (Think Sox, Rays)  #1 seed James Roberts vs. the #4 seed Joe Tucker and #3 seed Adam Wheeler playing the #2 seed Joe Dupuis. James Roberts who appeared by general consensus to be playing the best pool of the day had at least two 15 ball break and run outs while defeating Tucker 150-118, moving one Floridian into the finals. On the streaming table were Adam Wheeler and Joe Dupuis in a fast and well played match that kept the regional battle alive with Dupuis prevailing by a score of 150-115. 
Most  American Rotation matches to 150 points take about 2 hours on average. Here with everything on the line and a chance to become the first ever National Champion you might expect the pace to slow just a bit, but NOT the case with Joe Dupuis in the finals. As he did all day, he came out with his usual fast and loose style that entertained the crowd and occasionally brings some additional heat. The final match took 1hour and 15 minutes, one of the fastest of the day, with Joe Dupuis becoming the game’s first National Champion by the score of 150-95.
Joe Dupuis won the title of first ever American Rotation National Champion, a commemorative custom case by John Barton Cases and a nice check for $3,000. Our Runner up, James Roberts, received a check for $2,000.  Adam Wheeler and Joe Tucker won $1,500 each for 3rd and 4th (Joe is donating a portion of his winnings to session II fees for 8 last place players of session 1 as a reward for these players stepping up and showing some heart in an effort to improve their own game and support our sport).  Gordy Vanderveer, Scott Johnson, Robert Hall & David Rowell won $1,000 each.
The American Billiard Club Association (ABCA) must be doing something right, because all who competed in the first national event have nothing but good things to say.  Even the players that didn’t qualify for the nationals are praising the format, which aims to solve the problem of player expenses, and the game, which aims to improve American players. 
ABCA Championship Series II will begin the week of October 28th.  Week 8 regional events will be held across the nation in December, and National Championship II will be held in conjunction with the 2014 Derby City Classic in January.  The ABCA plans to hold their national championships close in time and proximity to other national events.  This helps players save on expenses, if they choose to attend such events, and helps promoters get more entrants to their events.
As this article is being written, Joe Dupuis is at the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship also in VA, something that might not have happened, had he not qualified for the ABCA national event.
American players and club owners are encouraged to contact Joe Tucker at 508-840-6133 or  ASAP. It just takes 8 players with a little desire to make your club one of 64 nationwide that will help our sport present one legitimate and self sustaining format that we can all be proud of!
For more information about the American Billiard Club Association, please visit: 

American Rotation Championship Series Finals set for October 12

The American Billiard Club Association is proud to present the finals of our first ever;
American Rotation Championship Series, Oct 12th at Diamond Billiards Midlothian VA; one day before the US Open 9 Ball Championship begins.

Eight players have qualified and each is guaranteed a minimum of $1,000 for this one day Championship. One of the main goals of the American Billiard Club Association is to make it sensible and affordable for players to compete on a national level with one-two day expense paid events.

We will run as many of our Championships as close in time and location to professional events in an effort to help players cover their expenses to both and to help promoters gain more entries.

For the first American Rotation national Championship, eight finalists will be divided into two round robin groups of four. The top two from each group will move on to a single elimination bracket.
The finalists are:
Adam Wheeler, Cue-Phoria Billiards & Café, Winter Park, FL
James Roberts, Stroker’s Sports Bar & Grill, Palm Harbor, FL
New England
Joe Dupuis, Snookers Sports Billiards Bar & Grill, Providence, RI
Joe Tucker, Amazin Billiards, Malden, MA
Robert Hall, Bumpers Billiards, Huntsville, AL
David Rowell, Bumpers Billiards, Hoover, AL
Gordy Vanderveer, Jamaica Joe’s, Midwest City, OK
North Carolina
Scott Johnson, Gate City Billiards Club, Greensboro, NC

To get to this point, each player has played seven local matches of American Rotation, finished in the top 4 of their 8 local players and then qualified at a one day regional event.  These eight players will be sharing a purse of $12,000:
$3,000 & Title of First Ever American Rotation National Champion
$2,000 Runner-up
$1,500 3rd & 4th  and $1,000 5th-8th
Custom Case being made by John Barton to commemorate our Champion.

This prize fund, along with regional payouts, totals more than 100% of what the association actually brought in through player fees. We are building a flagship product for our players and our industry.

Please tune in to watch the live stream of our finals Oct 12th to get more details and to see which player name will go down in history. provides a direct link to the stream.

Session 2 of the American Rotation Championship Series II will begin the week of October 28th and run to Dec 9th. Championship finals will be held in conjunction with the 2014 Derby City Classic dates and location. The American Billiard Club Association is open to ALL players and any billiard club that can host eight high level or aspiring players for a seven week session.

Contact Joe Tucker as soon as possible at or (508) 840-6133 to get your 8 players and your Billiard Club on board.  Make a difference!

64 Clubs and 512 players doing what should have been done years ago!
Powered by CSI, Mark Griffin, Don Owen & Joe Tucker

Gabriel tops field of 150 at Midwest 9-Ball event; Little takes Ladies title

John Gabriel went undefeated on the Midwest 9-Ball Tour’s $3,500-added 9-ball event on the weekend of February 23-26, working his way through a field of 150 entrants at Shooter’s in Olathe, KS. Melissa Little also went undefeated in the $500-added Ladies event, which had attracted 20 entrants.

From among the winners’ side final four, Gabriel sent Chuck Raulston west 9-5, as Dustin Gunia was busy sending Mike Banks, Jr. over 9-4. Gabriel then took the hot seat match over Gunia 9-5, and waited for his return.

First up for Banks, Jr. on the loss-side was the winner of the concurrently-run One-Pocket event, Mark Haddad, who’d defeated James Baraks 9-6, and Anthony Garcia 9-3 to reach him. Chuck Raulston, in the meantime, squared off against Joey Gray (second in the One-Pocket event), who’d downed Gary Lutman 9-3, and Gordy Vanderveer 9-6. Haddad defeated Banks, Jr. 9-4, but a re-match of the One-Pocket semifinals was avoided when Raulston dropped Gray into the tie for fifth place 9-5.

Raulston took it a step further, dropping Haddad into fourth place 9-5, and turning to face Gunia in the semifinals. Gunia ended Raulston’s bid 9-2 for a second chance versus Gabriel in a potential, true double elimination final. Gabriel took the first and only set 9-5 to secure the event title.

Melissa Little and Nicole Keeney battled twice to crown the Ladies champion. They met first in the hot seat match, and fought back and forth to double hill before Little prevailed. Keeney moved over to the semifinals to face Kathleen Morast, who’d just defeated Carrie Williams in the quarterfinals 7-5. Keeney then shut out Morast for her second chance against Little. Little, though, came out strong in the opening set of what would have been a true double elimination final, and defeated Keeney a second time 7-2.

1st John Gabriel $2,400
2nd Dustin Gunia $1,750
3rd Chuck Raulston $1,000
4th Mark Haddad $750
5th Joey Gray $500
Mike Banks, Jr.
7th Gordon Vanderveer $350
Anthony Garcia
9th Jordan Davis $250
Gary Lutman
James Baraks
Brad Bent
13th Shane McMinn $200
Manny Chau
Greg Hogue
Taylor Anderson
17th Tom Jarboe $125
Patrick Brown
Bobby McGrath
John Bussey
Chip Compton
Glenn Atwell
Jeff Nelson
Anthony Asher
25th Dave Hathman $75
Jacob White
Dusty Meyer
Andy Craig
Mike Banks, Sr.
Dan Angstead
Robert Frost
K. C. Massey


1st Melissa Little $500
2nd Nicole Keeney $300
3rd Kathleen Morast $160
4th Carrie Williams $100
5th Angela Vallair $70
Julia Gabriel