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Brady holds off Heeter in double elimination final to capture Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball title

Norris Brady

When they met in the finals of the Feb. 1-2 stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, they were both looking to capture their second-ever title on the tour. Josh Heeter captured his first title anywhere with a win on the tour, just over a year ago, when he lost his opening match and won 11 on the loss side to meet and double dip Brian White. Heeter was also runner-up to BJ Ussery in a tour event in October, and 4th in an event, also won by Ussery, in June. Norris Brady was making his first appearance on the tour since June of 2018, a year in which he won a stop on the tour and finished in the money two other times; 9th in the earlier NC State 9-Ball Championships (March) and 13th at a stop in June. Brady was also the tour’s first tour champion in 2013. They met twice in this most recent event in both sets of a double elimination final with Brady in the hot seat and Heeter having won three on the loss side to meet him. Heeter took the opening set of that final to force a second set, won by Brady. The event drew 68 entrants to Gate City Billiards Club in Greensboro, NC.
 
They’d both advanced to a winners’ side semifinal. Heeter, facing Clay Davis and Brady, squaring off against Stevie McClinton. Davis sent Heeter to the loss side, as Brady was busy defeating McClinton 9-5. Brady gave up only a single rack, claiming the hot seat 9-1.
 
On the loss side, it was Chuck Ritchie who drew Heeter, just after surviving two straight double hill fights against Jason Potts and Jeff Abernathy. McClinton picked up Brandon Butts, who’d defeated Jeff Little 5-2 and Zac Leonard 5-5 (Leonard racing to 8).
 
Butts prevailed in a double hill fight versus McClinton (5-6) and was joined in the quarterfinals by Heeter, who’d eliminated Ritchie 8-4. Heeter then eliminated Butts 8-2 in those quarterfinals to earn himself a rematch against Davis in the semifinals.
 
Heeter wreaked his vengeance on Davis 8-4, loading himself up on momentum that carried over into the first set of the double elimination final against Brady. Heeter took that opening set 8-1, so they loaded up for a second meet. This one stretched out a bit, as they both looked to claim the title. They battled to double hill before Brady prevailed to claim the event title.
 
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 tour, scheduled for Feb. 7-8, will be a $1,000-added event, hosted by The Clubhouse in Lynchburg, VA.

Ussery splits Q City 9-Ball top prizes with reigning junior champion, Joey Tate

BJ Ussery

They met in a winners’ side semifinal in pool’s present as icons of pool’s recent past and ongoing future. On the weekend of June 8-9, veteran competitor BJ Ussery, 40, who’s been competing professionally for nearly 20 years, faced the current two-time, 14-and-under Junior National Champion, Joey Tate, at a stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. Ussery won the match and would later, when Tate returned from a three-match journey on the loss side of the bracket, agree to a split of the top two prizes, so that Tate, whose mother was nearby, could get home in time for a good night’s sleep ahead of a school day. According to our records, Ussery’s best earnings year, to date (2005), coincided with the year that Tate was born. The $500-added event that saw them compete against each other, drew 42 entrants to SpeakEazy Billiards in Sanford, NC.
 
As Ussery and Tate squared off in their winners’ side semifinal, Johnny Haney and Jason Potts met in the other one. With Tate racing to 7, Ussery defeated the youngster 11-2, while Haney downed Potts 6-4. Ussery claimed the hot seat, and what proved to be his final match 11-5 over Haney.
 
Ussery liked what he saw of Tate and expects that the youngster is only going to get better.
 
“He keeps his composure about him, comes to the table and acts professional,” said Ussery. “He plays really well, but of course, he does make mistakes.”
 
At the moment, Ussery noted, the strength of the youngster’s game is in being “above his years in running out and his knowledge of position play.” His weaknesses, Ussery went on to say, may be his break and just the need for “pure experience.”
 
“That’s crazy,” said Ussery, “to think those are the only weaknesses in his game at that age, but it’s true.”
 
Though he defeated Tate in their only meeting, Ussery would generally not want any part of him in an 11-7 handicapped race.
 
“Hell, no!!” he said. “That’s how the handicap system works, and definitely, with him going to 7, I would not be the favorite.”
 
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On the loss side, Tate opened his trek to the finals against a former junior player, Hunter White, who’d shut out Christy Norris and downed Scott Roberts 8-2 to reach him. Potts picked up Josh Heeter, who’d recently eliminated Larry Faulk 8-3 and Hank Powell 8-5.
 
Tate defeated White 7-4 and in the quarterfinals, faced Heeter, who’d ended Potts’ weekend 8-2. Heeter was giving Tate a single game on the wire at the start of the quarterfinal race-to-8. Tate sent him home 7-3.
 
In the semifinals, it was Tate giving Haney a game on the wire in a race to 7. Tate defeated him 7-3, as well.
 
It was Tate who approached Ussery about forgoing the final match and splitting the top two prizes, although his mother was nearby and no doubt conveying information, perhaps silently, that the youngster had to get home. They agreed to the split.
 
“His Mom was really cool,” said Ussery. “I’m very peculiar about the people I help, but he seems like a good kid, so I told him a few things when we were done. Gave him some tips and adjustments and his Mom thanked me for helping him.”
 
“He’s going to go through the same struggles that all players do sometimes,” he added. “Sky Woodward went through it. So did Billy Thorpe. It’s hard to know how that’s going to turn out (with Tate). It’s really too early, and he hasn’t met girls yet.”
 
Tate will turn 14 in a little over two weeks (June 28) and is prepping for the Billiards Education Foundation’s 2019 Junior National Championships, scheduled for July 23-27. He will be looking for his third straight 14-and-under title. The event will be held in Las Vegas as part of the Billiards Congress of America’s 2019 Expo.
 
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, scheduled for this weekend (June 15-16), will be a $250-added event, hosted by Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC. 

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. 

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.

Maynard stops loss-side ‘footsteps’ of Chumbley to win his first Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball stop

Ikey Maynard

The volume of loss-side footsteps heard from the hot seat in a pool tournament is in direct proportion to the length of time those footsteps have been on the move. Everybody in the hot seat of a double elimination tournament has to face someone who’s been on the loss side, and a sizeable percentage of the time it’s the player defeated in the hot seat match, who’s taken a single step. A second sizeable percentage of the time, it’s someone defeated in a winners’ side semifinal, who’s taken three steps. When the loss-side victories get up above five, the footsteps get louder and louder with every step taken.
 
On the weekend of December 9-10, Ikey Maynard, looking for his first-ever victory on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour made it to the hot seat, and waited for Eric Chumbley to complete a nine-match, loss-side winning streak that would put him into the finals. Chumbley took the loudest footstep of them all, winning the opening set of a true double elimination final, before Maynard rallied to win the second set and event title. The event drew 44 entrants to Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.
 
With Chumbley already at work on the loss side, having won his first-round match, and lost his second (to Josh Williams), Maynard advanced to a winners’ side semifinal versus Scott Howard. Jason Potts, in the meantime, squared off against Dustin Coe in the other one. Maynard downed Howard, double hill, and, in the hot seat match, faced Potts who’d sent Coe to the loss side 7-2. Maynard claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Potts and sat listening for the footsteps.
 
On the loss side, Chumbley wasn’t the only one making noisy footsteps. As the event edged toward its first money round (determining the tie for 7th place), Chumbley and Bobby Jack Connor (who’d lost his opening match and was working on a seven-match, loss-side streak) were competing against opponents, and each other, as they advanced to a meeting in the quarterfinals. Chumbley chalked up loss-side wins #5 & #6 against Jose Irizarry (5-2) and shut out Alex Boles to draw Howard. Connor won his 5th and 6th matches against Mike Kirby (9-1) and Sam Patel (9-4) to pick up Coe.
 
Chumbley downed Howard 8-5, and heard the loud thud of a single footstep by Connor, who shut Coe out to advance to the quarterfinals. Not surprisingly, Chumbley and Connor fought tooth and nail (aka double hill) for a slot in the semifinals, and it was Chumbley who advanced.
 
Chumbley spoiled Potts’ bid for a second shot at Maynard in the hot seat with an 8-3 semifinal win. He then fought Maynard to double hill in the first set of the true double elimination final, and sunk the final ball to square the losses at one apiece. With Chumbley racing to 8, Maynard took the second set 7-6 to secure 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, Delta 13 Racks, AZBilliards and Professor Q Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour will be the season finale Tour Championships, a $1,500-added event open to the top 100 ranked players who’ve played on the tour this year. Scheduled for this weekend (December 16-17), the event will be hosted by Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC.
 
As is always true with point-ranking systems, players are rewarded not only for their performance at individual tour stops, but for the number of stops in which they’ve competed. A player, for example, who’s competed in all of the tour’s events, but not won any, would, at the end of the year, be likely to rank higher than a player who’s won the only three events in which he/she participated. The top five players on this year’s tour were Travis Guerra, Angela Parker, Scott Roberts, Daniel Adams and Steve Ellis. 
 
 

Holliday goes undefeated to win Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Bar Box Tour Championship

He had to win two double hill matches out of his final three, but Taz Holliday did just that on the weekend of October 28-29 to complete an undefeated run and win the 2017 Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Bar Box Tour Championship. The $1,000-added, invitational event drew 77 entrants, representing seven states (FL, GA, NC, SC, VA, TN, and WV) to Cue Time in Spartanburg, SC.
 
Holliday’s first double hill fight of his final three matches came in a winners’ side semifinal against the higher-handicapped Bobby McGrath. With McGrath racing to 11, Holliday got into the hot seat match with a 6-10 win over him. Jason Potts, playing in the other winners’ side semifinal, defeated Brent Hensley 7-4. With Potts racing to 7, Holliday claimed the hot seat 6-5 and waited for Potts to come back from the semifinals.
 
On the loss side, McGrath picked up Michael Chapman, who’d defeated Justin Duncan 7-5 and Scott Roberts 7-3 to reach him. Hensley drew Jerry Ray Harris, who’d eliminated Bo Blakely 6-2 and survived a double hill fight versus Chris Gentile (6-8, Gentile racing to 9). Chapman and Harris handed McGrath and Hensley their second straight loss; Chapman 7-9 over McGrath (racing to 11) and Harris 6-2 over Hensley.
 
Chapman dropped Harris off in the quarterfinals 7-2, but had his modest loss-side streak ended by Potts in the semifinals 7-5. Holliday completed his undefeated run with a re-match double hill win over Potts in the finals.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Time for their hospitality, 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 will be the $1,000-added, 3rd Annual North Carolina State 8-Ball Championships. Scheduled for November 4-5, this annual event has been won by Mike Davis over the past two years, and will be hosted by Brown’s Billiards in Raleigh, NC.