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Wise Guy Snaps Off Senior One Pocket

Ronnie Wiseman, Ray Hansen, Bogies Owner Cody Parish and Nick Varner

Thirty one players came from all over the country to Bogies Billiards & Sports Bar in Houston, TX for the 7th Annual Senior One Pocket Championship.

My favorite tournament of the year, I couldn’t wait to see my longtime friends. “Tall Jeff” Sparks stopped by on the first day as well as Keith Thompson, the 1970 Johnston City All-Around champ. Texas legend, Jerry Prado, was supposed to play in the tournament but had car trouble – he showed up for the last two days to see everyone anyway. 

My friends Linda Martin, Samm Rubin, LoreeJon Ogonowski-Brown, Julie Mason-Comitini, Chris Fields, Kelly Isaac were there as well as Phil Windham, Carl Honey, Big Tyme’s Jim Henry, Todd Comitini, Bogie’s House Pro Roberto Gomez and Alex Calderon. The Taiwan contingent including Cheng Yu-hsuan (“Kevin Cheng”) and Chang Jung-lin was also in town making a pit stop before heading to Atlantic City for the US Open Pool Championship. There was even a little ten ball action between Roberto and Alex and a couple of the Taiwanese players after the finals on Sunday night. 

Presented by PoolActionTV, Bogies Billiards, Aramith, Simonis, Diamond Billiard Products and the Fort Worth Billiards Superstore, owner Cody Parish & Manager John Rizzo welcomed players such as BCA and One Pocket Hall of Famer Nick Varner, James Christopher (“The Sniper”), Moises Pouncey (“Gabby”), Scott Kitto, Ronnie Wiseman (“Wise Guy”), “Jumpin’ Sammy Jones, Erman Bullard, “Tyler Bob” Valliere, Joey Aguzin (“Joey A”) and Robert Newkirk (“Newk”) to the fray.

Among several first time players were Perfect Pocketz’ Mark Gregory (“Mags”) and “Colonel Bille” Miller as well as the returning northern California contingent – Bob Beaulieu, Ed Neves, Lee Wallick and Al Markasky. Warren Ruth, Tad Sowa, Larry Landsman, Mark Dimmick, Jim McCary, Ronn Rutan, Gary Urinowski, Kent Berthelot, Bob Hayes, Wayne Catledge, Mike Hoyt, James Christensen and Louis Vickio rounded out the field.

Dealing with health issues and sorely missed were former champs Billy Incardona, Jerry Matchin, John Henderson and James Davis Sr. It just wasn’t the same without you guys! Sure hope to see you next year!

The $3,000 added double elimination event had a $200 entry fee with races to 4/3 and alternate breaks. The player auction was pretty healthy with Wiseman going as the first blind bid and Varner the second. The auction was followed by the players meeting, the draw and one round of play. 

Shaking off the rust and slicing through the top part of the bracket was Perfect Pocketz’ Mark Gregory. “Mags” is better known today for his beautiful restorations of the classic Brunswick Centennial and Anniversary tables as well as perhaps the best table mechanic on the planet. Mark sent both Al Markasky and Ronn Rutan west with identical 4-1 scores and skunked Warren Ruth 4-0. 

Plowing through the other part of the bracket was Iowa native Scott Kitto – also known as “911.” Along with Mark Wilson and Jeff Carter, the trio dominated pool in the Midwest in the eighties. Scott blitzed both Gary Urinoski and Larry Landsman 4-zip and “Joey A” 4-2 before running into Gregory. Gregory made short work of Kitto – score 4-1. Scott headed for the scenic route while Mark locked up his seat in the hot seat match.

On a collision course in the upper part of the bottom bracket was the “Kentucky Colonel,” Nick Varner and Ronnie Wiseman. Player of the Year in 1980, 1982, 1989, 1994 and 1999, Nick is one of the best all-around players of all time with over one hundred career titles beginning with ACUI Collegiate National Championships (representing Purdue University) in 1969 and 1970, as well as back to back US Open Nine Ball titles. Nick has also won world titles in nine ball, eight ball, straight pool, one pocket and bank pool and has represented Team USA eight times at the Mosconi Cup – four times as the team captain. 

Originally from Windsor, ON, Ronnie Wiseman made his debut at this event. Although Ronnie played in tournaments here and there – even winning a few including the 2005 Reno Open, the “Wise Guy” is considered to be one of the smartest – if not THE smartest – action guys in the pool biz.

Nick blitzed both Ed Neves and Sammy Jones 4-0 while Ronnie toasted “J-Tom Pilot” 4-1 and skunked “Colonel Bille” 4-0. In a match that was closer than the score indicated, Ronnie sent Nick west 4-2. His next match was Moises Pouncey – the legendary player with a silky stroke. He was tagged “Gabby” early in his career for standing like a statue – never saying a word. Gabby mowed down “Newk” 4-0 and edged out Mark Dimmick 4-3. His next match was Jim McCary – score 4-2. Ronnie then made short work of Gabby 4-1 and met Gregory in the hot seat match.

Mark took the first two games over Ronnie and was on his way to winning game three when he picked out two different shots out of the stack, fired them in and ended up frozen to another ball in both cases with no shot. Ronnie clawed his way back and won four in a row over his frustrated opponent and locked up his seat in the finals. Mark headed to the one loss side to await an opponent.

After losing his second match, Sammy Jones battled his former running mate, James Christopher, and escaped with a 3-2 win. He then ran through both Warren Ruth and Mark Dimmick 3-0 before running into Gabby. That one went down to the wire also and Gabby survived with a 3-2 win. Varner spanked both Ronn Rutan and Jim Tomassoni 3-0 and then outlasted Kitto in an eight hour marathon 3-2. 

Returning the following day at noon, Nick ground out a 3-1 victory over Gabby. He finished in fourth place. Next up was Mark Gregory – he went down with a 3-0 pounding. Mark finished in third place.

Since this tournament was double elimination, Nick had to defeat Ronnie twice to win the event. This title has eluded Varner for the past few years and he wanted it badly but it was not to be. Wiseman moved out quickly winning the first two games. Back to the grind, Nick managed to take the next two and tie it up.  2-2! Bearing down, Ronnie won the next and was on the hill. Methodically making one ball at a time, Nick stayed in the game – keeping it close. It looked like he was going to tie it up and then he scratched! Wiseman, needing one, leaped out of his chair and got down on the spot shot. He stood up and then got back down and rifled it in! Boom! And we had a new champion!

Congratulations to Ronnie for snapping off the title on his first attempt with his beautiful Steve Lomax custom cue! Great effort, Nick!

Once again, PoolActionTV.com would like to thank Bogies owner Cody Parish, Manager John Rizzo and their staff for making all of us feel so welcome.

We’d like to thank our commentators for a fine job. They included One Pocket Hall of Famer Cliff Joyner, Mary Kenniston, Jeff Sparks, Joey Aguzin, Ronn Rutan and Ray Hansen.

We’d also like to thank our great fans and sponsors. Our sponsors include JB Cases, Aramith, Hanshew Jump Cues, Bogies Billiards, Lomax Custom Cues, Simonis, Diveney Cues, Diamond Billiard Products, Durbin Custom Cues, the Action Palace of Dayton, OH and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX.

Our next event is the One Pocket Champion Challenge featuring Tony Chohan and Alex Pagulayan with $100,000 plus in the middle! Hosted by Buffalo’s Billiards in Jefferson, LA, the dates are October 19th-22nd. Hope to see you there! 

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McMinn Emerges at Space City Open V

Shane McMinn

Shane “Doomsday” McMinn captured his first-ever Space City Open 9-ball title, plowing through an 87-player field, besting Alex Calderone in the second set of the true double elimination final, 7-2. Justin Hall went unscathed in the 32-player one pocket division, ousting the famed Josh Roberts in the final set, 4-2, taking home his second Space City Open one pocket title. Jeremy “Double J” Jones went undefeated in the 9-ball banks division, taking down Manny Chau in the final set, 3-1, earning himself a third 9-ball banks title. Wrapping up four long days of match play, the ladies 9-ball concluded on Sunday afternoon, with hot seat winner Natalie Rocha defeating Ricki Casper in the second set, 5-0, capturing her very first Space City Open 9-ball title.
 
The 4-day, 4-division, $6,000 added Space City Open V (SCO) was held at Bogies Billiards and Sports Bar in Houston, Texas, December 1st-4th, 2016. In its fifth year, SCO continues to increase in talent and value, and professional players from across the U.S. flew in to take advantage of this annual event. This year’s line-up featured an all-star cast of phenomenal talent going head to head in a test of wills and stamina. New on the scene, Arizona’s Scott Frost and South Carolina’s Josh Roberts, along with resident players Jeremy “Double J” Jones (TX), Justin Hall (FL), Shane “Doomsday” McMinn (TN), Alex Calderone (FL), Sylver Ochoa (TX), Robb Saez (TN ), Manny Chau (Peru), Richie Richeson (MI), and many others, entertained a packed house and hundreds of at-home viewers who tuned in to the live stream provided by PoolActionTV.com. 
 
In the 87-player 9-ball field, McMinn took an early hit from Jeremy Jones in the fourth round, 9-4, but came back swinging. While McMinn made his way through the one-loss side, Alex Calderone was doing some damage of his own, taking down Ed Ambros, Tony Barrington, 9-8, and Josh Roberts, 9-6, to reach the winners’ side final four. Jeremy “Double J” Jones ousted Jason Klatt, Blaine Barcus, 9-1, McMinn, 9-4, and Justin Espinosa, 9-8, to reach Calderone. Manny Chau had an impressive run, defeating Scott Frost in the first round, 9-4, Jason Chance, 9-4, Ruben Bautista, 9-5, Ernesto Bayaua, 9-8, and Sylver Ochoa, 9-5. Playing out to meet Chau, Tommy Tokoph took down Lee Clark, 9-1, Bill Blanda, Kenneth Price, and Bob Eaton, 9-6. On the one-loss side, upsets included Jacob Watson with a stunning victory over Justin Hall, 7-4, and Bob “The Pittsburgh Kid” Guzik, eliminating Bautista, 7-6. Finding himself in unfamiliar territory, Frost secured five consecutive matches on the one-loss side, with wins over Klatt, 7-0, Sergio Rivas, 7-2, Blanda, 7-6, and Barrington, 7-3. Frost fell to Jethwa, 7-3, while McMinn took out Robb Saez, 7-6. Bayaua defeated Watson, and Joey Torres took out Kenneth Price, by the same score, 7-4. As the final eight took shape on the one-loss side, the winners’ side final four was on fire, with Calderone defeating Jones, 9-6, and Chau sliding by Tokoph, 9-8. Back on the west side, Roberts ousted Bayaua, 7-2, and Torres eliminated Espinosa, 7-6, while Ochoa overcame Jethwa, 7-5, and McMinn bested Eaton, 7-0. Roberts went on to win sets against Torres, 7-5, and Tokoph, 7-2, while McMinn took down Ochoa, 7-0, and Jones, 7-4. The hot seat match witnessed an undefeated Calderone make quick work of Chau, 9-4. McMinn dusted off Roberts, 7-6, then Chau, 7-1, for a shot at the title. Both Calderone and McMinn were hungry for their first Space City Open win, leading up to a battle for the finish line. The first set commenced, and it appeared to be anyone’s ball game. McMinn settled in, and pulled ahead to win the first set, 9-7. In overtime, there was little Calderone could do from the sidelines, as  McMinn had the break down cold, coasting to a 7-2 win over Calderone, and securing his first-ever, SCO 9-ball title.
 
Former Mosconi Cup Player and Southern Classic all-around Champion, Justin Hall, went through the 32-player one pocket division like a hot knife through butter. Hall blazed through Sonny Bosshamer, 4-2, Jeremy Jones, 4-3, Marvin Diaz, 4-1, and Sylver Ochoa, 4-1, while Josh Roberts took out Scott Frost, 4-0, Aaron Springs, 4-0, Jason Chance, 4-1, and Richie Richeson, 4-0. On the one-loss side, Jones won an incredible five consecutive matches, besting Adam Cooper, 3-0, James Davis, Jr., Tommy Tokoph, 3-0, Chance, 3-1, and Ochoa, 3-2. Following a third round loss to Hall, 4-1, Diaz came back to defeat Jeff Sparks, 3-0, Sergio Rivas, and Richie Richeson, 3-2, to meet Jones. Back on the east side, after a long, drawn-out battle, Hall secured the hot seat, 4-3. Back on the one-loss side, in a surprising upset, Diaz defeated Jones, 3-0, to meet Roberts. Fresh off a hot seat loss, Roberts did what any champion would do, and that’s fight back. He made quick work of Diaz, 3-0, earning himself a rematch with Hall. In the final set, Hall was bit more subdued, but determined to not to let this one slip away. Once again, a seasoned Hall overcame Roberts in the first set, 4-2, going undefeated to win his second SCO one pocket title, becoming the only player to win two titles in this division.
 
Kicking off Space City Open V was the 20-player, 9-ball banks division, witnessing former Mosconi Cup MVP and former U.S. Open Champion, Jeremy Jones, capture his third Space City Open banks title. It was a long row to hoe for Jones, as he took down a list of worthy competitors, including Chris Thompson, Jason Chance, 3-0, Anthony Shea, 3-0, and Denis Strickland, 3-2. Also making his way through the field, Manny Chau defeated Viet Do, 3-1, Gail Eaton, 3-0, and Norman Small, 3-0, to face Jones for the hot seat. On the one-loss side, after suffering a first round loss to Do, James Davis, Jr. came back to win six consecutive matches, eliminating Scott Frost, Jim McCarry, Richie Richeson, Aaron Springs, 3-0, and Strickland, 3-0. Sergio Rivas was dealt a first round loss by Strickland, and also came back to win sex consecutive matches, booking wins over C.J. Escalera, Do, 3-2, Shea, 3-1, Thompson, 3-0, and Small, 3-1. On the east side, Jones took the hot seat wheel, defeating Chau, 3-0.  Back on the west side, Davis ended Rivas, 3-0, but fell to Chau, 3-0. The rematch between Jones and Chau ended all-too quickly for Chau, as Jones pulled ahead, winning the first set, 3-1. Jones crushed it, losing a total of three games throughout the 9-ball banks event, defending his 2015 title, while securing his third SCO banks title.
 
Wrapping up the event, 20 women battled it out on Sunday for over $2,200 in cash, in the ladies 9-ball division. Natalie Rocha came out firing, ousting Brandi Humber, 7-1, Gail Roles, 7-3, and Marie Clark, 7-3, while Ming Ng defeated Monica DeTuncq, 7-0, and Kim Pierce, 7-6. Ricki Casper made her way to the winners’ side final four with wins over Gail Eaton, 7-6, and Alicia Huff, 7-1, while Teresa Garland bested Lois Morgado, 7-3, and Nicole King, 7-6. Ng fell to Rocha, 7-3, and Casper defeated Garland, 7-4.  Rocha went on to secure the hot seat, over Casper, 7-4. On the one-loss side, Eaton dusted off Clark, 5-1, and Garland, 5-2, while Roles ousted DeTuncq, 5-4, only to be eliminated by Ng. Eaton ended  Ng, 5-4, but fell to Casper, 5-4. Casper earned herself a rematch with Rocha, and she intended to use it for all it was worth. As the first set commenced, the players fought relentlessly, each vying for their first Space City Open title. Rocha and Casper traded game for game, until Casper inched ahead to win the first set, 7-6. The second set was a different story, as Rocha came out of the gate running, and never slowed down. Rocha closed out the final set, 5-0, winning her first Space City Open 9-ball title. 
 
The Space City Open extends a heartfelt “thank you” to the venue, staff, sponsors, supporters, and vendors for this event; Bogies Billiards and Sports Bar, along with owners David and Shannon Richardson, the entire Bogies’ staff, assistant tournament director, John Newsome, Mike Fabacher, Ray Hansen and Justin Schwarz with PoolActionTV.com, Simplified Electronics, APA of North Harris County, Vapor Knights, Ozone Billiards, Outsville Billiards who supplied Accu-Racks for this event, Crazy Erica, and RE Visual Concepts. Special supporters included Marc McClure, Jeff Kay, David Taylor, Willie Duran, and Floyd Smith, and this year’s vendors, Ron Geyer and Jerry Olivier (cues) with the Custom Cue Connection, Joe Salazar Connoisseur of Custom Cues, and Darrold Stiehl of Champions Cues.
 
Space City Open VI will take place November 30th-December 3rd, 2017. For more information, visit SpaceCityOpen.com and Facebook @SpaceCityOpen.

Sparks and Pacheco Headline Lone Star Tour Finale

Jeff Sparks

After a 47-year retirement from pool, 72 year-old Houstonian Jeff Sparks captured his first tournament win since 1972. Sparks went undefeated in the Lone Star Billiard Tour’s 52-player amateur 9-ball division, overcoming Deer Park’s Bobby Pacheco in the final set, 7-6, becoming the oldest player to ever win the amateur division. Pacheco also fought his way through the elite, 44-player open 9-ball division, defeating John McDowell in the finals, 9-3. This was Pacheco’s second, consecutive win on tour, with an amateur division win in July, and now this month’s open division. Congratulations to Bobby Pacheco who will advance to “open” player status in 2016! Kevin Nguyen and Chase Rudder were crowned the 2015 Lone Star Tour Champions, amateur and open divisions, respectively, for their year-end, number one rankings. These players will join the multitude of title-holders in the Lone Star Tour archives, documenting division and tour champions since 2009.
 
On October 10th-11th, 2015, Bogies Billiards and Sports Bar, along with tour sponsors Poison by Predator Cues www.poisonbilliards.com, Delta-13 Rack www.delta-13.com, Ozone Billiards www.ozonebilliards.com, and the APA of North Harris County www.facebook.com/apanorthharriscounty, facilitated another successful Lone Star Billiards Tour event in addition to a women’s Gulf Coast Tour side-by-side 9-ball event, for players all across Texas and surrounding states, with a generous $1,500 added which drew 96 players and paid out over $9,000 in prize money. 
 
In the amateur 9-ball division, all eyes were on Jeff Sparks, the super-senior pool veteran who came out of retirement to compete in the grueling, 2-day event; the ultimate test in player resolve and stamina. Sparks went undefeated, archiving wins over Will Felder, 7-3, Jack Cavalier, 7-2, Gabriel Romo, 7-5, and Kenneth Price, 7-3. The number one ranked amateur player and strong contender for the 2015 Lone Star Tour Champion title, Kevin Nguyen, kept his eye on the prize, logging wins over Logan Tunnell, 7-1, Tom Welch, 7-6, Chuck Adams, 7-6, Jesse Langston, 7-3, and Bobby Pacheco, 7-3. On the one loss side, after a first round loss to Jonathan Poon, 7-2, Mike White won an impressive five consecutive matches, with victories over Chance Allison, 5-3, Charlie Jenkins, 5-1, Ron Wrobleski, 5-2, Jack Cavalier, 5-2, and Bob Eaton, 5-0, before falling to Langston, 5-4. Welch also blazed through the one loss side, eliminating Keith Keithley, 5-0, Greg Trent, 5-3, Jonathan Poon, 7-0, and Curt Bovenzi, 5-4, before falling to David Chow, 5-1. Lassek ousted Erick Renteria, 5-2, while Romo eliminated Chuck Adams, 5-3. Langston and Lassek overcame Chow and Romo, respectively, by the same score, 5-2. In the next round, Langston found himself on the receiving end, losing to Price, 5-1, as did Lassek, who succumbed to Pacheco, 5-1. The one loss side was down to its final, two players, as Sparks and Nguyen geared up on the west side for a hot seat showdown. In the end, it was age over youth, as Sparks secured the hot seat over Nguyen, 7-4. Pacheco took care of business on the east side, as he finished off Price, 5-1, and dealt payback to Nguyen, 5-4. In the true, double elimination format, Pacheco would have to beat Sparks two sets; the first race to 7, and the second race to 5. Unfortunately for Pacheco, that didn’t happen. Sparks narrowly escaped Pacheco in the first set, 7-6.
 
Open 9-ball division action witnessed Pacheco defeat Gabriel Romo, 9-4, Will Felder, 9-0, Steve Williams, 9-1, and Erik Renteria, 9-4. Ernesto Bayaua made a strong bid for the hot seat as well with wins over Chuck Adams, 9-1, Lester Foy, 9-4, John Newsome, 9-6, and John McDowell, 9-6. Following a second round loss to tour newcomer, John Lassek, 9-5, Chase Rudder came back to win four consecutive matches until he was eliminated by John Newsome, 7-6. After suffering a 9-3 loss to McDowell in the third round, Lassek went on to eliminate Charlie Jenkins, 7-4, Sonny Bosshamer, 7-5, Steve Williams, 7-4, and Cesar Arechiga, 7-5, until he was ousted once again by McDowell, 7-4. Following a tough battle with Rudder, Newsome overcame Kenneth Price, 7-1, but was eliminated by Erik Renteria, 7-3. While McDowell and Renteria teed off on the one loss side, it was a battle to the finish for Bayaua and Pacheco. Pacheco slid past Bayaua for the hot seat victory, 9-8, while McDowell made quick work of Renteria, 7-2. McDowell went on to eliminate Bayaua, 7-6, setting the stage for a first-time match-up between McDowell and Pacheco. The finalists appeared fresh and full of energy as play commenced. Throughout the set, Pacheco’s ever-increasing momentum overwhelmed McDowell, who found it difficult to gain the least bit of ground. Pacheco captured the first set of the true, double elimination final, 9-3.
 
New at this event were “live” online brackets, making it possible for players to follow tournament progress on their mobile devices. “The Lone Star Billiards Tour looks forward to implementing new programs for 2016 aimed at increased visibility and value for our venues, sponsors, and players. Online brackets will be accessible through LoneStarBilliardsTour.com, however, we will still use paper charts on-site for our not-so-tech-savvy players and fans” says LSBT founder and tour director, Kimberly Newsome. 
 
The Lone Star Tour would like to acknowledge, and thank, its 2015 venues, sponsors, and supporters: Bogies Billiards and Sports Bar, Bogies West, Skinny Bob’s Billiards, Ariana’s, Poison by Predator Cues, Delta-13 Rack, APA of North Harris County, Ozone Billiards, Derrell Montgomery, Chuck Adams, John Newsome, Roger Allen Cue Repair, James Hanshew Cue Repair, Walter Kelley Cue Repair, and Bobby Garcia at RE Visual Concepts who captured some spectacular action shots during the finale. Special thanks to Teresa Garland and Ricki Casper for assisting with the online brackets and raffle ticket distribution for the Poison “players only” free raffle. Congratulations to Lone Star Player John Lassek who took home a brand new Poison Jump Cue, just for participating in the event!
 
The next event big event on the Texas tournament calendar will be the Space City Open IV, December 3rd-6th, 2015, held at Bogies Billiards and Sports Bar, 3040 FM 1960 E., Ste. 101, Houston, Texas, 77073. For more information, visit www.Facebook.com/SpaceCityOpen or email SpaceCityEvent@gmail.com. Space City live streaming will be featured at www.SpaceCityOpen.com
 
The Lone Star Billiards Tour would like to thank all of the players who participated this year, and encourage everyone who loves to play pool and compete in a friendly atmosphere, to attend a Lone Star Billiards Tour Event. For the most up-to-date information, visit www.LoneStarBilliardsTour.com. Please “Like” us at www.Facebook.com/LoneStarTour and “Follow” us at www.Twitter.com/LoneStarTour09