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Swinson & Knuckles split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop

Graham Swinson

In a tournament that featured a number of junior national champions, Graham Swinson, who’s been playing on the Viking Cues Q City 9-Ball Tour since he was 12 in 2013, went undefeated to the hot seat and then, in collaboration with Justin Knuckles, opted out of a final match and split the top two prizes. The $250-added event drew 17 entrants to Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC.

Having sent Knuckles to the loss side in the second round, Swinson advanced through the field to a winners’ side semifinal match versus Bethany Tate, 14, who was the BEF Junior National Champion in 2018 (Girls 11 & Under) and was on-hand with two of her siblings; younger sister, Noelle (11, whom Knuckles defeated in the opening round) and older brother, Joey, a regular on the tour and a two-time BEF Junior National Champion (’17 & ’18, 14 & Under Boys). Jorge Ramos, in the meantime, squared off against Kenny Daughtrey in the other winners’ side semifinal. 

Swinson shut Bethany Tate out and in the hot seat match, faced Ramos, who’d sent Daughtrey to the loss side 7-1. Swinson claimed the hot seat 8-5 in what would prove to be his last match.

On the loss side, as the event moved into the battles for 5th/6th place, there was a ‘buzz in the air’ regarding the possibility that Joey and Bethany Tate might face each other in the quarterfinals. Daughtrey drew Joey, who’d eliminated Walter Berry, double hill, and Ron Sellers 8-3 to reach him. Bethany Tate had picked up Justin Knuckles, three matches into the loss-side winning streak that would take him into the finals (that weren’t). The siblings went out together; Joey, falling to Kenny Daughtrey 6-4 and Bethany, eliminated by Knuckles 6-1.

Knuckles completed his six-match, loss-side winning streak with back-to-back 6-3 victories, over Daughtrey in the quarterfinals and Ramos in the semifinals. At that point, Knuckles and Swinson opted out of the final, split the cash and called it a night.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Mickey Milligan’s, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Diamond Brat, Federal Savings Bank’s Mortgage Division and AZBilliards. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for Sept. 3-5, will encompass two separate tournaments – a $500-added Ladies Open and a $1,000-added Open (for all) 9-Ball on Diamond tables at Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, NC.

Raden and Ringgold split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Last year proved to be a bit of an off-year for JT Ringgold, who, though he cashed in 12 events, failed to chalk up more than a single victory; in June, on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour at Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC. He barely took home one-third of the cash he won in 2018, his best earnings year to date, when he won three stops on the tour (one of them at Mickey Milligan’s) and the Action Pool Tour’s season finale. Ringgold returned to Mickey Milligan’s on Saturday, January 18 and opened his 2020 campaign on a semi-positive note. Though he managed to earn a spot in the finals against Matt Raden, the two of them opted out of a final match, leaving Raden, the undefeated occupant of the hot seat as the winner. It was Raden’s first cash finish on the tour, on which he’s been competing since 2017. The $400-added event drew 24 entrants to Mickey Milligan’s.
 
They met once in this event, in a winners’ side quarterfinal, which went double hill, before Raden prevailed 7-10 (Ringgold to 11). Ringgold moved to the loss side, as Raden drew a winners’ side semifinal matchup against Montez Lloyd. Ron Ford, in the meantime, squared off against Jorge Ramos in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Two double hill matches sent Raden and Ford to the hot seat match. Raden downed Lloyd 7-5 and Ford defeatEd Ramos 5-6. Raden claimed his first-ever hot seat with a 7-3 victory over Ford in what proved to be Raden’s final match.
 
Over on the loss side, Ringgold began his five-match trek toward a rematch against Raden with an 11-1 victory over Jeff Matthews and then downed Joshua Shultz 11-4 to draw Ramos. Mike Powell, who’d defeated Mickey Milligan’s owner Gerry Sheperd 5-1 and survived a double hill fight against Ms. Sydney Cork (5-3), leapfrogged over Montez Lloyd, who forfeited his first loss-side match.
 
Ringgold joined Powell in the quarterfinals after defeating Ramos 11-6. In what proved to be Ringgold’s final match, he defeated Powell 11-3 in those quarterfinals.
 
Ringgold then did his own leapfrog number. Ford forfeited the semifinal match, which set Ringgold up to face Raden in the finals. The two agreed to the split, leaving Raden with his first regional tour win, albeit with the *, and the evening was done.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Gerry Sheperd and his Mickey Milligan’s staff, 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 January 25-26, will be a $500-added event ($1,000-added with 64+ players), hosted by Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC.

Leonard and McGinn split top prizes on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Zac Leonard

Fresh off his best earnings year, to date (2018), Zac Leonard, who was the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour’s Points Champion last year, opened his 2019 campaign with an undefeated tour victory. Leonard won two stops on the 2018 tour, was runner-up twice, and cashed in eight events. At this most recent $250-added event, held on Saturday, January 19, he advanced, undefeated, to the hot seat and just as dawn was starting to creep up onto the Sunday, January 20th horizon (4 a.m.), he agreed to a split of the top two cash prizes with runner-up Raymond McGinn. The event drew 31 entrants to Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC.
 
Leonard and McGinn met twice in this one; the first time in a winners’ side semifinal and again, when they opted out of playing, in the finals. While Leonard and McGinn were playing their match, Billie Spatafora and Jack Whitfield squared off in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Leonard got into the hot seat match with a 7-3 win over McGinn. He was met by Spatafora, who’d defeated Whitfield 5-5 (Whitfield racing to 7). Leonard gave up only a single rack to Spatafora, sending him to the loss side 7-1 in what would prove to be his (Leonard’s) final match.
 
On the loss side, McGinn picked up Jorge Ramos, who’d defeated John McColl 7-4 and Chad Weachter, double hill (7-5) to reach him. Whitfield drew Chris McSorley, who’d eliminated Chris Rhoades 6-4 and Sydney Champion 6-5 (Champion racing to 8). Raymond McGinn got into the quarterfinals with a 6-2 win over Ramos. He was joined by Whitfield, who benefited from a forfeit by McSorley.
 
McGinn downed Whitfield in those quarterfinals and advanced to defeat Spatafora in the semifinals, both by the same 6-2 score. The decision was made to not play a final match, the top two prizes were split and everybody went home.
 
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 (Jan. 26-27), will be hosted Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

Ringgold gets by Johnson twice to claim Q City 9-Ball Title

JT Ringgold picked up his first victory on the 2016 Q City 9-Ball Tour with an undefeated run on the weekend of April 16-17. He dominated two matches versus Scotty Johnson to claim the event title, which drew 34 entrants to Mickey Milligan's Billiards in New Bern, NC.
 
They met first in the hot seat match. Ringgold had sent Jack Whitfield to the loss side 9-1, while Johnson was defeating Montez Lloyd 5-3. Ringgold subsequently gave up only two racks to Johnson and sat in the hot seat awaiting his return from the semifinals.
 
Over on the loss side, Whitfield picked up Jorge Ramos, who'd sent Jerry Cannon and Roy Musser home; 7-4 and 7-3. Lloyd drew Greg Smith, who'd defeated Justin Ward and Edward Forbes, both 8-2.
 
Whitfield advanced to the quarterfinals 5-3 over Ramos, and was joined by Smith, who'd ended Lloyd's day 8-4. Whitfield advanced one more step with a 5-4 victory over Smith, and one step away from a re-match against Ringgold, faced Johnson in the semifinals. 
 
Just as anxious for a re-match, Johnson downed Whitfield 5-1 and got his chance. As it turned out, his match against Whitfield was not only his last match victory, it proved to be the last time that Johnson would win a game. Ringgold completed his undefeated run through the field with a shutout over Johnson in the finals.
 
The next stop on the Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for April 23-24, will be hosted by Brown's Billiards in Raleigh, NC.

Pike goes undefeated to take Q City stop at Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC

Chad Pike, owner of City Cues in Elizabeth City, NC, has been a regular competitor on the Q City 9-Ball for a few years now. He's been a competitor at the game for a lot longer than that, dating back to our (AZBilliards') first recognition of him for finishing 17th on a Falcon Cue 9-Ball Tour stop 12 years ago. He went on to make appearances on the Great Southern Billiard Tour, the Viking Tour, the Action Pool Tour, and a couple of noteworthy appearances at the annual US Open 9-Ball Championships. On the weekend of January 30-31, 2016, he added another victory on the Q City 9-Ball Tour to his resume, going undefeated through a field of 38, on-hand for the $500-added event, hosted by Mickey Milligan's in New Bern, NC  
 
Pike's path to the winners' circle went through Jorge Ramos twice; once in the hot seat match and later, in the finals. He'd sent J.T. Ringgold to the loss side 7-3 in a winners' side semifinal, as Ramos was busy sending Greg Smith over 6-7 (Smith racing to 8). Pike claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Ramos.
 
On the loss side, Ringgold picked up William Roberts, who'd shut out Shane Hardie and defeated Jack Whitfield 6-2 to reach him. Smith drew Wayne Miller, who'd gotten by Danny Farren 4-2, and Christy Norris (the previous week's winner), double hill. 
 
With Smith racing to 8, Miller advanced to the quarterfinals 4-4. Ringgold defeated Roberts 9-3 to join him. With Ringgold racing to 9, Miller took the quarterfinal match 4-3.
 
The 6-4 race in the semifinals led to a final game showdown against Miller that advancEd Ramos to a second shot against Pike in the hot seat. A second double hill game led to the completion of Pike's undefeated run, and another title feather to his cap.